If you have been searching the internet for comfortable, convenient, and inconspicuous orthodontic treatment options, you might have come across different terms like clear braces, invisible braces, or clear aligners. So naturally, it can be pretty challenging to decide which of these options best suits your needs. But, no need to worry! This article will help you understand what clear braces are and how they differ from clear aligners. But, more importantly, the information given in this article will help you decide which of these options best suits your needs. 

What Are Clear Braces? 

  • How do They Differ from Metal Braces?

Clear braces are similar in shape and design to traditional metal braces. However, the primary difference between clear and traditional braces is that clear braces are virtually invisible. This is because the brackets are made from tooth-colored or transparent materials. At the same time, the orthodontic wires are also coated with a tooth-colored material so that they blend in with your teeth – and don’t affect your smile and facial esthetics. The orthodontic wires in clear braces can be attached to the brackets using clear elastic ties, or you can use a color of choice to go with the braces. 

Clear braces should be differentiated from clear aligners. Unlike clear braces that remain fixed to the teeth, clear aligners are removable appliances – like trays – worn over the teeth. These appliances are termed “clear aligners” because they are made from a thermoplastic, transparent polymer. Clear aligners do not contain wires or elastic bands, unlike braces. However, your dentist may use tooth-colored attachments with clear aligners as anchors to perform complicated tooth movements like rotation. 

  1. What are Different Types of Clear Braces?

Fixed clear braces further come in two types; one using the conventional orthodontic wires and the self-ligating braces. The main difference between the traditional fixed clear and self-ligating clear braces is that the clear braces do not need any elastic ties. Instead, the self-ligating brackets contain special clips that attach the orthodontic wire to the brackets. Advantages of self-ligating clear braces like Damon braces include greater freedom to move and realign teeth and fewer adjustment or orthodontic checkup visits needs. Besides, self-ligating braces also lessen the treatment time considerably compared with conventional clear braces. Another advantage of the self-ligating brackets is that they cause lesser discomfort and inconvenience than traditional clear braces.   

Clear Braces Vs. Invisalign?

Although clear braces are Invisalign aligners, both perform the same function – to realign the teeth – they differ considerably from each other in various aspects. 

  • Mode of Action – clear braces are bonded to the teeth using adhesive. Each clear bracket has a slot through which the orthodontic wire passes and connects all the teeth. The tension generated by the type and thickness of the wire forces the teeth to move and realign themselves. That is why your dentist will change your wires at each appointment to continue moving your teeth into optimal alignment. 

On the other hand, removable aligners work entirely differently. Your dentist will design a set of removable aligner trays for you – one tray for each jaw. You will be asked to wear each aligner set for about 2 weeks and at least 22 hours each day. After 2 weeks, you should switch to the next set of numbered aligners, and your teeth will continue to move into alignment. 

  • Esthetics – Clear braces are made from either tooth-colored or transparent materials. As a result, they are inconspicuous. Similarly, clear aligners are made from transparent polymers as well. Hence, both clear braces and aligners are virtually invisible when worn and don’t affect one’s smile or personality. 
  • Dietary Limitations – dentists ask braces wearers to avoid hard and sticky foods as they may cause the braces to get dislodged. On the other hand, there is no dietary restriction with Invisalign, as you can simply remove them while eating. 
  • Oral Hygiene Maintenance – like traditional braces, oral hygiene is challenging with clear braces. This is because it is difficult to remove food debris from the teeth and the interdental regions due to the hindrance caused by the brackets and the wires. Conversely, it is very easy to maintain oral hygiene with Invisalign, as you can remove them while brushing or flossing. 
  • Comfort – clear braces tend to cause slight pain and discomfort. Besides, some people also injure their cheeks from the sharp edges of the brackets. The Invisalign aligners are designed to provide maximum comfort and convenience. Therefore, when it comes to comfort and convenience, Invisalign is a better choice compared to clear braces. 

Ceramic Braces – The Pros and Cons

Ceramic braces are clear braces made from tooth-colored ceramics. Nowadays, many people prefer ceramic braces over traditional ones for teeth straightening. If you’re have thinking about getting ceramic braces but could not make a decision, an overview of the pros and cons of ceramic braces will help you make the decision. 

  • Pros of Ceramic Braces
  • Inconspicuousness – ceramic braces are much less noticeable than traditional braces. These braces blend in with your teeth and are barely visible when wearing them. 
  • Faster Treatment Than Aligners – ceramic braces require lesser time to complete treatment than Invisalign removable aligners. On average, ceramic braces need around 6-8 months to fix mild orthodontic issues like spacing and mild crowding. 
  • Chose Color of Your Elastic Ties – if you like to spice things up, you can choose different-colored elastic ties to go with the braces – or you can simply select transparent ties and make your braces invisible!
  • Don’t Interfere with X-rays – a significant drawback of metal braces is that they interfere with x-ray imaging. On the other hand, ceramic braces allow your dentist to take x-ray images without interference. 
  • Cons of Ceramic Braces 
  • More Expensive than Metal Braces – ceramic braces cost more than traditional metal braces. Ceramic braces can cost anywhere between $1,000 to 2,000. 
  • Staining Issues – ceramic braces tend to get stained easily. That is why dentists advise against eating strong-colored foods when wearing ceramic braces. 
  • Less Durable Than Metal Braces – research has shown that ceramic braces are twice as likely to get dislodged than metal braces. 
  • Slower Than Metal Braces – the speed of tooth movement of ceramic braces is lesser than metal braces. 
  • Not Suitable For Patients with Bruxism – ceramic braces are not suitable for individuals who have a habit of grinding their teeth. This is because ceramic is very hard, and it can cause excessive wear of the opposing teeth when there is excessive tooth grinding.

Both ceramic braces and Invisalign aligners are esthetically pleasing options for fixing tooth alignment problems. If you’re thinking of getting clear braces or aligners for your treatment, consult your dentist; they will suggest a suitable option for you after a thorough clinical examination.