Considering straightening your smile? Depending on your needs and style preferences, different types of braces could work for you. Today, our North York dentists compare traditional braces, clear braces, and clear aligners.
Clear Braces vs. Traditional Braces vs. Clear Aligners
If you research your choices when it comes to straightening your teeth, you’ll likely come across the two dominant choices: traditional braces and clear aligners. Clear braces offer a third option that can be an ideal middle ground for some patients.
Our dental team is going to share the pros and cons of traditional braces, clear aligners, and clear braces to help you select the ideal orthodontic treatment method for you.
Traditional Metal Braces
Metal braces tend to be the option most people are familiar with when talking about braces. They are also typically the most visible when worn. Decades of advancements in orthodontic technology have meant wires and brackets have evolved to become smaller in size.
Traditional metal braces are often seen as a go-to option for people who need to resolve complex orthodontic issues when it comes to straightening their teeth and correcting bite issues. This effective braces option allows you to play them up with elastics in bright colours or to make them a bit less obvious by choosing tooth-coloured elastics.
Clear braces are a type of ceramic braces that help patients straighten their teeth in much the same way as 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 are designed to closely match 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.
Clear aligners, such as Invisalign, are removable orthodontic appliances that straighten your teeth just like braces do, only without the need for metal brackets and wires. Clear aligners are made from a form of transparent plastic, making them look nearly 'invisible' to the casual observer.
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.
You should also keep in mind that you can only drink water while wearing your clear aligners. 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 be an effective orthodontic treatment option for many people, it is not guaranteed that everyone is an acceptable candidate. If clear aligners aren't a suitable treatment option for you, clear braces may be your best option.
Caring for Clear & Metal Braces
Whether you choose metal braces or clear braces, excellent dental hygiene is very important throughout your treatment. Food and plaque can easily get caught in the wires and brackets making brushing and flossing thoroughly extra important to avoid cavities and gingivitis while undergoing orthodontic treatment.
Foods to 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 damaged.
Staining on Clear Braces
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.
Length of Treatment With 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 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.