What Are Clear Braces?
Clear braces or clear aligners are sometimes called invisible braces. They use a system of removable aligners that fit comfortably over the teeth. The removable aligners look a little like teeth whitening trays, and each set is worn for approximately 2 weeks before being changed for a fresh set to continue to move the teeth into their new positions. This system of teeth straightening has become increasingly popular, especially amongst adults who are looking to straighten their teeth discreetly.
The use of clear braces tends to be best suited to treating teeth that need simple realignments. This system is not ideal for complex treatments or treatments that require the tooth roots to be extensively moved. If this is the case then the patient may need to wear a fixed appliance to help move the roots of the teeth before wearing clear braces. This system is ideal for treating mild irregularities in tooth alignment, crowding issues, and problems with incorrectly spaced teeth. It’s not ideal for treating orthodontic problems that require tooth extractions.
The main benefit of choosing clear aligners is that they can be removed for easy cleaning, and are taken out whenever you eat something. This helps to ensure good oral health is easily maintainable during treatment without the need to spend a lot of time cleaning in between brackets and wires. In addition there’s no need to modify your diet to avoid hard or sticky foods, something that may have to be done in order to avoid damaging a fixed brace. It’s extremely discreet so many people will not notice you are wearing clear braces, something that is perfect for anyone who needs to spend a lot of time talking to clients or who has a customer facing job. Clear braces are also very good for anyone who is simply embarrassed about having orthodontic treatment and who would prefer that no one should know.
To the disadvantage of choosing this orthodontic system is that it can only treat relatively straightforward orthodontic issues. It may not be suitable for everyone, and probably won’t provide such perfectly straight teeth as can be attained through wearing a fixed brace. The clear aligners must be worn for a specified amount of time each day, and failing to do so will extend treatment time, making this treatment less suitable for people who may be likely to forget to wear the aligners.
The step-by-step process for having clear braces all clear aligners is as follows:
Once treatment is finished, you will need to wear a retainer to make sure your teeth don’t return to their original positions.
Does Treatment Hurt?
All orthodontic treatment will include an element of discomfort as the teeth begin to move, and clear aligners are no exception. It’s quite common to feel some discomfort or tenderness during treatment, especially when wearing a fresh set of aligners. This is something that can easily be controlled with over-the-counter painkillers, but if discomfort continues it should be discussed with the orthodontist.
Treatment generally takes an average of a year but this does depend on the orthodontic problems being corrected. The exact length of treatment is something your orthodontist will discuss with you, and treatment length will be pre-planned but does depend on the aligners being worn for at least 20 hours a day.
You will be able to eat and drink normally during treatment as the aligners must be taken out every time you eat something. This means there’s no need to modify your diet and to avoid foods that are particularly sticky or hard. You can brush and floss your teeth as normal, but you must clean your teeth after every meal and before you reinsert the aligners. The clear aligners need to be brushed and rinsed to keep them free from plaque.