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A guide to clear orthodontics: what it is, types, treatments, and prices

26 May · 4 minutes

The beginnings of orthodontics date all the way back to ancient Greece, yet it took us hundreds of years of technological and scientific development to benefit from more discreet and aesthetically orthodontic treatments. Today, children, teens and adults can perform dental work to align their smiles.

Below, we’ll have a look at the different invisible orthodontic treatment options that exist outside traditional braces, but first, we have to understand what exactly invisible or clear orthodontics means.

What is clear orthodontics?

Invisible orthodontics, as its name suggests, includes all orthodontic treatments that are discreet. The idea behind this type of transparent solution is to offer a more aesthetically pleasing alternative to traditional metal braces so that the patient feels more comfortable and sure of themself.

It's because of this that clear orthodontics has become the preferred solution for adults, especially those who work in public-facing jobs and who don’t want to have to explain why they want to align their smile.

How does clear orthodontics work?

Invisible orthodontics is essentially just discreetly improving the health and aesthetics of the smile. It’s a type of orthodontics that goes unnoticed by others, since it is usually the color of tooth enamel or transparent, as is the case with invisible aligners orthodontics.

Like traditional metal brackets, clear orthodontic devices exert pressure on the teeth, causing them to progressively move to their correct position. Invisible orthodontic devices exert this pressure in a number of ways depending on the type of device. As we will see later, invisible orthodontics can consist of transparent brackets or dental splints.

Types of clear orthodontics

There is a wide variety of clear orthodontic solutions. The recommended device for each patient is different depending on their specific dental problems. To find out which type of invisible orthodontic treatment best suits your needs, it’s important to consult an orthodontist. All the clear orthodontic devices that exist can be divided into two categories: fixed and removable.

  • Fixed invisible orthodontics: among fixed devices, the most common types are ceramic braces, sapphire braces (both include aesthetic brackets located on the front of the teeth) and lingual braces (which are placed on the back of the teeth).
  • Removable clear orthodontics: clear aligners are presented as a more practical alternative to fixed orthodontic devices, offering innumerable advantages, in addition to being removable.
Close-up of patient’s mouth with clear braces at a clinic visit

Ceramic braces

Ceramic braces work the same as metal ones, the only difference being that they are produced from a material that is close to the colour of the tooth’s enamel, providing an alternative that is almost invisible to the outside. Ceramic braces, like metal braces, require frequent follow-ups and monthly visits to the clinic to adjust the arch.

Sapphire braces

Sapphire braces are very similar to ceramic braces, but the main difference is the material they are made from. The sapphire crystal is transparent, so it adapts perfectly to the natural color of the tooth. As for the reliability, sapphire brackets are highly resistant and offer great adherence to the tooth. They also require regular face-to-face follow-ups with the orthodontist to adjust them.

Lingual braces

Lingual braces are the only type of invisible braces made of metal. They can be categorised as "clear orthodontics" since these are placed on the back of the teeth, and are imperceptible when the patient smiles. Again, this type of device requires frequent in-person follow-ups in the clinic for adjustments.

Clear aligners

The real revolution in invisible orthodontics began a little over 20 years ago with clear aligners. They are two transparent and removable splints that adapt perfectly to the patient's teeth. These aligners exert pressure to progressively move the teeth until correct alignment is achieved.

Thanks to clear aligner orthodontics, the patient can have better dental hygiene, brushing their teeth without the device preventing access to any area. Invisible aligners are very tough and are unlikely to break like some other orthodontics.

Patient cleaning their clear aligners

How to clean clear orthodontic devices

Before explaining how clear orthodontics should be cleaned, we must take into account what type of invisible orthodontics we’re talking about. On the one hand, with braces you have to be very careful, since the brackets are non removable. This entails greater difficulty when using floss, since the metal arch doesn’t allow easy access between the teeth. In addition, since braces are attached to the dental surface, it means that you have to brush more thoroughly to get a good clean.

On the other hand, with clear aligners, brushing is done without any problem. That’s because when you want to brush your teeth you just have to remove the aligners and proceed to brush as normal. To clean the devices themselves, all you need is a soft toothbrush and neutral soap to eliminate the dirt or plaque that may have adhered to them during use.

Invisible orthodontic treatment duration

On average, an invisible orthodontic treatment can last anywhere between 6 and 36 months, although there are cases that can be resolved in less time and others that may need a few more months. In order to know exactly how long your invisible orthodontic treatment will last, a specialist must assess your case. The duration of clear orthodontics may vary slightly depending on the type of orthodontic treatment chosen and the difficulty of the case.

Invisible orthodontics price

The cost of invisible orthodontics varies mainly depending on the type of treatment performed, the complexity of the case and the specialist performing the procedure. In fact, orthodontists are free to apply the rates of their choice, and prices may therefore vary depending on the geographical area and the prestige of the clinic. Other factors also come into play when calculating the cost of invisible orthodontics, such as the brands and techniques used.

However, the approximate average prices of invisible orthodontics in the UK are as follows:

  • Ceramic braces: £2000 to £3000
  • Sapphire braces: £3500 to £4500
  • Lingual braces: £4000 to £8000
  • Clear aligners: from £1995 for the complete treatment
Hand holding the Impress kit with a scenic view

Impress, the new clear orthodontics

At Impress we are committed to a new concept of invisible orthodontics: a 100% digitised treatment, backed by the latest technology and carried out by the best orthodontists in the field.

At Impress we specialise in invisible orthodontics, which we perform with clear aligners. To carry out the treatment, we invite the patient to undergo a first face-to-face consultation, where our orthodontists will do an oral study to determine whether or not the patient is able to start the treatment.

Depending on the diagnosis, our patients will be assigned one of several types of treatments, depending on the level of complexity of the case and its duration. Our invisible orthodontics prices are fixed and include everything you’ll need during the treatment.

If you want to know more about our treatments or find out what type of invisible orthodontics is most suitable for you, get a hold of us by phone/WhatsApp at +44 20 3808 1072 or at uk@smile2impress.com. If you prefer, you can also make an appointment at your nearest Impress clinic from our website. Get in touch with us with zero obligation to evaluate your case and find out which treatment plan suits your needs. Come visit us and learn more!

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Frequently asked questions about invisible orthodontics

Who can undergo clear orthodontic treatment?

Anyone can have clear orthodontic treatment. Children, teens and adults can choose any of the four options listed above.

Do clear braces last longer or shorter than traditional braces?

The chosen clear orthodontic system can influence the duration of the treatment, but the complexity of the case to be treated is what really determines the duration, not the color or location of the brackets.

Is there a minimum age to start a clear orthodontics treatment?

There is no minimum age for wearing clear aligners. Specialists recommend taking children for a consultation to the orthodontist around the age of 6, to check that the teeth are growing normally. Depending on the case of each child, but as soon as they’re ready for corrective orthodontics, they can choose invisible orthodontics.

When can you see the results of clear orthodontics?

Everything will depend on the diagnosis and the type of device, although in many cases the results of clear orthodontics become visible after the third month of treatment.

What is the best clear orthodontic device?

There is no clear orthodontics device that is better than another, just simply what’s best for you. The specialist will recommend the best treatment based on your needs and taste.

What is the latest in clear orthodontics?

The latest in clear orthodontics are invisible aligners. This type of orthodontics is the most innovative and has many advantages over other types of invisible orthodontics.

Does clear orthodontics work?

Yes, clear orthodontics works and is just as effective as traditional orthodontics, with the advantage of being less noticeable.

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