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 Grande Prairie 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.
Today, we will compare traditional braces, clear aligners, and clear braces to help you choose between the three options. Each has advantages and disadvantages, and your dentist can help you decide the best course of action.
This is the option with which most people are familiar when discussing braces. Wires and brackets are typically the most noticeable when worn; however, advancements in orthodontic technology over the past several decades have caused them to shrink.
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 consideration when wearing clear aligners is that you should only consume water. If not, remove them each time you eat or drink. Brush and floss your teeth before reinserting the clear aligners to prevent bacteria and food particles from adhering to them. While clear aligners can be cleaned by soaking in cleaning solutions or rinsing with warm water, braces must be brushed and flossed daily.
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 straighten teeth similarly to conventional metal braces. Wires and brackets are still used to gradually move teeth into their new positions, although they are less noticeable than the traditional metal braces 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?
Whether you opt for metal or clear braces, it is essential to maintain excellent oral hygiene during orthodontic treatment. Due to the ease with which food and plaque can become lodged in the wires and brackets, brushing and flossing become even more crucial for preventing cavities and gingivitis.
Which foods should I avoid?
With both clear and traditional metal braces, you should avoid eating foods that are often tasty but sticky, such as candies, popcorn, caramel, and apples, as they can damage or dislodge the metal.
Do clear braces stain?
If you opt for clear braces, you will need to be mindful of the foods and beverages you consume, as the brackets on clear braces are more susceptible to staining than those on metal braces. Avoid dark foods and beverages, such as cola and blueberries.
What about cost?
As stated previously, clear braces may be an excellent alternative for patients who are not candidates for clear aligners. Ceramic braces fall between traditional metal braces and clear aligners in terms of cost. Metal braces are the least expensive option, while clear aligners cost slightly more than average. Obviously, this depends on the nature and severity of your orthodontic condition.
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.
The duration of your orthodontic treatment is comparable for both metal and clear braces. Patients wear them for an average of one to three years, depending on the severity of their dental issues.