One of the reasons why some people hesitate to get orthodontic treatment is because of the stereotypical appearance of braces with highly noticeable metal brackets and wires. Thankfully, with clear braces and clear aligners this is no longer the case. Patients can have braces with either clear or natural tooth-colored materials, or use clear aligners. So with these, their smiles will be more attractive due to the less noticeable alternatives to traditional braces.
Clear Braces and Clear Aligners, What’s the Difference?
With clear braces, they are the same as traditional metal braces except the materials they use make them clear. So they are less noticeable to their traditional metal counterparts while providing patients with equally effective treatment.
On the other hand, clear aligners are different from braces, composed of pieces of hard plastic designed to fit into the mouth like a mouthguard. Clear aligners are great for patients requiring minor orthodontic treatment.
Brace Yourself for Some Statistics
According to the New York Times, more and more adults are getting braces or other teeth-straightening treatments. The percentage has gone up 58% from 1994 to 2010. This means the number of patients has risen from 680,000 patients annually to 1.1 million.
Data from the American Association of Orthodontists shows that 27% of US and Canadian orthodontic patients are adults. This means there are 1.4 million orthodontic patients who are 18 years old and above.
One of the reasons for this increase is because of inconspicuous treatments like clear braces and clear aligners. And, of course, the benefits of having a beautiful smile such as having a healthy mouth, teeth and gums, and the confidence boost due to improved smiles.
Clear Braces Advantages and Disadvantages
Clear braces and ceramic braces are great alternatives to traditional metal braces. Like any treatment, orthodontists and patients must choose the right option to suit patient needs and lifestyles. Dr. Parrish will help patients determine whether clear braces are right for them.
- Appearance, as they are less noticeable. Clear and ceramic braces offer an aesthetic alternative for patients.
- Cost, as clear and ceramic braces may have a higher price compared to traditional equivalents. Parrish Orthodontics offers convenient payment plans to help keep expenses manageable.
- Discoloration when the elastic ties in the clear and ceramic braces get slightly discolored over time due to drinking tea, coffee, wine, or eating certain foods, or due to smoking.
Decide on whether clear or ceramic braces are the right choice for your smile by scheduling a consultation with your orthodontist. At Parrish Orthodontics, we can provide the answers to your questions and extra information regarding the benefit of each treatment.
Clear Aligners as an Alternative to Braces
Patients seeking an alternative to traditional braces due to their appearance can consider clear aligners. These involve a system of clear, removable trays used to straighten teeth. Each aligner is custom-made to fit over each patient’s teeth and gradually move teeth into their proper position.
How do Clear Aligners Work?
Clear aligners are made with strong plastic material fabricated to fit each patient’s mouth and as treatment progresses, the aligners are switched. Each is a little different, moving the teeth a little more with every change. Aligners are worn at least 20 hours each day and patients receive new aligners every 2 weeks.
Clear Aligner Advantages
They are great alternatives for those who want straighter smiles but don’t want to wear metal braces, as well as those who had treatment in the past and want minor corrections to their smile. Advantages include:
- Easier to clean, making teeth and gum health easier to maintain
- More comfortable and less likely to irritate gum and cheeks
- Prevent teeth wear from tooth grinding
- Removable, making brushing and flossing easier.
Treatment length depends on the severity of a patient’s case and can take from 6 months to 2 years. Those interested in clear aligners can schedule a consultation with a dentist to determine if it is a suitable treatment.