Did you know that for approximately 40% of people, your smile what first catches their eye when they see you? Are you happy with the impression it makes?
For so many people, the uneven or misaligned teeth in their smiles are the source of self-consciousness. They want straighter teeth, but the thought of spending thousands of dollars and years of their life on metal braces deters them.
Today, you can get the best of both worlds with clear braces. While they are far newer than metal braces, clear aligners are already making a big splash for patients. Find out everything you need to know.
What Are Clear Braces?
Clear braces have the same purpose as traditional braces. They hold your teeth in specific positions to adjust their alignment over the course of many months. The way they work is very different, though.
Clear braces are clear plastic aligners you wear throughout the day and night. They look like dental night guards or whitening trays moulded to fit your teeth.
You will have a series of aligners in your course of treatment. Each set of aligners adjusts your teeth a step further toward your end goal.
Types of Clear Braces
All clear aligner braces work in a similar way. However, there are two key categories: those that require orthodontic visits and those you can receive directly.
Some brands require your orthodontist to take your initial impressions. They also require you to return every few months for your orthodontist to check your progress. As you can imagine, it isn’t always easy to fit those visits into your schedule.
For other clear braces, though, you use a kit to take your own impressions and send them in. The custom aligners come straight to your door. There is no need to schedule or budget for office visits.
Cost of Clear Braces
When people think of braces, one of their first thoughts is about the cost. They’re correct that traditional metal braces can cost as much as a modest but reliable used car.
Clear braces, on the other hand, vary significantly in cost. The aligners that require orthodontic visits have a high price point. In fact, they often cost more than metal braces because they use more materials and still require orthodontic services.
Direct delivery clear braces, on the other hand, are far more economical than your other tooth straightening options. They cut out the middle man (your orthodontist) and save you thousands by delivering the aligners to your door instead.
How Do Direct Delivery Clear Braces Work?
As with any medical procedure, you want to know what you’re in for when it comes to clear braces. If you go the direct delivery route, the process is straightforward.
1. Dental Impressions
Dental impressions are critical for your braces because they indicate where your teeth are starting. The lab will use them to create your customized aligners.
To start, you’ll request an impression kit from the manufacturer. This kit lets you take your own impressions at home and send them to the lab.
2. Treatment Plan Design
When the lab receives your impressions, they’ll be able to see how to transition your teeth to the alignment you want. They identify where each tooth should go and how to move it.
The lab’s skilled orthodontists will use design a customized treatment plan for you based on those impressions. They’ll plan your treatment in stages to indicate how to shape each aligner.
3. Custom Aligners
Based on the orthodontists’ plans, the lab creates your customized aligners. They’ll start with moulds of your impressions and adjust the shape of each aligner to follow the orthodontists’ designs. When the aligners are ready, the lab will ship them to you so you can get started.
4. At-Home Teeth Straightening
With your new aligners in hand, you can start the process toward straighter teeth. Simply follow the instructions you receive about how to wear, change, and care for your aligners. Within weeks you’ll start seeing your teeth moving toward the beautiful smile you want.
Advantages of Clear Braces
Are clear braces the right choice for you to get a straighter smile? Ask yourself if these benefits are appealing.
1. More Discreet Look
On the surface of white teeth, metal braces stick out like a sore thumb. For some people, this is a deal-breaker.
With clear braces, people will be able to see you and see the joy in your smile rather than seeing your braces alone. They’re also more suitable for people who don’t want it to be obvious that they’re straightening their teeth. Adults often opt for that advantage because braces are less common in adulthood than they are in the teenaged years.
2. Lower Cost
Braces can put a serious strain on any family’s budget. Metal braces cost thousands, and not all orthodontic offices have patient-friendly payment plans. You could be left paying high-interest rates on a credit card or loan to foot the bill.
When you choose clear braces that don’t require orthodontic visits, the cost is far lower. You could pay as low as $95 per month interest-free.
3. No Eating and Drinking Restrictions
When people have metal braces, the braces stay on while they eat and drink. As a result, they need to avoid certain foods that could damage the braces. This includes popular favourites like popcorn, gum, nuts, and just about anything chewy or crunchy.
With invisible braces, on the other hand, you remove the aligners at any time you eat or drink. This allows you to enjoy any foods you want without restrictions.
4. Built-In Protection for Teeth Grinding
In the US, there are around 26 million people who grind their teeth in their sleep: a condition called bruxism. If you’re one of them, you’ll find clear braces especially easy and helpful.
Dentists typically offer night guards for these patients. The night guards look similar to clear braces, but the only function is to put a protective layer between your teeth. This limits the amount of damage your teeth sustain from the grinding while you sleep.
Clear braces, interestingly, can serve that purpose as well. Considering that many people with bruxism don’t realize it, your braces may protect your teeth while you sleep.
5. Fewer Struggles with Oral Health
Metal braces don’t only present a cosmetic problem. They also make it difficult to brush your teeth and especially challenging to floss with braces. This could lead to tooth decay by the time your teeth are straightened.
Clear braces don’t have that problem. You simply remove them every time you need to brush or floss. You care for your teeth like you normally would and then put in the aligners again.
6. No Orthodontic Visits
With metal braces, you’ll find yourself seeing your orthodontist more often than you may like to. After your initial consultation and getting the braces on, you’ll return every several weeks for the orthodontist to adjust them. You’ll likely need check-ups after the braces are off to ensure that your teeth stay in place too.
When you choose direct delivery invisible braces, on the other hand, you can bid the orthodontist adieu. You’ll be able to handle the whole process at home on your own.
That means less time out of your busy life, fewer scheduling headaches, and less money for office visits.
7. More Day-to-Day Comfort
Metal braces tend to come with plenty of discomforts. The initial application is uncomfortable, and there is often pain following each adjustment.
In addition, the metal can cut the inside of your mouth from time to time, even while taking precautions. This could lead to painful canker sores that take a week or more to heal.
Patients with clear braces typically report far more comfort. You’ll feel some pressure with each new aligner as your teeth adjust. However, the discomfort is minimal and you eliminate the sharp edges of metal braces.
8. Quicker Results
No matter how comfortable or easy your braces are, every person wants the quickest results they can get. You’re eager to finally have a smile that makes you feel confident.
While nothing happens overnight, clear braces tend to produce faster results than metal braces. The average for metal braces is 18-36 months. Clear braces average 9-18 months instead.
9. No Trade-Off for Your Self-Esteem
If you’re looking for braces, it’s probably because your smile has affected your self-esteem. No one wants to feel self-conscious at the joyous moments in their lives.
For so many patients, though, metal braces require them to dislike their appearance even more for several months or years before they get results. You’re trading a few years of increased self-consciousness for decades of confidence. That price is too high for some.
If you choose invisible braces, you won’t have that trade-off. The aligners aren’t visible at all from a distance and they’re difficult to see when you’re face-to-face. You get the decades of confidence without the years of sacrifice.
10. Bonus Advantage: Less Temptation for Bad Habits
While this may be an unintended advantage, clear braces tend to help people break bad habits while straightening their teeth.
For instance, biting your nails can damage your aligners. The idea of limiting their results is enough to make many people stop.
Smoking and excessive snacking fall into that category as well. If you have to brush your teeth and clean your aligners after every cigarette or snack, you tend to think twice and decide it isn’t worth the effort.
Am I a Candidate for Clear Braces?
If you’re like most, you’re ready to sign up right away now that you know what you stand to gain from clear braces. Are you a candidate? Chances are that the answer is “yes.”
1. All Ages
Clear braces are more common in adults because adults tend to be more self-conscious about wearing metal braces. However, invisible braces are highly successful for kids and teens as well as adults.
2. Desired Goals
Every person’s needs are unique when it comes to straightening their teeth. Some alignments are more extensive than others.
In rare cases, your alignment may be more extensive than invisible braces can handle. However, for the vast majority of cases like closing a gap or correcting crowded teeth, clear braces will be just as successful as metal braces.
When you complete the impression kit, an orthodontist at the lab will evaluate your needs. In the unlikely case that you would not be a candidate for the aligners, they will inform you.
3. Oral Health
One of the key advantages to direct delivery clear braces is that you don’t need an orthodontist. That doesn’t mean you don’t need a dentist.
Dental repairs like cavity fillings, crowns, and extractions could change the way your aligners fit. As a result, it’s important to complete any necessary dental work before you take your initial impressions for your aligners.
Be sure to keep up with your oral health while using your clear braces too. It’s best if you don’t need new dental repairs during your treatment.
4. Schedule Availability
If you are like most of us, you have a demanding daily schedule. This makes many people think they aren’t candidates for teeth straightening because they can’t fit orthodontic visits into their schedules.
With direct delivery clear braces, you’re a candidate no matter how busy you are.
Because the price is always a concern, it’s important to understand your options with braces. Some people assume they can’t get braces because it is a cosmetic treatment that they can’t afford.
That isn’t necessarily the case, though. Many providers for clear braces accept funds from your health savings account (HSA) or flexible spending account (FSA).
In addition, direct delivery braces are easier to afford than you might think. You can get them for as low as $95 per month, interest-free.
Turning Around Your Smile with Clear Braces
Your smile is such a critical part of your appearance, and you don’t want self-consciousness to hold it back. When you learn all there is to know about direct delivery clear braces, you realize that there’s no reason to let the problem continue.
To get on the fast track to a cleaner, smoother smile, get started today with a free clear braces assessment to see if you’re a candidate.