Clear Braces: Are They Actually Worth It?

Everyone knows someone who has had clear braces, but does the pros outweigh the cons? We chatted with women who've used clear braces and teeth expert Dr. Barry Buckley to get the low-down.

Straightening your teeth as an adult is getting ridiculously popular, and clear braces are the way many are choosing to do it. They're way more subtle than the "train track" alternatives we are used to seeing on teenagers. In theory, you can straighten your teeth and most won't even know you're doing it. It's also big business. In Ireland alone, there are several brands offering clear braces: ClearBraces.ie, Invisalign and SmileLife to name a few. This competition between brands has resulted in lots of tempting deals and instalment plans. Straightening your teeth has never been so affordable.

What about the day to day upkeep of clear braces? How long will you have to wear them? We've gathered the most commonly asked questions and put them to real clear brace wearers and an expert.

How much do clear braces cost?

One of the biggest factors for getting clear braces is the cost. If you're researching via brand websites, you won't find a straight-up price. This is because every treatment varies depending on the patient and how long you'll need to wear them. Deirdre (30) is coming to the end of her treatment with Invisalign and says in total her treatment cost €2,800. She availed of a €500 off deal when she signed up, and that's what attracted her to Invisalign.

There are some fantastic deals to be found, and if you're not scrimping on quality, it's well worth shopping around. Katie (32) got her clear braces with Invisalign too, and her treatment came in at approximately €4,000. This just goes to show how each patient and treatment plan differs, the full cost can only be established once a dentist has seen you.

Gisele Bündchen has been open about using clear braces Gisele Bündchen has been open about using clear braces

How long does the treatment last?

As some people will remember, the traditional "train track" brace plans can last for years. With clear braces, the time frame is much less, approximately half the time in fact. Deirdre will be finished with her braces after a year, while Katie will be done after eight months. It is important to note that once you're finished with the braces, you have to wear a retainer. We spoke to dentist Dr. Barry Buckley of Dental Options, Clane & Chatham Street who straightens teeth with clearbraces.ie - he explained that instead of realigning your teeth, a retainer keeps your new alignment in place. At first, you will have to keep the retainer on most of the time, then this will gradually reduce.

How many hours a day do they need to be in?

A plus with clear braces is that you have the option to take them out. This means you don't have the awkward task of trying to eat with them in. If you want the treatment to work however, eating and drinking is the only time you will be able to take them out. It is recommended that you have them in for 22 hours a day. Once you take them out to eat, you have to brush and floss before they go back in. In general, Katie notes that they're very easy to maintain. As long as you clean them regularly and look after your teeth, it's very straightforward.

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Katherine Heigl used clear braces before her wedding day Katherine Heigl used clear braces before her wedding day

How many trips to the dentist will be required?

Dr. Barry estimates you will need to see your clear brace dentist every 6-8 weeks. With people trying to stay home as much as possible in 2020, some brands are offering a fully 'at-home' treatment where you mail in moulds to a dentist and they post out clear braces in return. By doing this, are you losing out on quality? Dr. Barry says seeing a dentist in person is much more beneficial to your plan and overall treatment. The moulds will be more accurate and the scans they take of your teeth pre-treatment will help them find the most effective plan for you without damaging your teeth.

What are the benefits of having straight teeth?

Aesthetic reasons are why many choose to straighten their teeth. However, there are other reasons to do it. Dr. Barry notes that cleaning your teeth is much easier with straight teeth, so it's easier to maintain a good quality of oral hygiene. It also can improve neck and head pain and make it easier for you to chew your food properly.

Anna Kendrick used Invisilign clear braces to straighten her teeth

Anna Kendrick used Invisalign clear braces to straighten her teeth

Are clear braces worth it?

Finally, the big question: are clear braces worth it? Deirdre and Katie say they are. For Deirdre, she felt self-conscious of her teeth for years and clear braces have eliminated that. She is getting ready for her wedding next year, so now felt like a great time to go for it. Katie never had a big issue with her teeth but the difference has been so effective that she has to recommend them. It all comes down to your own situation. If you're really concerned with how your teeth look, the results from clear braces are truly amazing. You have to weigh up the price and treatment length to see if it's feasible for you.

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