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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Clear braces, the esthetic choice

Today’s orthodontic patients have more choices than ever before to straighten their teeth and to correct their bite.  Choices include, but are not limited to traditional braces, clear braces, clear aligners like Invisalign, and even lingual braces (braces on the tongue side). 

Clear braces are a popular choice for many people because they function like traditional  metal braces, but they offer an esthetic solution to those who may want to minimize the appearance of braces.  Here are the most common questions that I get from my patients about clear braces: 

Do clear braces work the same as metal braces?
Clear braces, also known as ceramic brackets, have come a long way in technology and engineering since they were first developed.  Not only do they look brighter and clearer, but they are also less bulky and easier to remove once you are done with your treatment.  Treatment with clear braces takes about the same amount of time as traditional metal braces.

What do they look like?

There are many types of clear braces used by orthodontists today, varying slightly in looks, shape, and size.  At Salins Orthodontics in Union City & South San Francisco, we use Radiance Plus ceramic brackets, made in the USA by American Orthodontics.  Each clear bracket is created from one single crystal of clear sapphire and is honed and heat polished into a strong and beautiful bracket that is nearly invisible on the teeth.  Sapphire is one of the hardest materials in nature, second only to diamond!

Will clear braces work for my case?
Most patients will be able to have clear braces on their front teeth (the teeth that people can see when you talk and smile).  I usually evaluate the bite and treatment objectives of each patient to determine whether they can have clear braces on all of their teeth.  Because clear braces are made of the strong clear sapphire material, if your bite is deep (your top teeth cover too much of your bottom teeth) placing clear braces on the bottom teeth can actually damage your upper teeth. The best way to find out whether clear braces are an option for you is to speak to your orthodontic specialist.

Do they cost more than metal braces?

Clear braces do cost a little more and this additional cost is not usually covered by your orthodontic insurance.  However, the difference in price compared to metal braces could be as little as $20 per month. 

Can I still customize my color ties?

Yes, even though most patients with clear braces prefer clear or white ties (tiny elastic ties that hold the wire to your braces), you can select from a wide variety of color combinations to customize your unique smile.