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Clear or invisible braces: What are they?

07 July · 5 minutes

As the field of orthodontics continues to evolve, more and more patients are seeking out treatment options that are less visible.

While the original focus of orthodontics was purely straightening teeth, now advances in technology have allowed for the creation of options that also focus on the patients aesthetics not only after treatment, but also during.

One of these options is clear braces - sometimes referred to as invisible or transparent braces.

Clear braces have become increasingly popular in patients looking to align their smile discreetly.

What are clear braces and what do they look like?

Most people have heard of traditional metal braces, but you might be surprised how often orthodontists get asked what clear or invisible braces are. Clear braces are an innovative solution created with transparent or “invisible” materials that match the color of the teeth. Usually, they’re made of ceramic or sapphire not only because they match the teeth’s color but also because the color doesn’t change over time, that and these materials are especially durable. So in terms of what clear braces look like, they look like just your teeth!

Different types of clear or invisible braces

Since clear braces can be made of different colored materials, they can be split up into different types of invisible braces:

  • Sapphire brackets: sapphire braces use clear synthetic sapphire brackets that are similar to real sapphire. These innovative transparent braces match the color of the teeth and are super high-quality.
  • Ceramic or porcelain brackets: similar to sapphire brackets, ceramic brackets are resistant, durable, and discreet. They do have a slightly more opaque color than sapphire, however.
Close up of patients smile showing invisible braces
  • Zirconium brackets: brackets made from zirconium is another option. These brackets are white in color rather than the clear colored braces mentioned above.
  • Resin brackets: resin brackets are made from resin and a polycarbonate-based plastic.
  • Lingual brackets: lingual braces are slightly different from the previous options. Lingual braces are considered “invisible” not because of the clear color of the brackets, but because of the placement. Lingual braces are glued to the back of the teeth, toward the inside of the mouth, so they can’t be seen from the outside.

What does treatment with clear braces entail?

Like with any orthodontic treatment, the initial consultation will consist of a series of diagnostic tests (from panoramic X-rays to intra-oral and extra-oral photos) in order to get a complete understanding of the patient’s mouth.

When the time comes to get your braces on, the orthodontist will do it in one of two ways. The first involves placing the clear brackets directly onto your teeth until the braces are complete. This is usually a slower, less effective and more uncomfortable procedure for the patient. So it’s not typically performed anymore.

The second method practiced more today because it’s quicker and more effective. It’s done by placing the invisible braces on molds made from the patient’s teeth. Once the positioning is right, the whole set of clear braces is placed on the teeth and attached with dental cement, hardened and a high-intensity light.

After the patient has had their braces for the designated amount of time, the orthodontist will confirm that the teeth are in their correct places and give a green light for the invisible braces to be removed from the teeth. Getting your clear braces taken off your teeth is actually a simple and painless process.

After the braces are off, the patient will have to complete their orthodontic journey with the final stage: the retention phase. They’ll be required to wear retainers to prevent the teeth from returning to their original position.

How much clear or invisible braces cost without insurance

How much clear or invisible braces cost without insurance can vary depending on the type, the material, the complexity of the case, and the duration, among other factors. After your initial consultation, your orthodontist should tell you how much you should expect to pay. Usually, invisible braces cost on average approximately between $4,000 and $13,000.

What does treatment with clear braces entail?

Like with any orthodontic treatment, the initial consultation will consist of a series of diagnostic tests (from panoramic X-rays to intra-oral and extra-oral photos) in order to get a complete understanding of the patient’s mouth.

When the time comes to get your braces on, the orthodontist will do it in one of two ways. The first involves placing the clear brackets directly onto your teeth until the braces are complete. This is usually a slower, less effective and more uncomfortable procedure for the patient. So it’s not typically performed anymore.

A group of friends smiling with straight teeth

The second method practiced more today because it’s quicker and more effective. It’s done by placing the invisible braces on molds made from the patient’s teeth. Once the positioning is right, the whole set of clear braces is placed on the teeth and attached with dental cement, hardened and a high-intensity light.

After the patient has had their braces for the designated amount of time, the orthodontist will confirm that the teeth are in their correct places and give a green light for the invisible braces to be removed from the teeth. Getting your clear braces taken off your teeth is actually a simple and painless process.

After the braces are off, the patient will have to complete their orthodontic journey with the final stage: the retention phase. They’ll be required to wear retainers to prevent the teeth from returning to their original position.

How much clear or invisible braces cost without insurance

How much clear or invisible braces cost without insurance can vary depending on the type, the material, the complexity of the case, and the duration, among other factors. After your initial consultation, your orthodontist should tell you how much you should expect to pay. Usually, invisible braces cost on average approximately between $4,000 and $13,000.

Clear braces pros and cons

Like other types of orthodontics, clear or invisible braces have some pros and cons. Below we’ll go over the main advantages and disadvantages of clear braces.

Benefits of clear braces

Now that we’ve answered the questions “what are invisible braces?” and “how much do they cost?” we can take a look at their advantages.

The main benefit of clear or invisible braces is, of course, that they go almost completely unnoticed to others. They straighten your teeth just as well as traditional metal braces, but they do it in a more discrete manner.

With the benefit of “invisibility” these braces are a great choice for both kids and adults. They’re durable material, effective, and, in most cases, transparent in color, making them a great option for anyone looking to straighten their teeth.

Clear braces disadvantages

On the flip side, we have the disadvantages of clear braces. The first being the cost. Because clear braces are made from materials that appear transparent on your teeth, and because that material is durable and more expensive, the price of the treatment becomes more costly as well. Something similar happens with lingual braces, which are also considered “invisible” braces. The technique used for their placement is more complex than that used for other types of braces, which also makes their price higher than traditional braces.

Another disadvantage of clear braces is that they’re not always compatible with patients who have a highly complex case. They can sometimes come with longer treatment times.

Invisible aligners: an alternative to clear braces

As the field of orthodontics keeps advancing, so do your options.

Impress invisible aligners are a fantastic alternative to clear and traditional braces.

Invisible aligners are advantageous in a number of ways, like their comfort, true invisibility, and ease of oral hygiene and care. The main cause of most of the benefits is the fact that they are removable. Patients can take out their aligners to eat and brush their teeth like normal.

They are also custom made to each mouth so they won’t rub or cause sores. Plus they are designed according to the specific needs of the patient and the structure of the jaw. So, for effective results,the patient will need to keep changing the aligners, so they can exert the necessary pressure on the teeth to move them to the correct position. The aligners are manufactured from strong acrylic or plastic resin materials.

Patient smiling while putting in her Impress invisible aligners

No more needing a mouth full of metal to get a straight smile. The future is here, with Impress invisible aligners.

If this sounds like something that interests you, get in touch with us by calling (888) 490 1421 or via WhatsApp, email support.us@smile2impress.com or book your initial consultation online.

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Frequently Asked Questions about clear braces

Can anyone wear clear braces?

Pretty much anyone can opt for clear or invisible braces. Anyone who is eligible for orthodontic treatment with braces can choose which material they prefer.

What are the requirements to get clear braces?

During your initial consultation, the orthodontist will gather your personal data in order to become familiar with your oral health needs. They’ll perform X-rays, to see your entire mouth in detail, so that they can detect problems that aren’t visible to the naked eye.

How do clear or invisible braces work?

Clear or invisible braces work just like other traditional orthodontic treatments. They gradually move the position of your teeth within your mouth in order to perfect your smile!

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