There are different types of braces available for your orthodontic treatment based on your individual needs and style preferences. And, our dentists in Vancouver are here to explain the benefits of three of them including traditional braces, clear aligners and clear braces.
Clear Braces vs. Traditional Braces vs. Clear Aligners
When you start researching your teeth straightening options you will encounter two straightforward options: traditional braces and clear aligners. However, there is also a third compelling option and middle ground - clear braces.
In this blog, our dentists compare the pros and cons of traditional braces, clear aligners, and clear braces to help you make your choice between the three.
This option is the one most patients are familiar with when talking about braces. They are also generally the most visible when being worn, although, after decades of advancements in orthodontic technology the wires and brackets have evolved to become smaller in size.
Traditional metal braces are the go-to choice for people that need to resolve complex orthodontic problems when it comes to straightening their teeth, and you can play them up with your choice of colours or opt for tooth-coloured elastic bands.
Clear aligners, such as Invisalign, are removable orthodontic appliances that straighten your teeth just like braces do, however, they don't have metal and wires. Clear aligners are made from transparent plastic materials, which make them look nearly 'invisible' to the casual observer when being worn.
Because you can remove clear aligners, you can continue eating all the foods you love as there are no dietary restrictions - unlike with braces, where you have to watch which foods you eat. Because braces are fixed and not removable, you have to avoid crunchy or sticky foods like popcorn, hard fruits and vegetables, gum and snacks that can get caught in your braces.
Another thing to keep in mind with clear aligners is that you can only drink water when you are wearing them. Otherwise, you need to take them out every time you drink or eat. You also need to brush and floss before putting them back on your teeth to avoid bacteria and food particles getting stuck between your teeth and clear aligners. While clear aligners can soak in cleaning solutions or be rinsed in warm water, braces will need to be brushed and flossed routinely.
Not everybody is a candidate for clear aligners, however, for those people that aren't, clear braces can be a good compromise.
Clear braces are a type of ceramic braces that help patients straighten their teeth like traditional metal braces. They are less noticeable than the traditional metal ones that have been in use for decades, however, they still use wires and brackets to gradually move teeth into their fixed positions.
The ceramic brackets closely match 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 to care for clear and metal braces
Whether you choose metal braces or clear braces, it’s important to keep up excellent dental hygiene during your orthodontic treatment. Since food and plaque can easily get caught in the wires and brackets, brushing and flossing is even more essential to avoid cavities and gingivitis.
Foods to avoid
With both clear braces and the traditional metal ones, you should avoid eating often delicious but sticky foods including most candy, popcorn, caramel, and apples, all of which can lead to the metal getting displaced or damage.
Do clear braces stain?
If you choose clear braces, you’ll want to be careful with which foods and drink you consume, because the brackets on clear braces can have a higher risk of becoming stained than metal braces. Avoid dark-coloured foods and drinks such as cola and blueberries.
How much do they cost?
As we mentioned above, clear braces can 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 cost of braces. Of course, this all is based on the nature and extent of your orthodontic issue.
How long do 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.
Both metal braces and clear braces are comparable when it comes to the duration of your treatment time. Patients usually wear them anywhere from 1 to 3 years, based on the nature of their dental condition.