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Braces vs. Clear Braces vs. Clear Aligners: Which is the Right Choice for Me?

When you need braces you may automatically think of traditional metal braces, but did you know that there are a few other options as well? Today, our Maple Ridge dentists talk about the difference between braces, clear braces and clear aligners.

The Different Types of Orthodontic Treatment

When you need treatment to align your teeth there may be two main choices that come to mind: traditional braces and clear aligners. But did you know that there is a third choice? This third choice is commonly referred to as clear braces.

Today, we’ll compare traditional braces, clear aligners, and clear braces in an effort to help you decide which option best suits the needs of your smile. Each of these orthodontic treatments has its pros and cons, and your dentist can work with you to help you decide on the next steps.

Traditional Metal Braces

When someone mentions braces, it is likely that the image you get in your head is of someone with traditional metal braces. They are also typically the most visible when worn, however, decades of advancements in orthodontic technology have meant wires and brackets have evolved to become smaller in size.

Traditional metal braces are the go-to option for people who need to resolve complex orthodontic issues when it comes to straightening their teeth, and you can choose to play them up with colours or choose tooth-coloured elastic bands.

Clear Aligners (Invisalign)

Clear aligners, which can be made by many different brands such as Invisalign, are a great orthodontic option that doesn't require metal brackets or wires. Clear aligners are made of transparent plastic material, making them look nearly 'invisible' to the casual observer when worn.

Since clear aligners are removable, you can keep eating all the foods you love as there will be no dietary requirements - unlike braces, which require you to watch which foods you eat. Because braces are fixed and not removable, you'll need to avoid crunchy or sticky foods such as popcorn, hard fruits and vegetables, gum and snacks that can get stuck in your braces. 

Another thing to keep in mind with clear aligners is that you'll need to drink only water with them in. Otherwise, take them out each time you eat or drink. Brush and floss before placing them back in your mouth to avoid bacteria and food particles getting stuck between your teeth and the clear aligners. While clear aligners can soak in cleaning solutions or be rinsed in warm water, braces will need to be brushed and flossed regularly.

While clear aligners may not suit your orthodontic treatment needs or your lifestyle, you still have one more option to consider – clear braces.

Clear Ceramic Braces

Clear braces are very similar to traditional metal braces except without the appearance of metal brackets. Clear braces are less noticeable than the traditional metal style that has been used for decades, but they still use wires and brackets to gradually shift teeth into their new desired positions.

The ceramic brackets are designed to 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 will I need to care for metal or clear types of braces?

Whether you choose metal braces or clear braces, it’s important to have excellent dental hygiene while undergoing orthodontic treatment. Food and plaque can easily get caught in the wires and brackets, making thorough brushing and flossing even more important when it comes to avoiding oral health issues such as cavities and gingivitis.

Are there any foods that I shouldn't eat?

With both clear braces and more traditional metal ones, you should resist eating often delicious but sticky foods such as most candy, popcorn, caramel, and apples, all of which can lead to the metal becoming displaced or damaged.

Will I need to worry about stains on my clear aligners?

If you choose clear braces, you’ll want to be cautious about which foods and beverages you consume. Ceramic brackets can stain more easily than metal braces, so you will want to avoid dark-coloured foods and drinks such as cola and blueberries.

What is the cost of orthodontic treatment?

Clear braces can often be a great option for patients who aren’t good 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 typically just above the average cost of braces. Of course, this all depends on the nature and severity of your orthodontic problem.

How long should I expect to need braces?

The fact that braces are not removable may actually prove to be an advantage for those people who aren't sure that they are self-disciplined enough for clear aligners.

Both metal braces and clear braces are comparable when it comes to the duration of your treatment time. Patients typically wear them anywhere from 1 to 3 years, depending on the nature of their orthodontic concerns.

Would you like to learn more about braces and how they can change your smile? Contact the dentists at Alouette Dental Centre to request an appointment.

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Looking for a dentist in Maple Ridge? We're happy to welcome new patients at our dental clinic! Contact us to get started today. 

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