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

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 Kelowna 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 assist you in selecting between the three options, we will compare clear aligners, traditional braces, and traditional braces today. Each has advantages and disadvantages, and your dentist can help you choose what to do next.

Traditional Braces

When discussing braces, these are typically the options that most people are familiar with. When worn, they are also frequently the most noticeable; however, thanks to decades of advancements in orthodontic technology, wires and brackets have shrunk 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

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 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 only drink water while wearing clear aligners, which is another thing to keep in mind. Otherwise, take them out before each meal and beverage. To avoid food and bacteria getting stuck between your teeth and the clear aligners, brush and floss before replacing them in your mouth. While braces must be regularly brushed and flossed, clear aligners can soak in cleaning agents or be rinsed in warm water.

Not everybody is a candidate for clear aligners, however, and for those who are not, clear braces can be a good compromise.

Clear Braces

Similar to traditional metal braces, clear braces are a type of ceramic appliance that helps patients straighten their teeth. They still use wires and brackets to gradually move teeth into their new positions, but they are less obvious than the conventional metal that has been used for decades.

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?

While receiving orthodontic treatment, it's crucial to practice excellent dental hygiene, whether you decide to get metal braces or clear braces. Brushing and flossing become even more crucial to prevent cavities and gingivitis because food and plaque can easily get caught in the wires and brackets.

Which foods should I avoid?

You should refrain from eating frequently delicious but sticky foods like most candy, popcorn, caramel, and apples while wearing clear braces as well as more conventional metal ones as doing so could cause the metal to shift or break.

Do clear braces stain?

You should be cautious about the foods and beverages you consume if you choose clear braces because they can stain more easily than metal braces. Avoid cola and blueberries, as well as other items with a dark colour.

What about the cost?

For patients who are not candidates for clear aligners, clear braces may be a fantastic alternative, as we mentioned above. In terms of cost, ceramic braces fall in the middle of clear aligners and conventional metal braces. The least expensive option is metal braces, while the average price of clear aligners is slightly higher. Naturally, everything depends on the type and severity of your orthodontic issue.

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.

When it comes to the length of your treatment, metal braces and clear braces are on par. Depending on the nature of their dental problems, patients typically wear them for anywhere between one and three years.

Would you like more information about braces and how they can help straighten your smile? Contact the dentists at Landmark Dental Centre to book an appointment.

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