Did you know that depending on your needs and style preferences, there are different types of braces out there that could work for you? Today, our Sault Ste. Marie dentists compare traditional braces, clear braces and clear aligners.
Clear Braces vs. Traditional Braces vs. Clear Aligners
Start to research options for straightening your teeth and you’ll probably come across two stark choices: traditional braces and clear aligners. But clear braces also present a compelling third option and a middle ground.
To help you choose between the three, we'll compare traditional braces, clear aligners, and clear braces today. 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; however, decades of advancements in orthodontic technology have resulted in wires and brackets becoming smaller in size.
Traditional metal braces are the go-to option for people who need to resolve complex orthodontic issues when it comes to straightening their teeth, and you can choose to play them up with colours or choose tooth-coloured elastic bands.
Clear aligners, such as Invisalign, are removable orthodontic appliances that straighten your teeth just like braces do, only without the metal and wires. Clear aligners are made of transparent plastic material, making them look nearly 'invisible' to the casual observer when worn.
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.
Another thing to remember about 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 clear aligners to prevent bacteria and food particles from becoming stuck between your teeth and the clear aligners. While clear aligners can be soaked in cleaning solutions or rinsed in warm water, braces must be brushed and flossed on a regular basis.
Not everybody is a candidate for 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.
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 damaged.
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 braces cost. 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 be an advantage if you’re not sure whether you have the self-discipline needed for removable 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.