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Are Clear Braces As Effective As Traditional Braces?

Anyone who wore braces in their teens (or later in life) can relate to feeling somewhat insecure about having a mouth full of metal. It's a character-building experience for many, but also one in patience at the end of the day, we all just want perfectly straight teeth. Over the years new clear braces have been developed, minimizing their appearance while still doing the important job they are assigned for: straightening teeth. To find out about new clear braces and how effective they are compared to traditional braces, we spoke to La Jolla dentist , Dr. Nick Morongiu from the Scripps Center For Dental Care, who offered some expert insight into the matter.

If your teeth are crooked and crowded, having them straightened does not mean your mouth will be full of metal anymore. The days of traditional orthodontics with metal bands, metal brackets, and wires are behind us in most cases, Doctor Nick says, but do they work? In regard to conventional orthodontics, advances in bonding have led to use of clear brackets so the only thing visible is a small wire. Advances in CAD/CAM (computer aided design and manufacturing) have led to completely clear aligners used stepwise to straighten teeth, like Invisalign and ClearCorrect.

With Invisalign and ClearCorrect, molds are made from your mouth and CAD software projects stepwise movements of your teeth and aligners are manufactured in a series which are changed every few weeks by you or your dentist. If teeth are crowded, the dentist may have to make space between some of the teeth to allow the teeth to correct their position. This is called interproximal reduction and is accomplished with a sanding strip or a sanding wheel it is pain free, so no anesthetic will be needed.

How Do Clear Braces Compare With Traditional Ones?

There are a few areas where you'll need to weigh up the cost and logistics of clear braces versus traditional ones, as Dr. Nick explains. In general, conventional orthodontics is more effective, more predictable, and less expensive than clear aligners. Conventional orthodontics gives the orthodontist complete control of tooth movement and allows more options to move teeth and correct rotations, inclinations, and occlusion problems. The drawback to clear aligners is that teeth don't always move in the manner or speed projected by the software. In the end, this will translate to prolonged treatment and possibly more cost. Clear aligners are however more aesthetic and will make your teeth look and function much nicer by the end of treatment without ever having brackets or wires. Both are great options and will produce results, but both have their ups and downs. A consultation with an orthodontist is the best place to start when considering moving teeth.


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