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Braces vs. Clear Braces vs. Clear Aligners: Which is the Right Choice for Me?

Were you aware that depending on your needs and style preferences, different types of braces may work for you? In this post, our Port Moody dentists compare traditional braces, clear braces and clear aligners.

Clear Braces vs. Traditional Braces vs. Clear Aligners

When you begin your search for options for straightening your teeth, you'll likely come across two stark choices: traditional braces and clear aligners. However, clear braces present a third option, and a middle ground. 

Here, we'll compare traditional braces, clear aligners and clear braces to try and help you decide between the three. Each have their pros and cons, and your dentist can help you decide next steps. 

Traditional Braces

Most people are familiar with traditional braces, which are also typically the most visible when worn. That said, decades of advancements in orthodontic technology have meant brackets and wires have evolved to become smaller in size. 

People who need to resolve complex orthodontic issues usually opt for traditional metal braces to help straighten their teeth. You can decide to play them up with colours or choose tooth-coloured elastic bands. 

Clear Aligners

While Invisalign clear aligners straighten your teeth just as braces do, they don't have wires or metal. Instead, these removable orthodontic appliances consist of a transparent plastic material, making them appear nearly 'invisible' to the casual observer when worn. 

Since clear aligners can be removed, you'll be able to eat all your favourite foods since there will be no dietary requirements - unlike with braces, which require you to avoid certain foods. Since braces are fixed and not removable, you'll need to refrain from eating sticky or crunchy foods such as hard fruits and vegetables and popcorn, snacks and gum that can get stuck in your braces. 

Also remember that with clear aligners, you'll need to drink only water with them in. Otherwise, take them out every time you need to eat or drink. Brush and floss before putting them back in your mouth to avoid bacteria and food particles getting stuck between your teeth and your clear aligners. While braces will need to be brushed and flossed regularly, clear aligners should not be brushed with regular toothpaste. Soak them in cleaning solutions or rinse them with warm water. 

While not everyone is a candidate for clear aligners, clear braces can be a good compromise for those who must have braces. 

Clear Braces

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.

Looking for more information about braces and how they can help straighten your smile? Contact the dentists at Westport Dental to book an appointment.

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