There is some confusion about what clear braces are and how they work. Most people hear clear braces and think of Invisalign®, but the two are very different. Clear braces work the exact same way as metal braces where brackets are bonded to your teeth and connected by an archwire to guide the teeth into proper alignment. Clear braces are a good cosmetic alternative compared to traditional metal braces and blend in well with your teeth. Invisalign® consists of plastic transparent aligners that are changed on a weekly basis and worn 22 hours a day to move your teeth into place. These are a great option for people who want straight teeth but with a less visible option. Below, we’ll weigh the pros and cons of clear braces vs. Invisalign® to see what may be the best option for you and your lifestyle.
What Types Of Clear Braces Are There?
There are many types of alternatives to clear braces. They can be made out of ceramic, porcelain or even plastic. Each material has its own advantages and disadvantages and should be considered when choosing between clear braces or Invisalign®.
We currently offer custom LightForce Braces which are white, not clear. They are opaque, not transparent, but still offer an esthetic advantage over traditional metal braces.
What Is The Cost For Clear Braces?
Some places will charge more for clear braces, but here at Walt Orthodontics, we offer clear braces at no additional cost! They are the same price as metal braces and even Invisalign®! We don’t like to ‘nickel and dime’ so it’s one fee and it covers your entire orthodontic treatment.
Do Clear Braces Stain?
A common misconception about clear braces is that they stain and discolour. This is technically not true. While the bracket itself does not discolour, it is the clear elastic holding the wire in the brace that can get darker. The discolouration is exacerbated by a diet with colourful spices and dark liquids such as coffee. The good news is that with our Empower Clear braces, which are self-ligating, no elastic tie is required to hold the wire in the brace. For this reason, you should not expect discoloration. If spaces appear and need to be closed, an elastic tie called a powerchain is used but this is temporary.
The Pros and Cons of Clear Braces
- Clear braces are bonded to your teeth, so you will not have to remember to put them back on.
- Clear braces are more aesthetically pleasing than metal and far less noticeable.
- While some people may feel self-conscious about metal braces, clear braces can inspire confidence in one’s smile – especially when the teeth become adjusted and straightened!
- With braces, you need to follow a long list of foods to avoid.
- Brushing and flossing can be more difficult, causing gum disease if proper hygiene methods are not followed.
- Clear braces are slightly bigger than metal braces and more brittle – meaning they can chip and break over time. Both metal and clear braces cause irritation to lips and cheeks and the wires can poke at times.
- Because clear braces are more brittle and prone to fracture compared to metal braces, we routinely do not utilize them on the lower. If you choose clear braces on the upper, expect metal braces on the lower.
The Pros and Cons of Invisalign®
- Invisalign® can be removed for eating (no food restrictions), drinking, brushing teeth and flossing.
- Invisalign® is more transparent than clear braces. While the brackets are ‘clear’, depending on the shade of your natural tooth can determine how well the bracket fits in.
- After the initial pain of the adjustment, Invisalign® is comfortable on the teeth.
- Invisalign® needs to be worn 22 hours a day, so compliance can be an issue.
- Invisalign® causes some irritation to the tongue and sometimes lips and cheeks while adjusting in the beginning.
Clear braces and Invisalign® are both good options when wanting to straighten your teeth, but depending on your case one option may be better than the other.
Considering Invisalign® or Clear Braces?
Whether you’re considering Invisalign® or clear braces for your orthodontic treatment, Walt Orthodontics is here to help assess your teeth, and recommend the best orthodontic treatment plan for you – no matter your budget or concerns. Contact our office today for your free assessment.