What are clear braces?

Clear braces is another way to describe invisible orthodontics, which uses clear plastic aligners to straighten your teeth instead of metal brackets and wires.

Who is a candidate for clear braces?

Clear Braces sitting on a black countertopClear braces used to be available for adults only, but with the introduction of treatments for younger patients, teens can get the treatment as well. Patients should have good oral health—little or no periodontal disease and no untreated tooth decay—before beginning your orthodontic treatment.

Patients should also have a treatable case, such as:

  • Crowded teeth
  • Gapped teeth
  • Open bite
  • Crossbite
  • Overbite
  • Underbite

The only way for someone to know for sure whether they are a candidate is by talking to a cosmetic dentist about their current smile and cosmetic goals.

What are clear braces like?

Clear braces are like teeth whitening trays or custom sports mouth guards that fit over your teeth. They are made of a durable, clear, BPA-free plastic.

How do clear braces work?

Clear braces work using the same principles as traditional braces. Your body has the ability to reshape bones in response to pressure, so by applying precise, continuous pressure to your teeth, they stimulate your body to reshape the jawbone around your teeth, allowing them to move into alignment.

Invisible braces do this by using removable plastic aligners that fit over your teeth, gently pushing them into position, unlike traditional metal braces that use wires and brackets fastened to your teeth to pull teeth into position.

What is the procedure like?

First, you will talk to Dr. Rice about your cosmetic goals and current oral health. If you are a good candidate, digital images of your teeth will be taken, along with x-rays and impressions. These will be sent to the lab, where a computer will use them to design an optimal sequence for moving your teeth into a straight alignment.

Once your aligners arrive, you will come to our office for a fitting. We will check the fit and make sure your aligners seem right. Then you just wear an aligner for two weeks before switching to the next one. To ensure the treatment works optimally, you should wear your aligners for at least 20 hours a day. You may be given multiple aligners at once, or you may be asked to come into the office for check-ups depending on the complexity of your case and the state of your oral health.

When you get to the final aligner, you’re finished and you can enjoy your new, straight smile.

Why can’t I just rush through the aligners and get my treatment done sooner?

Clear braces, like traditional braces, are limited by the speed at which your body can reshape bone around your teeth. Not allowing your body time to secure your teeth can lead to poor results, pain, and may put your teeth at risk from trauma.

Will I have to wear a retainer after treatment?

Yes. A retainer is designed to hold your teeth in place while your body finishes solidifying the bone around them to make sure they stay straight. For most people, nightly retainer wear is required after treatment, but retainer wear can be tapered off over time.

How can I get answers to more questions about clear braces?

Please call (949) 551-5902 or email us at our  office with your questions. Depending on the complexity of the question, we may respond with an answer or recommend a consultation to ensure you get a complete answer.