Ways to Straighten Teeth With a 'Clear' Advantage

Have you always wanted to improve your smile, or does someone else in your family need braces? There are many state-of-the-art ways to straighten teeth today. The best part is that wearing braces can be both comfortable and hardly noticeable. Here are a few orthodontic options that have a clear advantage.

Clear Aligner Trays

Traditionally, orthodontists use highly visible and often uncomfortable metal wires and brackets to straighten teeth. However, tooth alignment can be done with a series of smooth, clear aligner trays that are custom made to fit securely over your teeth. Aligner trays are effective for correcting misaligned and crooked teeth, as well as bite-related issues. Patients see consistent improvement without any of the discomfort, and these trays are virtually invisible. Because the trays are removable, there are no specific food restrictions, and you can brush and floss your teeth as usual.

The Crown Council, an association of independent dental practices, suggests the length of treatment with traditional braces is about 18 months or more. With aligner trays, treatment is sometimes less than a year depending on the treatment case. However, for the best possible results in the shortest amount of time, wear the trays as directed by your orthodontist. Invisalign®, Clear Correct and Clearguide Express are all developers of clear tray systems that many orthodontists use today.

Damon Clear

The Damon Clear system of braces is used to straighten teeth and correct all of the same orthodontic issues as traditional metal braces, except that Damon uses clear tieless braces with arch-wires. These braces move your teeth quickly and comfortably and because the brackets are tieless, they slide with the arch-wires and therefore don't need tightening. There are also no elastics or active clips, which can cause irritation that slows down treatment. Beyond comfort and aesthetics, Damon Clear works to align your teeth 24 hours a day and are resistant to staining and discoloration. Fewer offices visits are needed than with traditional braces or clear aligner trays, which is a benefit to families that have busy work and school schedules.

Inspire Ice

For traditional treatment without the traditional metal look, a recent aesthetic innovation to orthodontia called Inspire Ice™ may be another good choice to straighten crooked teeth and bring your bite into alignment. Many braces use white or tooth-colored brackets, but Inspire Ice uses a patented sapphire material to make its braces crystal clear. There is no need to worry about matching your tooth shade, and Inspire Ice braces won't stain or discolor during treatment. Other than supportive arch-wires, your braces remain completely invisible.

Lingual Braces

Another new orthodontic system is Incognito™. These braces aren't clear, but they are effectively hidden from view. Because they are placed on the backside of your teeth (called the lingual surface), no one can tell you are wearing braces. All of the brackets and wires are custom made to fit your teeth, and are effective in treating many typical orthodontic problems. However, because of the special technology used for this type of system, the cost for Incognito™ braces may be a bit more than with traditional braces.

Keep an Advantage with Good Home Care

Whether you choose clear braces or traditional metal, a good home care routine is important so that when your treatment is over, your beautifully aligned teeth are healthy and cavity-free. Be sure to floss daily, and brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste like Colgate® Total Advanced Deep Clean, which uses silica much like a dentist's to prevent the plaque that braces can harbor. And although you may be spending a lot of time at the orthodontist's office, don't forget your regular dental checkups and cleanings.

With so many ways to straighten teeth today, all ages and lifestyles can be accommodated – no exceptions. Talk to your dentist and decide which "clear" option can give you the straight teeth and attractive smile you've always wanted.

This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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Top Oral Care Tips Related to ADULT ORTHODONTICS

  • Flossing – creating a flossing routine is important during orthodontic treatment. Orthodontists and hygienists may recommend interdental brushes or floss threaders to make getting in between teeth easier.

  • Brushing routine – using fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush are ideal for cleaning teeth with braces. Begin brushing at a 45-degree angle at the gum line using small circular motions. Then place the toothbrush on top of the brackets, angling down to brush on top of each bracket. Finally, reposition the brush to brush the bottom of the bracket as well as the wire, angling the toothbrush up.

  • Fluoride mouthwash – after brushing and flossing, rinse with a fluoride mouthwash to help prevent cavities and white spots.

  • Mouthguards – wear a mouthguard if you play sports. Mouthguards can protect your cheeks and lips from serious cuts and can prevent damage to your braces or orthodontic appliance if you fall down or are hit in the face.