There are different types of braces out there that may work for you depending on your needs and style preferences. In this post, our dentists in West Toronto compare traditional braces, clear braces and clear aligners.
Clear Braces vs. Traditional Braces vs. Clear Aligners
If you've been researching options for straightening your teeth, you'll likely come across two stark choices: traditional braces and clear aligners. However, clear braces also present a compelling third option - and a middle ground.
Today, we'll compare traditional braces, clear braces and clear aligners to attempt to help you decide between the three. Each have their pros and cons, and your dentist can help you decide next steps.
When people discuss braces, they tend to be most familiar with this option. Traditional braces are typically the most visible when worn. However, orthodontic technology has advanced in the past few decades, which means wires and brackets have evolved to become smaller in size.
For people who need to resolve complex orthodontic issues when it comes to straightening their teeth, traditional metal braces are the go-to option. You might choose to play them up with colours or choose tooth-coloured elastic bands.
Invisalign is a series of removable orthodontic clear aligners that straighten your teeth just like braces do, only without the wires and metal. Made of a transparent plastic material, clear aligners may be difficult for the casual observer to see on your teeth.
Because clear aligners are removable, you can keep eating all the foods you like as there will be no dietary requirements - unlike with braces, which will require you to watch which foods you eat. Since braces are fixed and not removable, you'll need to avoid sticky or crunchy foods as hard fruits, popcorn, gum, snacks and vegetables that can get stuck in your braces.
With clear aligners, you'll also need to remember to only drink water with them in. Otherwise, take them out each time you eat or drink. Brush or floss before putting them back in your mouth to avoid bacteria and food particles getting trapped between your teeth and the clear aligners. While clear aligners can be soaked in cleaning solutions or be rinsed with warm water, you'll need to brush and floss braces 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 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 damage.
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 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 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.