Braces are the standard for orthodontic correction, but few adults want to wear a mouthful of metal for a year or more while teeth are moved into better alignment. Clear Correct addresses this problem by offering a discreet alternative to metal braces. With Clear Correct treatment, there are no brackets and wires. Instead, you’ll receive a customized series of clear aligners that you’ll wear for at least 22 hours every day. The aligners will straighten the teeth little by little over the course of several months or years until you achieve your cosmetic goals.
Did you know…
that orthodontic treatments can be successful for patients of all ages? Because of advancements in subtle orthodontics, adults are beginning to represent nearly half of all orthodontic patients in the U.S. Clear Correct aligning trays are nearly invisible and so discreet that they have no effect on your day-to- day interactions. Although every patient is different, most adults can expect to wear Clear Correct aligners for between one and two years.
Frequently Asked Questions
Am I a candidate for Clear Correct?
To find out if you are a candidate for Clear Correct, you must first schedule a consultation with Dr. Bates. Together, you can analyze the condition of your teeth and discuss your personal cosmetic goals.
What should I expect during my Clear Correct treatment?
If Clear Correct is right for you, your treatment will begin with impressions and imaging of your teeth. Those images and impressions will be used by Clear Correct to produce a prescriptive set of custom aligners designed to slowly move your teeth into alignment. You’ll wear those aligners at all times with the
exception of when you are eating, brushing or flossing your teeth. Though you will not need to visit us to have your braces adjusted, you will check in from time to time to monitor progress.
Will I need to follow any special guidelines when treatment is complete?
Once your treatment is complete, you will no longer wear Clear Correct aligners, but will likely require a retainer. Retainers are removable oral appliances designed to help retain the new position of your teeth and prevent them from moving back to their prior position.
What Types of Braces Are Available?
If braces are indeed the solution for you, the dentist or orthodontist will prescribe an appliance specific for your needs. The braces may consist of bands, wires, and other fixed or removable corrective appliances. No one method works for everyone.
How Do Braces Work?
In their entirety, braces work by applying continuous pressure over a period of time to slowly move teeth in a specific direction. As the teeth move, the bone changes shape as pressure is applied.
Braces are made up of the following components:
Brackets are the small squares that are bonded directly to the front of each tooth with a special dental bonding agent or are attached to orthodontic bands. Brackets act like handles, holding the
arch wires that move the teeth. There are several types of brackets, including stainless steel and tooth-colored ceramic or plastic, which are often selected because they’re less obvious. Occasionally, brackets are cemented to the back of teeth, in order to hide them from view.
Orthodontic bands are stainless steel, clear, or tooth-colored materials that are cemented to the teeth with dental bonding agents. They wrap around each tooth to provide an anchor for the brackets. The clear or tooth-colored bands are more cosmetically appealing options but are more expensive than stainless steel. They are not used in all patients. Some people have only brackets and no bands.
Spacers are separators that fit between teeth to create a small space prior to placement of orthodontic bands.
Arch wires attach to the brackets and act as tracks to guide the movement of the teeth. Arch wires can be made of metal or be clear or tooth-colored.
Ties are small rubber rings or fine wires that fasten the arch wire to the brackets. They can be clear, metal, or colored.
A buccal tube on the band of the last tooth holds the end of the arch wire securely in place. Tiny elastic rubber bands, called ligatures, hold the arch wires to the brackets.
Springs may be placed on the arch wires between brackets to push, pull, open, or close the spaces between teeth.
Two bands on the upper teeth may have headgear tubes on them to hold the facebow of the headgear in place. (A headgear is another tool used by orthodontists to aid in correcting irregularities of the teeth; see below)
Elastics or rubber bands attach to hooks on brackets and are worn between the upper and lower teeth in various ways. They apply pressure to move the upper teeth against the lower teeth to achieve a perfect fit of individual teeth.
Facebow headgear is the wire gadget that is used to move the upper molars back in the mouth to correct bite discrepancies and also to create room for crowded teeth. The facebow consists of an
inner metal part shaped like a horseshoe that goes in the mouth, attaching to buccal tubes, and an outer part that goes around the outside of the face and is connected to a headgear strap.
Newer “mini-braces,” which are much smaller than traditional braces, may be an option for some. There is another method of straightening teeth that uses removable plastic retainers that
may also work when crowding of the teeth is not too severe. Your orthodontist will discuss the various types of braces with you and determine which might be the best option for your situation.
How Long Will I Have to Wear Braces?
The time required for braces varies from person to person, depending on the severity of the problem; the amount of room available; the distance the teeth must travel; the health of the teeth,
gums, and supporting bone; and how closely the patient follows instructions. On average, however, once the braces are put on, they usually remain in place for one to three years. After braces are removed, most patients will need to wear a retainer all the time for the first six months, then only during sleep for many years.
How Often Will I Need to See the Orthodontist During Treatment?
Your orthodontist will want to see you about every month or so in order to make sure the braces are exerting steady pressure on the teeth. To create more tension and pressure on your teeth, the
orthodontist will make adjustments in the wires, springs, or rubber bands of the braces. In some cases, braces alone aren't enough to straighten the teeth or shift the jaw. In these situations, an external appliance, such as headgear, may need to be worn at home in the evening or through the night.