clear aligners vs braces | clear aligners or braces

Clear Aligners vs Clear Braces: An In-Depth Comparison

Orthodontic treatment has made huge strides in the past 20 years. With advancements in the technology specific to creating the smile you have always wanted, there are now more options available to you for treatment. And two of the most popular are clear braces and clear aligners.

In order to make the right decision for your orthodontic goals, you need to know how these two choices compare. In this article, we break down the differences between clear aligners vs clear braces so you can choose with confidence.

The Pros and Cons of Clear Aligners

The Invisalign and Clarity Clear Aligners systems of clear aligners are two of the most popular brands of aligners. They are both transparent, removable aligners similar to a standard mouthguard but are constructed of thin, medical-grade plastic. 

Clear aligners work by using a series of clear plastic trays, known as aligners, to gently apply pressure in strategic places to straighten teeth. The aligners fit directly over your teeth and are customized to fit your mouth and tooth alignment as your treatment plan progresses. The teeth are gradually moved into their new proper alignment by changing the aligners as directed by your orthodontist

The primary difference between clear aligners vs clear braces is that the aligners are removable by the user. Clear braces are cemented to your teeth until your orthodontist removes them at the end of your treatment (more on this below). But both are less visible than traditional metal braces.

Clear Aligner Pros:

As you examine the differences between clear aligners and clear braces, here are some of the advantages of aligners:

They Are Discreet

The aligners are nearly invisible on your teeth. There are no brackets or wires like traditional braces.

There Are No Food Or Dietary Restrictions

The clear aligners are removed whenever you eat, so you won’t need to avoid sticky, hard foods. Eat whatever you like, then simply put the aligner back in as soon as you’re done!

They Are Removable

Aligners are removed to eat, brush, floss, and use mouthwash. The aligners will also need to be removed periodically to be cleaned, too.

They Are More Comfortable

Much like an athletic mouthguard, the clear aligners are simply slipped over the teeth. There is nothing cemented to your teeth and no tightening of wires.

There Are Fewer Dentist Visits

Instead of regular appointments with the orthodontist to have wires and brackets adjusted, the aligners are usually shipped to your home. You simply change the aligners according to the schedule set up by your orthodontist. Then you’ll have periodic checkups at the office, but usually fewer than with clear braces.

Clear Aligners Cons:

Here are some of the disadvantages of aligners:

You Will Need To Wear Them For About 22 Hours Per Day

Even though you can remove the aligners to eat, you still need to be diligent and wear them for the majority of the day and night.

Their Use Is Limited to More Mild Cases

Clear aligners are not recommended to correct severely crooked or misaligned teeth. Your orthodontist will guide you about the best device to correct a more serious issue with your teeth or jaw.

You May Have Temporary Speech Issues

You may have trouble pronouncing some words when you first start wearing aligners. This is temporary but can cause concern or embarrassment during that time.

They Are More Expensive

In general, clear aligners are more expensive than clear braces. It’s important to know, too, that most insurance companies won’t cover the treatment with aligners.

It Is Easier to Misplace Them

Invisalign, and other clear aligners, are only effective if they are worn as directed. Since clients can remove them, they may take them out more than they should. And, once they are out, they are also easier to lose. They need to be worn 24/7, except when eating or brushing/flossing.

The Pros and Cons of Clear Braces

Clear braces, often called ceramic braces, consist of clear or tooth-colored brackets cemented to your teeth with bands or wires of the same color connecting the brackets. They are typically made of ceramic or clear sapphire and match the color of teeth. The color doesn’t fade with time and both materials are very durable.

One specific type of clear braces, Clarity Advanced Clear Braces, is designed to be as invisible as possible as they straighten teeth or fix bite problems, which is the main difference between clear and metal braces. Both work the same way and both take about the same amount of time to do their job.

Clear Braces Pros:

There are several advantages to using clear braces:

They Are Nearly Invisible

When compared to regular metal braces, clear braces are not easily noticed. The brackets and wires are color-matched to your natural teeth.

They Are Cost Effective 

Clear braces often cost less than clear aligners.

They Are Better for More Serious Orthodontic Issues

Clear braces are good for both simple issues like crowding of the teeth as well as more complex issues like incorrect bite alignment.

Clear Braces Cons:

Here are the disadvantages of clear braces in comparison to clear aligners:

They Can Sometimes Stain Teeth

The rubber bands used to connect the wires on clear braces sometimes discolor the teeth. Rubber is porous and can leave stains on your teeth over time.

They May Not Last Through the Entire Length of Your Treatment Plan

Clear braces can be damaged by too much pressure over time. Depending on the length of your treatment plan, clear braces may not be the best choice for you.

They Can Still Be Slightly Seen

The archwire on the clear braces can still be slightly seen. But, overall they are still less visible than metal braces.

They Cannot Be Removed by the Patient

Clear braces, just like metal braces, are cemented to your teeth and don’t come out until the end of your treatment.

They Make It Harder to Keep Your Teeth Properly Clean

Since clear braces remain in your mouth, it is harder to brush and floss your teeth around the braces.

We Can Help You Make the Right Choice in Clear Aligners vs Clear Braces!

It’s an important decision when you must choose between clear braces or clear aligners to correct orthodontic issues with your teeth. You must consider the length of your treatment, your goals, your lifestyle, the cost, and the pros and cons we covered above for both types of braces. 

We hope that this article has provided the information you need in order to narrow the choice for you. The next step is to discuss it with your orthodontist here at Reed & Sahlaney Orthodontics. We are the trusted local provider of orthodontic treatment in Central PA for kids, teens, and adults, offering a wide range of orthodontic services including both clear braces and clear aligners. 

Are you ready to take the next step? Contact our office today!