What are Clear Braces and what are they made of?

Clear braces are a cosmetic alternative to metal braces that blend in better with your teeth and are less noticeable.  They are a great option for those who want braces but don’t want them to show and also for those who are not candidates for Invisalign but still desire a less visible solution.  Here at Papasikos Orthodontics in Montclair, NJ. we offer clear braces at no additional cost!

Not all clear braces are created equal.  Clear braces can be made of many different materials depending on the manufacturer.  Some clear braces are made of ceramic or porcelain, similar to the material of a crown/cap for a tooth, while others are made of a material similar to plastic.  Both materials have advantages and disadvantages.  It is important that you find an orthodontist who uses high quality clear braces, which will be more resistant to staining and breakage. At Papasikos Orthodontics, we use the highest quality clear braces that are made in the United States, not overseas.

Which teeth are clear braces placed on (top, bottom, or both)?

The teeth that clear braces are placed on is largely dependent on your individual case.  Many offices place clear braces on the top teeth only for the following reason.  The ceramic material used to make clear braces is very abrasive and rough.  If your top teeth bite into clear braces on your bottom teeth, your top teeth can chip and wear down over time.  The more overbite you have, the greater the risk.  Your orthodontist will be able to determine what is appropriate for your case.

Clear Braces on top, metal braces on bottom

Clear braces on top and bottom

Do clear braces stain or turn yellow over time?

If your orthodontist is using low quality clear braces, they may break down over time and discolor, whereas this is not an issue with high quality braces.  However, the clear elastic ties (rubber bands) used to hold the wire into the braces can turn yellow over time regardless of the bracket used (see picture below).  Luckily, the elastic ties are removable and will get changed at every appointment.  Certain foods can discolor the elastics at a faster rate, such as yellow spices and curry, and are best to avoid.

One type of braces, called self-ligating braces, doesn’t require the use of elastic ties, so you don’t have to worry about staining at all!  Instead, these braces have a metal door that holds the wire into place (see picture below).  We use self-ligating brackets at Papasikos Orthodontics in Montclair, NJ for patients who are concerned about discoloration.

Clear self-ligating bracket with metal door (arrow) eliminates need for clear rubber bands which may stain.

Is the wire clear too?

The wire is what connects the individual braces together and aligns the teeth (see picture below). The wire is usually made of a silver colored material, similar to stainless steel, which does not blend with clear braces.  There are white colored wires available, however, they tend to break down and chip over time, exposing the underlying metal surface.  For this reason, white wires are less commonly used by orthodontists unless requested.

White/Clear Wire Chipping of white wire  exposing  metal surface (arrow)

Are clear braces more expensive?

Clear braces themselves cost more to make than metal braces, because they are made of a more expensive material.  Therefore, some orthodontic offices charge extra for clear braces. However, at Papasikos Orthodontics in Montclair, NJ, we provide clear braces for the same cost as our regular metal braces.

Feel free to contact our office if you have any questions for our orthodontists, Drs. Jacy and Arianna Papasikos.