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Braces vs. Clear Braces vs. Clear Aligners

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Were you aware that there are different kinds of braces that you might be able to use for your orthodontic treatment? In this blog, our Burlington dentists share the differences between clear aligners, clear braces, and traditional braces.

Clear Braces vs. Traditional Braces vs. Clear Aligners

When you start researching different teeth-straightening methods you will probably encounter two main options: clear aligners and traditional braces. However, you might find clear braces are a compelling third, middle-ground option.

Here, we compare the characteristics of clear aligners, traditional braces, and clear braces to help you make your choice between these three options.  All of them have their own pros and cons, and your dentist might be able to help you determine your next steps.

Traditional Braces

This is the option most people are typically familiar with when discussing options for treating orthodontic conditions. They are also generally the most noticeable when being worn, but decades of advancements in orthodontic technology have meant wires and brackets have evolved to become smaller in size.

Traditional metal braces are generally the go-to choice for those who have to fix complex problems when it comes to straightening their teeth, and you could either play them up with fun colours or opt for 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 with 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 remember with clear aligners is that you can only drink only water when you are wearing them. 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.

However, not everyone is a candidate for clear aligners, but, for people that aren't, clear braces could be a good compromise.

Clear Braces

Clear braces are a type of ceramic braces that help patients straighten their teeth just like traditional braces. They are less visible than the traditional option that has been used for decades, although, they still use brackets and wires to gradually shift teeth into their corrected 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 care for clear and metal braces?

Whether you choose clear or metal braces, it’s imperative to practice optimal dental hygiene during your 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.

What foods will I need to avoid?

With both clear braces and the traditional ones, you should avoid eating sticky and crunchy foods like caramel, apples, popcorn and most candy,  as they could often displace or damage the metal.

Can 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.

How much do they cost?

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, this all depends on the nature and extent of your orthodontic problem.

How long will I need 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.

For more information on how orthodontic treatments can help improve your smile contact our dentists at Clarmain Dental to schedule an appointment.

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