Braces vs. Clear Braces vs. Clear Aligners: Which is the Right Choice for Me?

If you are looking to straighten your teeth then you may know that metal braces are commonly used, but did you know that they aren't the only option? Today, our Edmonton dentists discuss the differences between traditional braces, clear braces and clear aligners.

The Difference Between Clear Braces, Traditional Braces and Clear Aligners

Start to research options for straightening your teeth and you’ll probably come across two stark choices: traditional braces and clear aligners. You may not be aware that there is also in fact a third option, clear braces which may just offer a good compromise between the two most common choices.

Today, we’ll compare traditional braces, clear aligners, and clear braces in an effort to help you decide between the three. Each has its pros and cons, and your dentist can help you decide on the next steps.

Traditional Metal Braces

If you think of braces, chances are these are the braces that you picture. They are also typically the most visible when worn, however, decades of advancements in orthodontic technology have meant wires and brackets have evolved to become 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

Clear aligners, such as Invisalign, are removable orthodontic appliances that straighten your teeth just like braces do, only without the metal and wires. Clear aligners are made of transparent plastic material, making them look nearly 'invisible' to the casual observer when worn.

Since clear aligners are removable, you can keep eating all the foods you love as there will be no dietary requirements - unlike braces, which require you to watch which foods you eat. Because braces are fixed and not removable, you'll need to avoid crunchy or sticky foods such as 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

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 Do I Properly Care For Both Clear Braces & 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.

Are There Types of Food That I Should Avoid?

With both clear braces and more traditional metal ones, you should resist eating often delicious but sticky foods such as most candy, popcorn, caramel, and apples, all of which can lead to the metal becoming displaced or damaged.

Do I have to worry about clear braces staining?

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 is the cost of braces?

As we mentioned above, clear braces may be a great option for patients who aren’t candidates for clear aligners. Financially, ceramic braces are the mid-range between traditional metal braces and clear aligners. Metal braces are the most affordable option, while clear aligners are just above the average cost of braces. Of course, the final cost of your orthodontic treatment will depend on the oral concerns that you are addressing and which option you choose.

How long does treatment with braces take?

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.

When it comes to treatment with braces you can rest assured that one benefit is that braces are not removable and it may actually be an advantage if you’re not sure whether you have the self-discipline needed for removable clear aligners.

Are you ready to learn more about braces and what option might be right for you? Contact the dentists at Scotia Square Dentistry to book an appointment.

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