What Are “Clear Braces?”
“Clear braces” is not a recognized dental term, although many people use it. Usually, when someone says “clear braces,” they mean one of two products: Either ceramic braces or Invisalign teeth aligners.
Ceramic braces are much like traditional metal braces, except that they have clear plastic brackets and wires. (Some ceramic braces can also come in a tooth-colored variety – though not technically clear, they can be made to blend in with your natural tooth color.)
Ceramic braces have the advantage that they are less noticeable than metal braces. They are also less likely than metal braces to irritate a sensitive mouth. That said, they can chip, crack, or stain if not maintained properly. (See our post on ceramic braces vs. traditional metal braces.)
The Invisalign teeth straightening system is a different product altogether. With Invisalign, a series of clear plastic aligner trays is made. Each tray aligns your teeth a little more, bit by bit until your teeth reach their final positions in your mouth. Unlike clear or metal braces, Invisalign trays are easily removable, making it easier to eat, talk, etc.
Invisalign can be quicker than traditional braces and is certainly less noticeable. However, they are not appropriate for all types of orthodontic work. They also tend to be more expensive than traditional braces. (See our post on braces vs. Invisalign.)
Traditional Metal Braces
Traditional braces consist of metal brackets that are glued to your teeth using a special dental cement, then tied together by wires and (possibly) tiny rubber bands. They are what most people picture when they hear the word “braces.”
Traditional braces are good at correcting a whole host of alignment issues. New technologies, like heat-activated wires, can move your teeth more quickly and less painfully.
The downside of metal braces is that they tend to be noticeable, especially when you smile, laugh, or talk. They tend to make people (especially teenagers) feel very self-conscious; those feelings can be even greater if you have an important event coming up, like a job interview or a wedding.
Fortunately, today’s metal braces are smaller than those of years past, which means they tend to be less noticeable and more comfortable. Some people even embrace their new hardware, choosing cool colors for their bands.
Braces Can Come In A Variety of Colors Too
Clear Braces vs. Metal Braces: Who Won?
If you read through this and still couldn’t decide who won the fight between clear braces vs. metal braces, fortunately, you do not need to decide to get ceramic or metal braces, or Invisalign, before you see an orthodontist. In fact, it is highly recommended that you speak with an orthodontist first to assess your needs and determine which kinds of braces would be best for you or your child.
If you are still in the preliminary research stage, here are some recommended articles to help you decide:
- What’s the Perfect Age for Braces? A Guide to Know When It’s Time
- How Much Do Braces Cost and Are They Worth the Investment?
- Do Braces Hurt When You First Get Them?
- Types of Braces
- How to Properly Clean and Maintain Braces
Want to Dig Into Braces Vs Invisalign?
Download this free ebook as it offers side by side comparisons and much more!