Clear Braces vs. Traditional Braces vs. Clear Aligners
Start to research options for straightening your teeth and you’ll probably come across two stark choices: traditional braces and clear aligners. But clear braces also present a compelling third option and a middle ground.
Today, we'll compare traditional braces, clear aligners, and clear braces to help you decide which one is right for you. Each has advantages and disadvantages, and your dentist can advise you on the best course of action.
When it comes to braces, this is the option that most people are familiar with. They are also the most visible when worn; however, decades of advancements in orthodontic technology have resulted in wires and brackets becoming smaller in size.
Traditional metal braces are the go-to option for people who need to resolve complex orthodontic issues when it comes to straightening their teeth, and you can choose to play them up with colours or choose tooth-coloured elastic bands.
Clear aligners, like Invisalign, are removable orthodontic appliances that straighten your teeth in the same way that braces do but without the metal and wires. Clear aligners are made of transparent plastic, making them nearly 'invisible' to the untrained eye when worn.
Because clear aligners are removable, you can eat whatever you want because there are no dietary restrictions, unlike braces, which require you to watch what foods you eat. Because braces are not removable, you should avoid crunchy or sticky foods like popcorn, hard fruits and vegetables, gum, and snacks that can get stuck in your braces.
Another thing to keep in mind with clear aligners is that you'll need to drink only water with them in. Otherwise, take them out each time you eat or drink. Brush and floss before placing them back in your mouth to avoid bacteria and food particles getting stuck between your teeth and the clear aligners. While clear aligners can soak in cleaning solutions or be rinsed in warm water, braces will need to be brushed and flossed regularly.
Not everybody is a candidate for clear aligners, however, and for those who are not, clear braces can be a good compromise.
Clear braces are a type of ceramic braces that help patients straighten their teeth just like traditional metal braces. They are less noticeable than the traditional metal that’s been used for decades, but they still use wires and brackets to gradually move teeth into their new positions.
The ceramic brackets match closely to the colour of your tooth enamel, making them blend in much more than traditional metal brackets do. Sometimes, your wires can also be applied to match the colour of your teeth to further add to the natural appearance of your clear braces.
How should I care for clear braces and metal braces?
Whether you choose metal braces or clear braces, it’s important to have excellent dental hygiene while undergoing orthodontic treatment. Because food and plaque can easily get caught in the wires and brackets, brushing and flossing become even more important to avoid cavities and gingivitis.
Which foods should I avoid?
With both clear braces and more traditional metal braces, you should avoid eating sticky foods like most candy, popcorn, caramel, and apples, which can cause the metal to become displaced or damaged.
Do clear braces stain?
If you choose clear braces, you’ll want to be careful with which foods and drink you consume, as the brackets on clear braces can become more easily stained than on metal braces. Avoid dark-coloured foods and drinks like cola and blueberries.
What about the cost?
As previously stated, clear braces may be an excellent option for patients who are not candidates for clear aligners. Ceramic braces are priced in the middle of traditional metal braces and clear aligners. Metal braces are the least expensive option, while clear aligners are slightly more expensive. Of course, all of this is dependent on the nature and severity of your orthodontic problem.
How long will I have to wear braces?
The fact that braces are not removable may actually be an advantage if you’re not sure whether you have the self-discipline needed for removable clear aligners.
Both metal braces and clear braces are comparable when it comes to the duration of your treatment time. Patients typically wear them anywhere from 1 to 3 years, depending on the nature of their dental issues.