Did you know that there are different types of braces available depending on your needs and style preferences? Today, our dentists in British Columbia and Alberta compare traditional braces, clear braces, and Invisalign clear aligners.
Clear Braces vs. Traditional Braces vs. Invisalign clear aligners
Start to research options for straightening your teeth and you’ll probably come across two stark choices: traditional braces and Invisalign clear aligners. But clear braces also present a compelling third option and a middle ground.
Today, we'll compare traditional braces, Invisalign 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, but decades of advancements in orthodontic technology have resulted in wires and brackets becoming smaller in size.
When it comes to straightening your teeth, traditional metal braces are the go-to option for people who need to resolve complex orthodontic issues, and you can choose to play with colours or tooth-coloured elastic bands.
Invisalign clear aligners
Clear aligners, such as Invisalign, are removable orthodontic appliances that straighten your teeth in the same way that braces do but without metal and wires. When worn, Invisalign clear aligners are made of a transparent plastic material that makes them appear nearly 'invisible' to the casual observer.
Because Invisalign 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 remember about Invisalign clear aligners is that you should only drink water while wearing them. Otherwise, remove them every time you eat or drink. Brush and floss your teeth before replacing the Invisalign clear aligners to prevent bacteria and food particles from becoming stuck between your teeth and the clear aligners. While Invisalign clear aligners can be soaked in cleaning solutions or rinsed in warm water, braces must be brushed and flossed regularly.
Not everybody is a candidate for Invisalign 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, like traditional metal braces, help patients straighten their teeth. They are less visible than traditional metal braces, but they still use wires and brackets to gradually move teeth into their new positions.
Ceramic brackets closely match the colour of your tooth enamel, allowing them to blend in much better than traditional metal brackets. To further enhance the natural appearance of your clear braces, your wires can sometimes be coloured to match the colour of your teeth.
How should I care for clear braces and metal braces?
Whether you choose metal or clear braces, it is critical to maintaining good dental hygiene while undergoing orthodontic treatment. Brushing and flossing become even more important to avoid cavities and gingivitis because food and plaque can easily become caught in the wires and brackets.
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, be mindful of the foods and beverages you consume, as the brackets on clear braces can become more easily stained than metal braces. Avoid dark-coloured foods and beverages such as cola and blueberries.
What about cost?
As previously stated, clear braces may be an excellent alternative for patients who are not candidates for Invisalign clear aligners. Ceramic braces are priced in the middle of traditional metal braces and Invisalign clear aligners. Metal braces are the least expensive option, while Invisalign clear aligners are slightly more expensive than the average cost of braces. 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 be an advantage if you’re not sure whether you have the self-discipline needed for removable Invisalign clear aligners.
When it comes to treatment time, both metal braces and clear braces are comparable. Patients typically wear them for one to three years, depending on the severity of their dental issues.