- Published Date: 23 May 2020
- Updated Date: 23 Mar 2021
- Reading Time: 14 min
Across Canada, around 4 million people are undergoing orthodontic care in the hopes of getting straight teeth and a stunning and gorgeous smile. Braces have been a trusted method of doing this for a long time. As the orthodontic technology becomes more sophisticated, the style and design of braces have morphed from the awkward contraptions of the past into something that you would hardly notice if you don’t know it’s there.
Clear braces are part of these developments, and so too are invisible aligners. The discrete alternatives to the class brace style are becoming increasingly popular for both adults and teenagers alike. In this comprehensive post, we’ll cover all you need to know about clear braces, what they are, how much they cost, and how they compare to invisible aligners to help you understand which option is best for you.
What Are Clear Braces?
Clear braces are a type of braces made from too coloured ceramic. They share many similarities with the traditional metal bracket braces that you likely imagine when thinking about braces. However, the brackets are ‘clear’ and blend in against the backdrop of the tooth. Sometimes, you can get clear wires, as well, which makes them even more discreet.
Like regular braces, they act as teeth straightening measures to fix misaligned teeth. However, unlike regular braces, the discreet design makes them a more appealing option for people, whether teenagers or adults, who feel self-conscious about the need to wear braces.
Clear Braces vs Invisible Aligners
While clear braces are a standard treatment for people who require tooth straightening, they are not the only treatment available, however. Invisible aligners are another popular alternative that boasts even greater discretion, making it almost impossible to recognize even when close up
Both options do a sufficient job of realigning teeth, but they do have plenty of differences. These can include the way they work, the price, how they look, and what they are like to wear.
Throughout this post, we will cover the differences between clear braces and invisible aligners to provide a thorough overview of each.
Clear vs Metal
Metal braces are another option, but they are one that is becoming increasingly unpopular. This is because metal braces are too visible. They stand out too prominently against the teeth, and for people who are ashamed about wearing braces – even though they should not be! – this can make them feel self-conscious.
Metal braces will take around 18 – 24 months to realign the teeth, although some brands with improved technology can accelerate this process.
As a traditional treatment, the process has stayed very much the same throughout the years, only with better quality materials and more sophisticated designs. To keep the alignment consistent, the orthodontist will tighten the wires during every checkup to keep the teeth in place. This, however, can be uncomfortable for a couple of days.
However, more advanced treatments, especially those you can find in clear braces that use self-ligating systems, tighten the wires automatically and adjust themselves throughout the treatment. While they can also be uncomfortable at first, wearers soon get used to them, and due to the mostly-transparent design, they are not as evident as metal braces. Even so, wearers still need to take good care of them to ensure the results they need.
Who Can Wear Braces?
Your teenage years are commonly the most effective time of your life to seek teeth straightening treatment. This is because your jaw and teeth are still developing, so it’s best to catch misaligned teeth as early as possible. However, just because it is most common for teens to wear braces as they grow, this does not mean that adults can’t also take advantage of the benefits.
Adult braces are becoming increasingly popular, especially considering that such treatments are becoming more affordable and the treatment methods more sophisticated. Through this, many adults have found great success by investing in braces. By doing so, they have experienced increased self-confidence, a lack of self-consciousness, and felt happier.
Even though clear and metal braces are still common, both adults and teenagers should consider invisible aligners. These can provide the same benefits as traditional brace styles, but they are also more discreet, hence the name. They are so discreet that you may not even realize the person you are talking to is wearing braces!
While anybody can wear braces if they require it, some issues could hinder and determine which type of braces you use. If you have a severe case of misalignment, you may not be able to take advantage of the discrete style of invisible aligners. However, these are still suitable for 90% of misalignment cases, so it is always worth consulting with your orthodontist about your options.
Likewise, at-home aligners can only help to treat mild to moderate cases, although the low cost still makes them an attractive option.
As it is true that anybody can wear braces should they need them, the braces you need will come down to the severity of your case, your budget, and your preference. Speak to your orthodontist to get a thorough idea of which is the best avenue for you to take.
How Do Invisible Aligners Work?
We’ve already taken time to discuss how metals and clear ceramic braces work, so it’s also worth explaining how invisible aligners can positively impact you should you decide to invest in them.
The invisible aligner is a revolutionary treatment for aligning teeth, and it works nothing like how you know traditional braces can help you. Rather than work with brackets and wires, invisible aligners use a clear brace mould, also referred to as trays, which fits over the teeth securely.
These trays are custom made for each patient & developed from dental scans, or even impressions to get the perfect fit. As the teeth gradually straighten, you need to replace your aligner every two weeks or so. Eventually, you will find that your teeth are correctly aligned, improving your appearance and boosting your confidence.
The treatment takes anywhere between 4 and 11 months, depending on how severe your misalignment was before starting. Despite this, if you are only looking for a minor correction, it can be as speedy as just 3 to 6 months.
Invisible aligners are popular as they can be removed, compared to the fixed style of traditional clear or metal braces. While this means they are easier to lose, it also means that you can take them out to eat, so there is no food and drink restrictions that you may find with other brace styles, and as they are clear, it is almost impossible for others to tell if you are wearing braces at all.
They do come with some essential care instructions, too. You should always clean your teeth after drinking anything but water, as bacteria can manifest on the teeth and increase the risk of other dental issues, including gum disease.
You will also require willpower to keep them in all day to see the results. As you do not have a choice with fixed braces, this could be a better option if you see yourself struggling to use them.
Alingerco has a wide range of invisible aligner options for you to explore and consider, so don’t hesitate to get in touch with us to learn more about what we offer and what we can do for you.
How to Choose a Clear Brace Brand For You
There is a broad range of transparent brace brands available to you. Still, you shouldn’t just follow the crowd or go with the best-recommended option without considering your needs first.
The clear brace brand you select will depend on what you need and want from the braces, as well as the severity of your misalignment. For serious cases, you may not be able to invest in the in-home options, and as such, you will need to work with clear braces that can provide an adequate level of support and treatment.
Furthermore, many orthodontists generally prefer to work with one or two specific brands, which could limit your options.
Even so, it is always worth sitting down with your orthodontist or dentist to get their expert opinion on which brand they think is best. This belief can come from the cost, performance, ease of use, and the technology used. As ever with professionals, it’s always beneficial to take what they say into consideration.
Cost is also something that could determine which braces you choose. While it’s always tempting to go for the best-rated options, you may not have the budget to afford these. If so, you’ll need to consider something more affordable. Despite this, it may be possible to spread the treatment payment across several months rather than pay all of it upfront.
If you cannot find a clear brace brand suitable for your needs, you can always explore other options that will provide something more in-line with your expectations. This can include invisible alignment braces, which boast all the quality of clear braces but also come with more discretion, being almost entirely unnoticeable to the untrained eye.
How Much Do Clear Braces Cost?
It’s always important to get an idea of the price when considering any service, and understanding how much braces cost is no different.
Typically, clear braces will cost more money compared to metal braces. This is because the materials and the technology used to develop them impact the overall price. Sometimes, patients who require teeth straightening will opt for a combination of metal and clear braces, with metal braces on the bottom set of teeth, where they are less visible and fit clear braces on the top set.
It is, however, difficult to determine how much all braces cost, as the prices can vary between brands, dentists, and even location and the length you will require the braces. Despite this, there are still ways to get an idea of how much your braces will cost.
Mild alignment problems can be solved through express services provided by invisible alignment braces brands.
The estimated cost of different brace styles is:
1. Fixed braces – $3800 to $8000 (USD)
2. Invisible aligner – $3500 to $8500 (USD)
3. At home removable aligner – $2400 (USD)
If you are struggling to pay for the treatment up front, you can discuss with your dentist about embarking on interest-free plans to make the payments more manageable and spread the treatment cost across a few months.
How to Care For Clear Braces
Caring for braces is a crucial part of ensuring that you can get the best results and align your teeth sufficiently. With clear braces, precautions must be taken when wearing them to prevent damage or degradation.
Your dentist will go over everything with you in detail, and they’ll also show you how you can clean your braces properly. As there are so many tight areas and angles in the bracket, this will demand more attention every day to ensure there are no bits of food left behind.
It’s best to clean your teeth and your braces immediately after eating. This, however, can be inconvenient, and if it is not possible, you should at least rinse your mouth thoroughly with water. You can also remove any food trapped between the teeth with an interdental cleaner or floss threader and use it below the braces’ archwire.
It’s also useful to know which foods you should avoid. This helps keep your braces, and indeed your teeth, in the best condition and will help speed up the alignment process.
Foods to avoid:
- Nuts, biscuits, ice, and other hard foods
- Candy, cereal bars, bagels, gum, and other chewy foods
- Apples, carrows (raw), chips, or crunchy food
- Pickles or fruit juices, these are considered acidic foods
You should also try to stop bad habits, such as nail-biting, as this has the potential to damage the fittings or wires. As the ceramic used for clear braces are not as durable as metal, it’s essential to follow the instructions your dentist provides to ensure a successful treatment.
Clear Braces Aftercare
You must also take good care of your teeth following the removal of your braces. People are, typically, excited to remove their braces after months, and maybe even years, or the inconvenience of wearing them. If you fail to care for your teeth correctly following the braces’ removal, you may find that all the money you spend will have gone to waste.
You can look after your teeth and retain that beaming smile you’ve always wanted by:
- Brushing two times a day, and flossing at least once a day
- Investing in and using an electric toothbrush
- Rinsing your mouth with a fluoride mouthwash
- Continuing to visit the dentist regularly
- Wearing your retainer, as advised by your dentist
- Cleaning your retainer every day
As plaque can also build up while wearing your braces, you may also want to undergo a thorough cleaning that removes this plaque or even stains, which has accumulated throughout the treatment. This will take further steps to make your teeth look as good as possible and prevent tooth decay and gum disease.
Wearing a Retainer
Tooth strengthening treatment is not solely about the braces or invisible aligners themselves. In some cases, you will need to wear a retainer during the night, and perhaps during the day when you first get the braces fitted. As the name of it suggests, a retainer helps to retain the teeth in their new position.
Even after wearing braces for years and realigning them, teeth can still revert to a crooked state. Retainers will prevent this from occurring and ensure that your teeth stay as straight and attractive as you want them to be.
You will encounter two types of retainers when experiencing alignment treatment. These are Permanent (or bonded) retainers and Removable retainers.
With Permanent retainers, you will have a thin and discrete wire attached out of sight behind the front teeth that stop them from shifting and moving out of position. Even though they are out of the way, you will need to clean them as regularly as you do your braces.
For removable retainers, there are a further two styles that you will have the option to use. These are wire retainers with attachments to the teeth and are secured to a plate, and clear retainers, which look like invisible aligners, but do not need to be replaced every two weeks.
These retainers are easier to clean and help you brush and clean your teeth like you would if you weren’t wearing braces. However, you must make sure not to lose them, as they are expensive when you need to replace them. Typically, removable retainers will last around five years, after which you should get them replaced regardless.
You can decide which retainer is best for you based on preference. However, your dentist will also better understand which style is right for you and recommend the best option.
The Pros and Cons
As with any service, there are pros and cons of using clear braces. If you are still unsure about which style of braces is the best option for you, this should help you understand exactly what you can expect from clear braces compared to invisible aligners.
Clear braces are less noticeable than metal braces
Metal braces contrast too obviously against the whiteness of the teeth, and if you are feeling self-conscious about wearing braces, you will want to keep them as discreet as possible. As clear braces are constructed using ceramic, they blend in with the teeth better, meaning that they are difficult to notice from afar.
Clear braces are fixed and therefore cannot be lost
If you consider yourself a forgetful person, the fixed nature of clear braces means you don’t need to worry about leaving them behind somewhere. As braces can be expensive regardless of which ones you choose, this will guarantee that you won’t need to purchase replacements, which would be good news for mom and dad if you’re a teenager, and excellent news for your bank account if you are thinking of adult braces.
Clear braces are durable
The ceramic construction of clear braces is durable, which means that there is less chance of being damaged, even if you forget you have braces and eat the wrong thing. Because of this durability, you won’t need to worry about spending money replacing or repairing parts. Once you get used to the braces, understanding what you can and cannot eat, you will be able to consume ‘allowed’ food and drink with the confidence that they will not break.
Clear braces can cost around the same as invisible aligners and at-home aligners
If the price is a big issue for you, then it’s worth remembering that some clear braces will cost around the same as invisible aligners and at-home aligners. This is excellent news for people on a budget, or are struggling to justify spending money on getting braces. It also means you don’t have to invest in something you don’t want, such as metal braces, as an alternative because you cannot afford other options.
Clear braces are not as discreet as invisible aligners
While clear braces are less noticeable than metal braces, they are still not as discreet as invisible aligners, the clue is in the name, after all. People may have trouble spotting clear braces from a distance, but they are more prominent when close up. Conversely, when wearing invisible aligners, there is a low chance that they will realize you are wearing braces. Even though it doesn’t matter if you wear braces, anyone who feels self-conscious about it may want to make them as unnoticeable as possible.
You need to avoid certain foods that could damage the clear braces
As the brackets and wires of your clear braces will be fixed to your teeth, there are certain foods that you must avoid to ensure that you do not accidentally damage them. These foods can range from crunchy to hard, to acidic. Aside from you needing to be careful when choosing meals, it is also inconvenient, and you may need to alter your existing diet, although this could work in your favour and help you to eat better.
Clear braces require more care
There are many nooks and crannies with clear braces, even if they appear invisible. The brackets and wires can trap and cling onto food, and this can become embedded within the bracket and even between the teeth or behind the wire. As you need to keep your teeth as clean as possible when wearing braces, this requires extra attention every morning and every evening. Rather than spent a quick 3 minutes cleaning your teeth, you may need to take as much as 10 minutes to ensure you remove everything. You will also need to floss regularly to remove leftover food bits and eliminate the risk of infections from old and mouldy food.
Clear braces can be uncomfortable at first
One of the critical issues that put people off wearing clear braces is that they can be uncomfortable. If you’ve never worn braces before, the extra space occupied in your mouth can feel strange, and it will take some time to get used to it. There will definitely be a learning curve, especially when licking your teeth to give them a quick clean, and this could cause you to catch your tongue on a bracket or wire. Furthermore, the regular tightening undertaken by your dentist will feel uncomfortable for a few days after the fact. Conversely, invisible aligners will not cause such discomfort, and for many people, it doesn’t feel like they are wearing braces.
As there are both pros and cons for investing in clear braces, it will often depend on your preferences and overall needs. Typically, teenagers and adults who want to straighten their teeth discreetly will opt for invisible aligners, especially if the misalignment is not too severe. The convenience factor, such as being able to remove them, even if there is a risk of losing them, will often outweigh the pros of clear braces, although it is still your decision at the end of the day.
If you are still unsure, you can speak to your dentist regarding the best way to go.
Any Other Questions?
Can You Get Clear Rubber Bands for Your Braces?
You can indeed get clear rubber bands for your braces rather than the standard blue elastics that some braces offer. This is especially useful if you are trying to maximize the subtlety of the fixings, and can make them even less noticeable. For clear transparent, and even invisible brackets, you can ask your dentist about including clear rubber bands.
These rubber bands help improve the fit of both upper and lower teeth. They assist in aligning your bite, which will also help with the adjustment of your teeth and prevent misalignment problems occurring again further down the line.
Can You Get Clear Metal Braces?
Unfortunately, you cannot get clear metal braces. However, while this may not be possible, you can still use clear braces on the upper teeth and metal braces on the lower teeth. Even though this isn’t exactly clear metal braces, it is a good-enough compromise between the two, as your lower teeth are not as noticeable, even up close. It could be that people may not even notice that you are wearing clear braces and, therefore, may also ignore the metal braces.
How Much Do Clear Braces Cost?
Clear braces and the likes of invisible aligners are in high demand because of the discrete and less-noticeable nature of the overall design. This, combined with the advanced materials and technology used to produce them, make both clear and invisible braces more expensive than traditional metal braces.
For clear braces, patients can expect to spend anywhere between $3800 and $8000 on braces, although this can vary depending on what you need and where you live. You may also need to pay more should the brackets or wires get damaged.
How Much Do Clear Aligner Braces Cost?
Clear aligner braces can cost around the same as clear braces; however, there are some quality brands and styles that can be cheaper, which is ideal for people looking for discreet teeth straightening without breaking the bank.
These aligners can start at $2500 but could become as expensive as $8000, again depending on what you need. Despite this, AlingerCo offers a range of plans that start at as little CAD $1535, which is something for people requiring braces to consider. For a clearer idea of cost and what you need to do, get in touch to discuss your options.
Setting Things Straight
With such a wide range of braces brands available, it can be difficult to determine which option is the best one for you. However, if you are looking for effective teeth straightening treatment that is as discreet as possible while still delivering the results that you desire, invisible aligners are a guaranteed way to improve your confidence and feel happier, even during the treatment itself.
While clear braces can be useful, they also come with some drawbacks that mean you may need to adapt your lifestyle to get the most from them. With invisible aligners, you can continue to live your life as you usually did while enjoying all the benefits that high-quality trays can provide. If you are looking for discretion, comfort, and freedom, then invisible aligners are the best avenue to take
If you want to learn more about how invisible aligners can help you, AlingerCo can provide a wealth of support and information, and help you find the best type of aligners to suit you. Don’t hesitate to get in touch and contact us to learn more.