A Guide on Clear Braces

If you want to realign your teeth or correct a bite problem and you are considering treatment options that are not noticeable like metal braces but are also effective, check out either the fixed clear braces or the removable aligners.

These two teeth straightening options are suitable and effective for both adults and teens, and their discreetness makes them preferred treatment options. To help you decide correctly if clear braces are for you, we have compiled the following information.

  • The differences between clear braces and metal braces
  • Alternatives like Invisalign aligners
  • The different brands of clear braces in the UK
  • The cost of clear braces in the UK
  • The advantages and disadvantages of clear and invisible braces

Table of contents

  1. Comparison between clear braces and invisible braces
  2. What are the available brands of clear braces?
  3. What is the cost of clear braces?
  4. Caring for clear braces
  5. Aftercare
  6. Pros and cons of clear and invisible braces
  7. FAQs

Comparison between clear braces and invisible braces

The traditional metal braces are similar to clear braces, but clear braces use either clear or tooth-coloured brackets and wires. Invisible braces are called clear aligners because the aligners are fabricated from transparent plastic materials, which makes them less noticeable.

Clear and invisible braces are both effective teeth straightening options that offer discreetness, but they differ in their teeth straightening system, appearance, cost, and wearing experience.

There are various brands of clear braces in the UK, but some of the well-known brands include Damon Clear and Clearsmile. Readon to understand their differences and know more about clear aligners such as Invisalign.

Who can use clear and invisible braces

Using braces to straighten the teeth is more effective for teenagers because their jaw and teeth have not fully developed, so making changes is more comfortable. Adults can also use braces or carry out any other type of orthodontic treatment and achieve an excellent result.

The new technology and development have brought the invisible aligners, which makes it easier for people of all ages to straighten their teeth without others noticing anything. However, the severity of the orthodontic case may prevent you from using certain types of braces.

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Invisalign can correct 90% of orthodontic cases, but the severely misaligned teeth may need you to use the traditional metal wire and bracket teeth straightening system. Ceramic tooth-coloured or clear braces are other options for people who want to correct their orthodontic issues with brackets and wires but in a less conspicuous way. The natural teeth shade will determine whether you will need tooth-coloured braces or those made of a clear material.

Those who have naturally bright and light teeth may use transparent ceramic braces, but people who have a darker shade of teeth may require tooth-coloured ceramic braces for their braces to be less noticeable.

How clear aligners straighten the teeth

Clear plastic aligners work differently from other types of braces. They are made from plastic and uses a series of clear aligners, also called trays which fit over the teeth to move them to their perfect positions.

The aligners are custom-made to suit each patient using their teeth impressions or dental scans. You need to change each set of aligners every two weeks until your teeth are in their right position and this may take about 9 – 18 months.

The aligners are removable, but you need to wear them for at least 20 – 22 hours daily with the remaining 2 – 4 hours for eating and cleaning the teeth as usual. Invisalign is a better alternative to clear braces for people whose concern is their appearance during their teeth straightening treatment and have an event which they do not want to ruin by wearing fixed braces.

The aligners also have their downsides as you have to clean your teeth after every meal or taking any drink besides water. This helps you avoid food and bacteria getting stuck between the aligners and your teeth, which increase the risk of gum disease and other dental issues.

Wearing clear aligners requires the patient to be disciplined enough to wear the aligners for the recommended number of hours daily. If you want to correct your misalignment or bite problems with Invisalign, take the Invisalign smile assessment online or visit your dentist to check if you are suitable for treatment. If you cannot get Invisalign clear aligner, try using fixed clear braces.

How clear fixed braces work?

Clear fixed braces are similar to traditional metal braces. They both involve attaching brackets to the teeth and connecting them with archwires. The brackets and wire system are suitable for correcting all types of orthodontic issues.

The orthodontist gradually directs the teeth to their correct alignment using the brackets which takes between 18 – 24 months, but some brands of clear braces offer faster treatment. During treatment with clear fixed braces, the orthodontist will need to adjust and tighten the wire at regular intervals. The adjustments may cause sore teeth for a few days after the dental visit.

Some self-ligating fixed clear braces are now available which takes away the need for an orthodontist to adjust the brackets and wires. This new technology uses an advanced system that allows the wires to adjust during treatment automatically, so the patient hasfewer sores and greater comfort. It also reduces the frequency of dental visits.

What makes up clear braces?

The brackets of clear braces are made from plastic polycarbonate or clear ceramic material. Metal wires connect the brackets, you may decide to use white wires instead to make the braces less noticeable, but this may come at a higher cost.

Managing clear braces treatment

During your treatment with clear ceramic braces, you need to pay special attention to your teeth to keep them clean. While brushing, you need to carefully clean areas that are difficult to reach. The braces may seem uncomfortable during the first few days, but your mouth will adjust to wearing the braces, and you will not feel any discomfort.

You may also develop mouth sores, as your cheeks and gums adjust to the braces. Using orthodontic wax to cover the edges and rough areas of the aligners will reduce the irritation.

Most orthodontists in the UK, more than 75% offer metal and clear braces. Some also offer clear aligners, and you should be able to find an orthodontist that offers your desired braces to straighten your teeth.

What are the available brands of clear braces?

The following are brands of clear braces available in the UK.

Damon Clear

Damon Clear is a self-ligating brace, which adjusts the wires automatically. Damon Clear offers the following benefits compared to the standard clear braces system.

  • The adjustment occurs gradually overtime, so it gives less discomfort
  • They have a sliding mechanism that applies only a little pressure on the teeth
  • Treatment requires only a few dental check-ups
  • Cleaning the braces are easier
  • There are no visible metal brackets

These benefits make them more expensive, but most patients do not mind the cost because of the comfort, convenience and discreetness they offer.

Clearsmile braces

A UK-based company makes Clearsmile. The company produces both fixed braces and aligner for straightening the teeth. Clearsmile is also a self-ligating clear fixed brace, so offers most benefits of Damon clear, but the archwires come in white colour.

Clearsmile is suitable for people who want to straighten only their front teeth because it focuses on the front ten teeth only, and the treatment usually lasts for 4 – 12 months.

Invisalign braces

An American company, Align Technology, produces Invisalign, a leading clear aligner brand. The company has been producing Invisalign since 1999, and they have made available different types of Invisalign aligners to cater for various orthodontic needs.

The Invisalign Lite is suitable for correction of minor dental issues, while Invisalign Teens has features that make it ideal for teenagers. To know if you can get Invisalign aligners, you need to take an Invisalign free smile assessment online which takes only a few minutes, or you can visit a dentist to examine your orthodontic issue.

ClearCorrect

ClearCorrect is a clear invisible braces brand available in the UK and US. It is made by a company in Texas and works the same way as Invisalign.

You need to wear plastic aligners for a minimum of 22 hours each day for the braces to function correctly.

Clearstep

Clearstep is another brand of clear aligner braces, but they are mostly available in Europe and Asia. Patients also need to wear them for a minimum of 22 hours every day.

The company that produces Clearstep also makes a teeth whitening gel. You can use the gel alongside the aligners to whiten and straighten your teeth at the same time.

Quick Straight Teeth

This brand of clear braces is available in the UK, and it offers a quick result like the Invisalign Lite. This invisible clear brace uses the aligner system to straighten the teeth within six months, but this works for only the six or eight teeth. This also means that Quick Straight Teeth may not be suitable for complicated dental issues.

Smilelign

This brand of clear aligner braces is available in the UK and made by a UK-based company. Smilelign partners with several dentists in the UK to provide in-office treatment.

A benefit of Smilelign is that they offer pre-aligners you can use before your treatment to have an idea of what your treatment entails, although, this comes at an extra cost of £150 - £200.

Choosing a clear braces brand

Most orthodontists only offer one or two of these brands listed above, so it is unlikely to find orthodontists offering all the brands of clear aligners, including those that are not listed.

In choosing a brand, note that established brands like Invisalign has made improvements over the years, and more people have used their aligners, so they have more experience than the brands made by newer companies.

If your dentist recommends a specific brand, ask the reason for the preference. Some dentist recommends some brands because of their cost, performance, the services provided by the company, or the technology used for treatment. If you are not satisfied with your orthodontist’s recommendation, you can get a second opinion from another orthodontist.

Direct-to-customer aligners

Some companies offer teeth straightening services directly to customers. For treatments like this, you take your teeth impressions yourself at home and send them to the company, and then they send your aligner trays to you by post.

Your check-ups will be with an orthodontist or dentist online or with an app. Example of this kind of brands are Straight My Teeth and Smile Direct Club.

The upside of this type of treatment is that it costs less than those that require in-office services by a dentist like Invisalign. Straight My Teeth cost as low as £999, but before you go for it, consider your other options. Direct-to-customer aligners may work perfectly for people with mild to moderate misalignments. But, if your orthodontic issue is severe, it may be best to get an in-office treatment.

You can check if you are the right candidate for Straight My Teeth by taking a quick smile assessment test online.

What is the cost of clear braces?

The cost of clear braces ranges from £1500 to £5500, and the average cost of treatment is between £2500 - £3000. The actual cost of treatment with clear braces depends on several factors like the length of treatment and the braces used.

Clear fixed braces are generally more expensive than traditional metal braces because of the transparent material and technology involved. To make treatment more affordable, most people use clear braces on their upper teeth, which is more visible, and metal braces on their lower teeth.

The prices of each type of clear and invisible braces vary between dentists, depending on the location and cost of running a business in the area, complexity of the case, and length of treatment. If you have mild misalignments, you might get cheaper options like Invisalign Lite.

What is the cost of clear braces in the UK?

The NHS does not cover treatment with clear braces, so you would get your clear braces treatment and pay for them privately. The NHS only provides orthodontic treatment for persons below 18 and adults who need them for medical reasons. Even at that, the NHS only provides treatment with traditional metal braces.

The table below summarised the different brands of clear braces and how much they cost.

Brand

Removable aligners or fixed braces?

Cost

Damon clear

Fixed

£3200 - £5500

Clearsmile braces

Fixed

£2500 - £5000

Invisalign braces

Removable aligners (in-office)

£1500 - £5500

ClearCorrect

Removable aligner (in-office)

£1800 - £4500

Clearstep braces

Removable (in-office) aligners

£1500 - £4500

Smile Direct Club

Removable (at-home) aligners

£1,499

Straight My Teeth

Removable (at-home) aligners

£999

 

Before you get any brand of clear braces, ensure you get different quotes from various dental clinics to compare their prices. Ask the orthodontist if they offer a zero percent interest payment plan so you can afford the treatment, but don’t end up paying more.

Caring for clear braces

Fixed clear braces require extra care and cleaning to maintain them. After fitting the braces, your orthodontist will show you the right way to clean them and your teeth. Cleaning fixed clear braces usually take a lot of time because the braces have several spots that can trap food and cause bacteria build-up.

Try to clean your teeth after every meal, but if you can’t, ensure that you rinse your mouth with water. Floss below the wires with either a floss threader, interdental cleaner or water flosser.

Food to avoid during clear braces treatment

You may have some eating restrictions, and your dentist should inform you about the food you are better off without if you are wearing fixed clear braces. These foods might include the following.

  • Foods that are hard like biscuits and nuts
  • Food that requires chewing like bagels and cereal bars
  • Foods that contain acids like fruit juices and pickles
  • Foods that are crunchy like crisps and apples

Your clear braces my not get stained easily but the white or clear elastics may become discoloured from foods and drinks. Try to reduce the amount and frequency of taking red wine, tomato sauces and other beverages or foods with colour. If you take any stain-causing food or drink, ensure you rinse your mouth thoroughly.

Biting your nails or chewing pencil, and other similar habits may damage the brackets and wire because the materials used are not as strong as those for metal braces. Finally, follow all the instructions given by your orthodontist.

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Aftercare

Caring for your teeth after treatment with braces is as vital as caring for your teeth during the treatment. If you have spent several months and your money getting the perfect set of teeth, you wouldn’t want to experience a relapse, which might make you need another treatment.

To ensure your teeth are healthy, do the following.

  • Brush twice every day and also floss daily
  • Use electric toothbrush
  • Rinse your mouth with a fluoride mouthwash
  • Clean your retainers everyday
  • Wear your retainers as your orthodontist requires

You may also need a dental hygienist to clean your teeth thoroughly after you remove your clear braces because plaques and stains may have built-up on your teeth during the treatment.

Wearing retainers

You may need retainers every night or during the day at first after you remove your fixed clear braces just like every other orthodontic treatment. This helps your teeth remain in their perfect new position. If you stop using your retainer after several years, your teeth can still move back to their previous position.

You may opt for a fixed retainer which the orthodontist will attach behind the front 4 – 8 teeth or the removable ones.

There are two types of removable retainers.

  • Wire removable retainers are made to cover the teeth and are secured using acrylic plates
  • Clear retainers which look like aligner trays, but you do not need to change them after two weeks

The removable retainers are easier to clean, and you can eat whatever you like. Cleaning your teeth will also be normal, but they quickly get damaged or lost. They are more expensive since you have to change them after a while and each wire retainer cost about £300 (Hawley retainers), while the clear ones (Essix retainers) cost about £70 - £150. Removable retainers can last for about five years.

Your orthodontist will help you decide if your condition needs a fixed or removable retainer

Pros and cons of clear and invisible braces

It may be difficult to decide between clear braces and invisible braces. The table below provides a summary of both clear and invisible braces to help you determine which teeth straightening treatment is best for you.

Invisible (removable) aligners

Clear (fixed braces )

Appearance

Difficult to notice

Less noticeable than metal braces

Cost

£1000 - £5500

£2500 - 5000

Duration of treatment

9- 18 months

18 – 24 months, 12 months for self-ligating, 4 – 12 months for Clearsmile

Frequency of dental visits

2 – 6 weeks or check-ups from home

4 – 6 weeks, 6 – 10 weeks for self-ligating braces

Eating

Not eating restriction but requires removal to eat

Eating restrictions because certain foods damage the braces

Cleaning

Requires teeth cleaning after every meal and taking thing besides water

Requires careful and thorough cleaning

Comfort

Comfortable and fits perfectly

Causes discomfort at first, then after each tightening

other

Removing them for important occasions is possible

Does not require discipline to wear and cannot get lost

 

Most adults and teenagers who want to get their teeth straightened without the notice of anyone may prefer Invisalign. Invisalign aligners are comfortable to use, removable and cost less or as much as clear fixed braces. To get Invisalign, you have to take an online smile assessment or visit an Invisalign provider to check if you are suitable for treatment.

However, if you need a cheaper alternative, you should consider Straight My Teeth. They cost only £999 and are suitable for mild to moderate orthodontic problems.

If you are not sure which type of braces is suitable for you, contact London Braces on 020 37457520 to book an appointment for a consultation with an experienced orthodontist.

FAQs

In the UK, how much do clear braces cost?

In the UK, clear braces cost between £1500 - £5500 for most cases of misalignment but, the cost of getting clear braces depends on the type of system you use, and the amount of teeth movement needed.

What is the price difference between metal and clear braces?

Clear braces are generally more expensive compared to metal braces. Their price difference may be only a little and sometimes up to £1000. However, clear braces may cost the same as metal braces for mild cases of misalignment.

Clear braces vs metal braces: which is better?

Choosing between metal and clear braces comes down to choosing between aesthetic and cost. Clear braces function like metal braces, but they are less conspicuous, so if your concern is your appearance during treatment, them clear braces may be a better option.

How do I maintain clear braces?

The elastics of clear braces are prone to getting stained, so to keep them white, after every meal or taking any drink that could stain your teeth like tea or coffee, rinse them thoroughly. Follow all your dentist’s instruction to keep your teeth and braces clean

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