October 25, 2019

All About Clear Braces

Salt Lake City Clear Braces - Orthodontist in Salt Lake City, Utah

It wasn’t so long ago that patients looking for a straighter smile didn’t have many options beyond traditional metal braces. At the time, these braces were bulky, awkward, and uncomfortable, but for someone in need of orthodontic treatment, they were all we had available. Fortunately, today’s patients have multiple ways to achieve better oral health and a beautifully aligned smile!

Here at Foothill Orthodontics, we’re proud to offer several of these orthodontic options, including clear braces. This treatment is great for patients who need the strength and reliability of metal braces, but want a more discreet appearance. If this sounds like you, keep reading below! We’re going to take a closer look at what clear braces are, how they work, and what benefits they have over metal braces.

What are clear braces?

Clear braces are also known as ceramic braces, tooth-colored braces, or esthetic braces. They work the same way metal braces do to straighten the teeth. We affix brackets to the front of the teeth, and insert a special wire. By bending this wire in specific ways, we’re able to provide different types of pressure on different teeth. It’s this continuous pressure that moves them into more desirable positions over time.

Although they work the same, the components are different. As the names suggest, metal braces are composed of metal brackets, while clear braces are made of translucent or tooth-colored ceramic brackets. Both tend to blend in well with natural smiles! While they’re not totally invisible, clear braces are much less noticeable than metal braces, even though the brackets are about the same size and shape.

Clear braces are a popular choice with our teen and adult patients especially. If you aren’t suited to a removable appliance like Invisalign aligners, clear braces can be an excellent alternative! When we pair clear brackets with clear, white, or tooth-colored wires and elastic ties, it offers an incredibly subtle way to straighten your smile.

Damon clear braces

Our practice uses the Damon clear braces to achieve beautiful smiles for our patients. This unique system uses high-tech wires to straighten the teeth faster with fewer adjustments and less pressure. Unlike traditional braces that use elastic tie-ins, Damon braces are self-ligating, which means no elastic or metal ties are required. The braces are attached to a “shape memory” wire that is very light and that connects slide brackets without the pressure that traditional elastics often produce. Together, these components will move your teeth gently over time.

The tie-ins typically used with traditional braces can cause friction and pressure, making treatment less comfortable. This can sometimes add to the total treatment time as well.

The Damon system, on the other hand, uses a patented slide mechanism to hold the archwire in place while allowing teeth to move freely and quickly without as much friction. Since there are no elastic ties, no tightening is required. These braces are also less likely to attract plaque since they tend to be easier to clean.

Like traditional braces, Damon braces are extremely efficient at fixing oral issues that range from simple to complex. In fact, they often work faster at closing gaps and aligning teeth than other treatments might. Noticeable signs of progress are often seen in a relatively short amount of time, which can give you a major boost of encouragement when you need it!

girl with clear braces and toothbrush

What are some of the differences between clear and metal braces?


Although staining was sometimes a problem with clear brackets many years ago, it is no longer a concern. The clear brackets will not stain; however the adhesive we use to attach the brackets to the teeth can become discolored, along with the clear elastic ties that hold the wires on. When clear braces first became an option, we cautioned patients against consuming things like coffee, tea, red wine, tomatoes, mustard, etc. to avoid any potential staining. We’ve since learned that this is unnecessary, since we place new elastics at every adjustment appointment, anyway. As long as you have a good oral hygiene routine, you shouldn’t have to give up your evening wine or morning cup of joe!


Metal braces are known for their durability and strength. While clear braces are also sturdy and long-lasting, the material they are made of is a bit more fragile. That means the brackets are easier to chip or crack. Metal braces are also able to tolerate more pressure than clear braces. For that reason, more complex or severe orthodontic issues may be better served by metal braces. Additionally, the adjustments we make to move your teeth need to be slightly smaller with clear braces, so it can sometimes take a little longer to align them successfully. All that said, metal and clear braces do work on the same principles, so they tend to be equally effective for most cases!


Clear brackets tend to be a bit more costly than their metal counterparts. There is also more work involved in putting them on, adjusting them, and taking them off. Their placement and removal is more sensitive to technique and may require more time, and adjustments will sometimes be more complex. When you take all of these factors into consideration, you can see why clear braces are often slightly more of an investment than metal braces! For these reasons, we generally tend to recommend them for our older teen and adult patients only.

Get a smile worth sharing with Foothill Orthodontics

When you schedule your first appointment with our Foothill or Holladay office, you’ll receive a thorough orthodontic evaluation with Dr. Chandler or Dr. Anderson. This will help them determine what type of treatment you need, and which treatment option would be best for you and your smile. Most of our teen and adult patients will be a good fit for clear braces, but if our doctors feel your smile would be better served by a different treatment, that’s what they will recommend. It’s important to us to always provide customized treatment to our patients!

For older teens or adults who want all the benefits of metal braces without standing out, clear braces can be a perfect alternative! If you’re interested in learning more about how clear braces can give you a healthier, straighter smile, get in touch with us today to schedule a complimentary consultation. Your best smile is waiting for you here!

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