Creating a perfect smile often requires the use of braces in order to straighten teeth, create perfect spaces between each tooth, and create a jaw that more easily and comfortably lines up over the long-term. This is done using any number of innovative methods, but those methods are all bounded together by a single word: braces.
Advantages and Drawbacks of Clear Braces
It’s a word that strikes fear into the minds of children and adults alike, as they dread the metallic parts and obstructed smile that awaits them if they opt for installation of more permanent options. That fear is understandable, but it’s one that can actually be easily mitigated by choosing a clear, or ceramic, style of braces that minimizes the overall obstruction of the teeth and metallic appearance that many people dread.
Advantages of Clear Braces: Effective Work Without the Metal Smile
The style of alignment typically referred to as “clear” braces aren’t necessarily clear in the plastic sense. Instead, these braces replace rubber with ceramic when adhering to the teeth. A small metal wire uses the ceramic material as leverage, adjusting teeth over time and creating a perfect smile that will last well into the future. Because of the unique way that this system works, the teeth are perfectly visible throughout the adjustment period. The thin wire is virtually unnoticeable at a distance, and pictures will hardly reveal the braces’ presence.
Additionally, clear braces tend to be less expensive than clear, plastic alignment methods. They require a single installation that, like metal braces, is adjusted over time in order to perfect the smile and properly adjust each tooth into place. Their use of metal makes them more affordable than plastic options currently on the market, and they’ll often work a bit more quickly when producing the desired results. It all adds up to a minimally affected appearance and a shorter period of installation, all with the same result that any type of braces typically produces.
The Disadvantages: Reasons to Reconsider Clear Braces
For all of the benefits of a typical clear braces installation, there are certainly a few drawbacks that patients would be wise to consider before opting for this particular product. Perhaps the most notable is that patients will be subject to food restrictions for the duration of their braces’ installation. These restrictions are the same as they would be with a metal braces installation and for large the same reason. Simply put: It’s no fun to get food stuck in the installed metal parts, and it’s certainly no fun for stuck food to produce a cavity.
In addition to restrictions on certain foods, patients will notice a bit more pain resulting from the installation of clear braces than they would if they opted for plastic alternatives. That’s because, like regular metal braces, the metal must be installed into the mouth semi-permanently. Of note, however, is that the long-term pain and gum irritation is less noticeable with clear braces than metal options.
Ceramic braces can be great at blending in with an existing smile, but the nature of the ceramic bonding agent can cause teeth to stain more noticeably than metal options in some cases.
Cost Comparison: A Middle Ground Between Metal and Plastic
Metal braces are easily the most cost-effective option on the market because they use metal and rubber, two materials that are relatively inexpensive. Ceramic is a bit more costly, and that means a somewhat higher price tag for the convenience of a mostly invisible installation. Even so, the cost of ceramic braces is still less than invisible braces like Invisalign®, plastic options on the market and offers a great way to enhance a smile for the long-term. As with any type of corrective dental work, patients should make sure to speak with their dentist when they consider the available methods of smile correction and jaw alignment available to them. With healthy discussion, it will be easy to pick the best installation for cost, results, and invisibility.