Differences Between Braces & Clear Aligners

Team Braces, Clear Aligners, Orthodontics

The two most common types of orthodontic treatment are braces and clear aligners. Both treatments are designed to straighten the teeth, align the bite, and correct other orthodontic issues that are present. But the similarities end there. There are many differences between these two treatments. If you’re trying to decide which treatment would be best for you, here’s what you need to know about both systems. 

Defining Features of Braces

Braces have been around a long time. They were one of the first orthodontic treatments invented and the technology has evolved significantly over time. Here are the defining features of braces: 

  • Metal or clear brackets. Brackets made of metal or ceramic are adhered to the teeth and remain attached for the duration of treatment (barring any accidental damage). An archwire links the brackets together, which helps to shift the teeth into proper alignment. Rubber bands are also used to help shift the teeth and bite. 
  • Powerful teeth shifting abilities. Braces are the most powerful orthodontic appliance. They are capable of making significant changes in the alignment and position of the teeth. Braces can correct severe crowding as well as misaligned bite patterns like overbite, underbite, and crossbite. 
  • Affordable. Braces are typically the most affordable orthodontic treatment. Metal braces usually cost less than clear ceramic braces. 
  • Treatment takes 1-3 years. Treatment time averages anywhere from 1 to 3 years for most patients, but may be shorter or longer depending on the patient’s individual needs. 
  • Dental hygiene is more involved. It is important that you brush carefully with braces to remove food and plaque. You may need to change your brushing technique to reach all of the spaces around your braces. In order to floss you will need to thread the floss under your archwire between each tooth. 

Defining Features of Clear Aligners

Clear aligner systems like ClearCorrect are a newer orthodontic treatment. This technology has only been around for a little over 20 years, but many patients and orthodontists find it to be highly effective. Here are the defining features of clear aligners:

  • Clear plastic aligners. This treatment uses clear plastic trays, called aligners, that fit over the teeth. They are essentially invisible for those who prefer to straighten their teeth more discreetly. The plastic is smooth and flexible for greater comfort. 
  • Gently shift teeth into alignment. Clear aligners move the teeth gradually, which many patients find to be more comfortable. At the start of treatment you will receive a complete set of aligners. You will be instructed to wear each aligner for about 2 weeks before switching to the next in order. At the end of the treatment your teeth should have reached the desired position. 
  • Aligners are removable. You can remove clear aligners when you eat and to brush and floss your teeth. You don’t have to change your diet or give up the foods you love. And you don’t have to take any extra steps to care for your teeth. But you do need to wear your aligners as much as possible, no less than 22 hours a day for this treatment to be effective. 
  • Treatment takes 6-18 months. In general, clear aligner treatment takes less time than braces. Length of treatment depends on the extent of your orthodontic issues and how far your teeth need to be shifted. Your orthodontist can give you an idea of how long your treatment may take after evaluating your teeth. 

Smith Orthodontics Provides Both Braces and Clear Aligners

If you’re debating between braces and clear aligners, it helps to discuss your options with an orthodontist. Smith Orthodontics can evaluate your teeth and determine which treatment option would be best for your individual needs. Some patients may require braces due to the extent of their orthodontic needs. Others may have the choice of either treatment option for minor corrections. The ultimate goal is for you to achieve a healthy, beautiful smile at the end of your treatment. 
Call 937-431-0947 today to schedule a consultation or request an appointment. We look forward to helping you transform your smile.