The Differences Between Traditional Dental Braces And Clear Aligners

May 11, 2022

The Differences Between Traditional Dental Braces And Clear Aligners
Clear aligners - another term for invisible orthodontic appliance which straightens your teeth

For many people, a smile is an important facial feature that says a lot about their appearance. The first thing toward achieving a beautiful and confident smile is to check the alignment of their teeth.


If the teeth are not properly aligned, you’ll need to seek professional dental care to help you bring your teeth in their proper position. You may visit Alta Smiles or your local dentist for more information regarding teeth alignment and other possible problems.

Having your teeth repositioned and straightened is one of life’s major decisions, but its rewards may last for eternity. You’ll have fewer dental problems, such as tooth decay, and be more confident to smile, knowing that your teeth are in their proper places.

Also, you have to decide regarding the procedure for aligning your teeth. In most cases, you’ll be asked to choose between two common dental treatments: clear aligners or traditional dental braces. But the question is, what’s the difference between these two?

The following details below may help you decide and differentiate their best characteristics from one another.

1. Basic Materials

The materials used to make traditional braces and clear aligners are the most noticeable difference.
As you all know, traditional braces are primarily made up of high-grade stainless steel that won’t rust when applied for several months or a couple of years. Today, different types of braces have emerged in the market, including ceramic, porcelain, and self-aligning. However, these all cost more than traditional metal braces.

On the other hand, clear aligners (commonly known as Invisalign) are orthodontic devices that can be used to align your teeth. Unlike traditional metal braces, they are made up of transparent, self-aligning, and flexible plastic material that gradually pushes the teeth in their proper places.

2. Cost

Traditional dental braces are generally less expensive than clear aligners when it comes to the prices. Its price usually starts at USD$2,500 and may cost as high as USD$8,000, depending on the severity of misalignment and other factors. These include the dentist’s expertise, how long you’d need to wear one, and where you live.

On the other hand, the cost of clear aligners depends on the number of trays your dentist will require based on the severity of your dental condition. Generally, its price starts at USD$4,000 and may go as high as USD$8,000, a bit higher than traditional braces.

Of course, your dentist will disclose the prices for both before you make your decision. In addition, you may communicate with your insurance provider to check if your policy is inclusive of dental coverage.

3. Appearance

Another main difference  between traditional braces and clear aligners is their appearance.
When it comes to appearance, clear aligners will surely win. Unlike metal braces, they’re almost invisible to the normal range of sight until you see them in close proximity. In addition, they’re not bulky compared to braces that bulge out on your gums, especially during the first months of wearing them.

Clear aligners may be the best option if you prefer your teeth to be aligned discreetly.

4. Comfortability

Getting your teeth realigned is usually an uncomfortable experience. And it doesn’t matter whether you’re using clear aligners or traditional dental braces because both will surely give you a painful experience when they start to shift your teeth.

However, clear aligners are highly likely to be more comfortable than dental braces as they apply less pressure to your teeth. In addition, metal braces occasionally have sharp edges that may cause mouth sores and cut through your tongue and gums, especially during the first months.
In addition, traditional braces may not be ideal for children who are used to playing sports and intense physical activities due to potential risks of incidental issues.
Furthermore, the pain is usually present only in the first months of application. People may get used to it as time passes, and the pain will subside.

5. Effectiveness

When it comes to effectiveness, both traditional braces and clear aligners are effective in helping your teeth achieve proper alignment. However, one may be more effective than the other.
Traditional braces will require you to wear them 24/7 as long as your dentist is concerned. Because of this feature, braces will ensure that your teeth will not revert to their original position.

On the other hand, clear aligners may function like a denture. They can be removed anytime you want, but this is where the disadvantage of using them starts. Because of this, you may forget where you place them or not comply with them. If this continues, your teeth will likely revert from their original position, prolonging the intended usage period.

Moreover, metal braces are more effective in realigning severe misalignment, such as overlapping and rotated teeth, than clear aligners.

6. Level Of Convenience

When it comes to convenience, clear aligners may be the best option. They can be removed anytime you want, letting you eat any food you crave, especially when eating hot foods. Since they’re made of plastic, eating hot dishes may cause them to warp and ruin their intended shape.
Traditional metal braces  are rather irremovable. Because of this, there are foods you’d need to avoid, particularly hard, crumbly, and sticky foods, which can get stuck in between your braces. It isn’t very pleasant since there are many instances when you can’t eat your favorite snacks and dishes.

7. Cleaning And Caring

You should prioritize cleaning your teeth, whether you’re using clear aligners or traditional braces, to prevent cavities and plaque from building up. Usually, it’s easier to clean braces since all you need is floss and a brush. However, you might need to purchase a small brush to remove food particles that may get stuck in your braces.

When it comes to cleaning clear aligners, the process is relatively the same, but with additional cleaning effort. You have to clean the trays each time you eat, and you may use a special brush and warm water to ensure their cleanliness.

Final Words

Traditional dental braces and clear aligners have the same purpose of correcting the alignment of your teeth. However, because of their nature, there are many differences you have to consider before you decide which one to use. These include differences in pricing, appearance, comfortability, effectiveness, convenience, and cleaning effort.

Above all else, set an appointment with your dentist to help you decide which one is best suited for your needs. If you plan on choosing clear aligners, you’ll be evaluated first to determine if you’re a good candidate.


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