Are you among those who want to straighten your teeth? But at the same time, you might be concerned that traditional metal braces will adversely affect your appearance. Clear braces and Invisalign are both excellent choices. Clear braces, also known as ceramic braces. However, there are distinct differences between the two. Invisalign braces are not the same thing as clear braces. Both of them use a different method to straighten teeth. You need to know the pros and cons of both.

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Both these options are much less noticeable and visible than traditional braces. However, they offer a fantastic aesthetic alternative for people seeking less visible options. Most people generally choose a more different type of braces as it makes them feel more confident about their orthodontic treatment. It is all the more needed when people focus on your smiles rather than your braces.

What are Clear Braces?

Clear braces are orthodontic tools used to straighten your teeth and fix bite problems. Clear braces straighten your teeth in the same way that traditional metal braces do. They usually consist of tooth-colored or clear ceramic brackets attached to the surface of your teeth. They have similar colored wires and rubber bands, which provide more discretion.

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Since the amount of time required to fix the problems with your teeth using either clear braces or metal braces is the same, the only difference between the two orthodontic devices is the fact that one is metal and the other is ceramic.

The difference between the two is that clear braces are clear and much less noticeable. With metal braces, a bracket is applied to each tooth. An elastic ligature, typically a small rubber band, is placed around each bracket. A metal wire connects all of these metal brackets together. The function of the elastic is used to hold the archwire in place on each bracket. 

Every time you visit your dentist, the cross wire is tightened or adjusted. This adjustment will gently pressure the brackets and slowly move your teeth into the intended position.

With clear dental braces, you can treat even the most challenging cases. These could be severe overbites, underbites, and even crossbites that can be treated with high-quality results.

How are Clear Braces Different from Metal Braces?

The process for tooth adjustment in the case of clear braces is the same as metal braces. The exception being the material used is different. In the case of clear braces, the brackets are made out of porcelain and are tinted to match your tooth color.

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Elastics are also clear so that they are barely noticeable. The archwire can also be white in order to make the braces unnoticeable. Your porcelain brackets can stain slightly over time. However, they are generally designed to be as non-porous as possible. The elastics can turn yellow, but your dentist will switch out with new ones at every visit.

People who have worn both clear braces and metal ones complain that these are less painful on your gums and cheeks, unlike metal ones that are harsh on your gums and cheeks. One thing that makes people avoid getting braces – is that they are visible and can be embarrassing, especially for adults. On the other hand, the brackets used for ceramic braces are often color-matched to your natural teeth. This makes them difficult to notice from a distance.

What are Invisalign Braces?

Invisalign is also a method of straightening your teeth. But that is completely different from traditional braces. Invisalign treatment consists of using clear, plastic aligners that fit perfectly over your teeth. They are worn over your teeth. And these aligners are changed out every few weeks. 

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Each new set of the aligner is designed to move your teeth slightly towards the correct position. Invisalign looks very similar to your mouthguard, except that this aligner is molded precisely to your teeth. Invisalign braces are very easy to use and are removable. But it would be best if you took them out for eating, drinking, and dental hygiene.

Your dentist will initially make a digital model of your teeth is made. Today’s advanced technologies make it possible for dentists to create an exact digital replica of your teeth. This technology allows your teeth to be perfectly aligned, which you can notice once you start with the treatment. Before providing all of the aligners, your dentist will tweak each aligner to provide the exact movement sequences.

Your dentist will create each aligner as per the specifications. Once they are manufactured, they are sent to your dentist’s office, custom-made specifically for you, and ready to use.

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Before you start wearing your aligners, there is some minor prep work that needs to be done. Your dentist will bond a series of ‘attachments’ also called ‘bumps’ onto some of your teeth. This is done so that the aligners have something to grip. These bumps are prepared out of a composite material that closely matches your teeth’ color. 

Pros and Cons for Clear Braces vs. Invisalign

Pros

1) Your clear braces are permanently attached to your teeth until the end of your treatment plan. However, Invisalign braces are removed while eating or drinking. This means that you have to maintain the discipline to keep your aligners in at least 22 hours a day. Meaning if you are not committed to wearing the aligners or Invisalign for the allotted time each day, your treatment duration will automatically be much longer. 

At times your aligners may have to be ‘refitted’, which could add additional costs to your treatment plan. As a result, most teens do better with clear braces. Probably because they do not have to remember every time to put them back in their mouth.

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2) With clear braces, there are very few chances of throwing them away or them getting misplaced. This is because you will never remove your braces.  

Because you will be removing Invisalign while eating or drinking, it can be very easy to throw your aligner away or get discarded accidentally. Hence your dentist will recommend always placing your Invisalign tray in its designated container to avoid such mishaps.

3) Every time you take them out, your aligners should be cleaned thoroughly. Make sure to always wash them before reinserting to clean teeth. There is such headache involved with clear braces.

4) Invisalign braces cannot be used to correct some severe or complex cases. But with clear braces, you can do so. 

Long Term Benefits of Clear Braces

1) Clear brace is a little more expensive than metal braces, but they are still a cost-effective method of fixing crooked teeth compared to alternatives like Invisalign braces. Invisalign braces are typically more expensive than clear braces. They not only cost more but take longer to achieve the desired effect.

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2) Clear braces generally do not have any restrictions. But with Invisalign, you have the luxury of no food restrictions. 

On the other hand, you have to be extra careful with Invisalign and not drink any liquids other than water while wearing your aligners. Otherwise, acids and sugars from drinks can seep under your aligners – creating a breeding ground for growing bacteria.  

Cons

1) Because you would often remove your Invisalign aligners to clean your teeth, dental hygiene is easier compared to clear braces. With clear braces, you must be careful about brushing your teeth and around the braces in order to prevent decay and plaque from occurring in small, hidden places. Your dentist will show you how to brush and floss your teeth with your clear braces so that you do not develop new cavities.

2) Clear braces, like their metal counterparts, will have some food restrictions associated with them. Your doctor will advise you to avoid biting directly into hard or sticky foods. Popcorn is a definite no-no, along with some other types of food that could potentially damage or break your braces. However, you can eat any kind of food with Invisalign braces since you remove them before eating.

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3) Invisalign aligners are generally less irritating to the mouth’s inside and have a more manageable adjustment period. But this is not the case with clear braces. 

4) For your clear braces, you would require more visits than Invisalign. Your orthodontist or dentist will need to see you in person for regular adjustments. But with Invisalign, because you are given all of your trays at the beginning of treatment, you do not have to visit the clinic often. You only need to switch out your trays at the designated time. However, you might still be required to come in for periodic visits so that your dentist can check your progress.

Conclusion

Clear braces are very effective and offer discretion when getting your teeth straightened. If you truly need braces, talk to your dentist to find out if clear braces are the right option for you. Also, feel to discuss with your dentist any questions you have about braces or any other dental procedure.