Clear Aligners vs Transparent Braces: Pros and Cons
Written by Saba Dastgir | Medically Reviewed by Dr. Zein El Hammouz, DDS, MFD/RCSI.
|Table of Contents|
|2. Transparent Braces|
|3. Pros and Cons of Clear Aligners vs Transparent Braces|
No one likes a crooked smile! But it can be challenging to get clear, reliable facts about the best choice for straightening your teeth. That's why we've compiled this article to tell you everything you need to know the most common teeth straightening: clear aligners vs transparent braces.
Clear braces and Aligners are both popular choices for treating crooked, crowded, or unevenly spaced teeth (1,2) They have the essential advantage of being discreet and virtually invisible compared to other options.
Read on to analyze each procedure's pros and cons before deciding which is best suited for you.
What Are Clear Aligners and How Are They Different From Transparent Braces?
Clear aligners are a discreet and removable replacement for metal or composite braces. They employ a constant but gentle force to regulate teeth movements without the need to use metal wires or brackets (1).
People often inquire, “can I get clear aligners instead of braces?” The answer to this question is 'YES.' Before and after results of clear aligners are highly promising. Once you begin the treatment, you yourself will witness how effective they are on your teeth!
Transparent braces, also known as ceramic braces or composite braces, have brackets made of tooth-colored polycrystalline alumina (3); hence, they are difficult to detect from a distance. However, because the brackets are glued to the teeth and linked with wires, they are structurally similar to metal braces. The transparent brackets are the only difference between clear braces vs. metal braces.
Arch wires coated with tooth-colored or clear polymers are sometimes used to improve facial aesthetics—but they aren't exactly translucent and generate high amounts of friction. In addition, the coating wears off unevenly, making the wire chip. Thus, they are less than desirable (4)
Nowadays, clear wires made of composite and glass fibers are also marketed heavily. But the clinical effectiveness and use of such wires are not recommended. Several studies show that these wires crack under normal forces, which metal wires are able to withstand. (4)
Clear Aligners vs. Transparent Braces: Which one?
Aligners have a lot of benefits over braces. Let’s look at some of them:
- Appearance: Aligners are virtually invisible compared to braces. They are transparent and custom-made to suit your teeth.
- Comfort: Because there are no metal brackets or wires, you are saved from the constant pricks and discomfort. You will only feel some initial pressure when you switch to a new set of aligners. After your teeth have adjusted, you will scarcely notice your aligners in your mouth.
- Treatment duration: The average time taken to complete aligner treatments is typically shorter than braces. But it also depends on the case severity and the doctor's diagnosis. Nevertheless, aligner treatments are of massive benefit to anyone with a hectic lifestyle!
- Dental Hygiene: Flossing and brushing is super easy with clear aligners. It requires no additional effort, and no specialized flossing instrument is needed! Thus, oral hygiene with clear aligners is better than with invisible braces (5).
- Cost: Although the cost of clear aligners is somewhat higher, most dental clinics provide flexible or monthly payment plans to make the treatment highly affordable and accessible for all.
- Food restrictions and diet: You will have to restrict your diet and avoid hard or sticky foods like chewing gum, nuts, candy, popcorn, pizza crust, chips, etc. But with aligners, your diet stays unaffected, and you will be able to enjoy all the meals you love simply by removing your aligners whenever you want to eat.
NOTE: You should wear your aligners for a minimum of 22 hours a day for optimal results (6). Compliance equals outcomes!
- Appearance: Braces (even ceramic braces) are detectable by onlookers. Thus, they may not be the best treatment option for people constantly in the public eye, such as celebrities, media personalities, or political figures.
- Dental hygiene: Brushing and flossing is more challenging with invisible braces than with clear aligners. Brushing with a special soft-bristled brush is recommended to reduce the risk of harm to a bracket or wire (7). Flossing is also more complicated since you must work around the arch wire.
- Food restriction and diet: If you have braces, you need to modify your diet. With hard foods, the brackets might break or chip off, hindering or stopping your treatment progress. You should also avoid sugary, sticky meals since the food gets stuck between the braces and makes you more susceptible to decay (2). A lousy diet combined with poor oral hygiene practices is a big problem.
- Comfort and portability: Braces generally cause discomfort since they rub on the cheeks and lips. Some patients are more likely to be affected than others, such as those involved in contact sports and other physical activities.
- Treatment duration: Braces appointments are often longer and more intensive, with active adjustments performed in the chair. There may also be a need for more regular visits.
Clear aligners vs Transparent braces
Are you ready to get a stunning new smile? If you want to fix your crooked teeth but aren't sure which treatment to get, We have got you covered! Our doctors will explain the entire teeth straightening process and answer any questions you have about aligners.
What are you waiting for? Click here to get in touch with an Eon-certified smile expert today!
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Q1: Are clear aligners worth it?
Clear aligners have several benefits in comparison to clear braces. They are less noticeable, much more comfortable than braces, and removable too! That's why they say aligners are the future of ortho-care.
Q2: Which clear aligners are the best?
Eon Aligner is one of the best clear aligners in 2022. It is discreet, highly comfortable, removable, and effective in teeth straightening. Additionally, Eon Aligner is 510K cleared, ISO 13485:2016 certified, and EU MDR compliant.
Q3: Clear aligners vs. ceramic braces: which is better?
Aligners are typically more comfortable than braces. The lips and cheeks often experience less irritation since the plastic aligner is smoother than the ceramic braces.
- Weir, T. (2017). Clear aligners in orthodontic treatment. Australian Dental Journal, [online] 62(S1), pp.58–62. doi:10.1111/adj.12480.
- Healthline. (2019). What Can You Eat with Braces, and What Should You Avoid? [online] Available at: https://www.healthline.com/health/what-can-you-eat-with-braces#what-to-… [Accessed 17 Aug. 2022].
- Tae, R.B., Sung, S.W. and Gook, R.S. (1990). [Clinical considerations on using ceramic bracket]. Taehan Ch’ikkwa Uisa Hyophoe Chi, [online] 28(10), pp.909–918. Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/2135057/.
- MATIAS, M., FREITAS, M.R. de, FREITAS, K.M.S. de, JANSON, G., HIGA, R.H. and FRANCISCONI, M.F. (2018). Comparison of deflection forces of esthetic archwires combined with ceramic brackets. Journal of Applied Oral Science, [online] 26(0). doi:10.1590/1678-7757-2017-0220.
- Abbate, G.M., Caria, M.P., Montanari, P., Mannu, C., Orrù, G., Caprioglio, A. and Levrini, L. (2015). Periodontal health in teenagers treated with removable aligners and fixed orthodontic appliances. Journal of Orofacial Orthopedics / Fortschritte der Kieferorthopädie, 76(3), pp.240–250. doi:10.1007/s00056-015-0285-5.
- Marya, A., Venugopal, A., Vaid, N., Alam, M.K. and Karobari, M.I. (2020). Essential Attributes of Clear Aligner Therapy in terms of Appliance Configuration, Hygiene, and Pain Levels during the Pandemic: A Brief Review. Pain Research and Management, [online] 2020, pp.1–6. doi:10.1155/2020/6677929.
- Heintze, S.D., Jost-Brinkmann, P.-G. and Loundos, J. (1996). Effectiveness of three different types of electric toothbrushes compared with a manual technique in orthodontic patients. American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics, 110(6), pp.630–638. doi:10.1016/s0889-5406(96)80040-0.
- WebMD. (n.d.). 3 Invisible Aligner Myths That You Should Stop Believing Now. [online] Available at: https://www.webmd.com/connect-to-care/teeth-straightening/invisible-ali….