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Young woman laughing while holding teeth aligners and teeth model with braces.Young woman laughing while holding teeth aligners and teeth model with braces.

Clear Braces Vs Aligners: 7 Key Differences

By: BeSeen Team

Date: April 19, 2023

So, you finally decide to have your teeth straightened, and you’re excited about being one step closer to a more confident smile. With all the options available, all you know is you want something subtle and convenient. You narrow it down between clear braces and aligners – yet you’re still stumped. 

Make that decision now with this article on the seven differences between braces and aligners. Read on to end up with the best option for your needs. 

1. Concealment 

Clear braces

Clear braces fall under the traditional category, except they’re much less noticeable because the ceramic brackets (the little squares attached to your teeth) are transparent. Sometimes, the wire also matches the colour of your teeth to blend in more naturally. 

Teeth aligners

Clear aligners straighten your teeth like traditional braces but without wires and brackets. One example is ClearCorrect. It offers a premier aligner engineered for precision, comfort, and aesthetics thanks to a unique combination of patented ClearQuartz tri-layer material, high and flat trimline, and scientifically proven clinical features. It corrects your crooked teeth subtly and makes you feel more confident. 

2. Comfort 

Clear braces

Clear braces tend to rub against the gums, lining of your cheeks, and lips, causing sores and blisters. It might be one drawback for an athlete or anyone who leads a generally active lifestyle.

Teeth aligners

Although aligners come with some soreness, especially during the adjustment period, the overall discomfort is less as the material is smoother than porcelain or ceramic braces. The latter might be more suitable if comfort is your priority. 

3. Convenience 

Woman at the dentist smiling and pointing to her teeth.
Unlike aligners, clear braces require more frequent trips to your orthodontist, so make sure your schedule will allow it.

Clear braces

Another factor to consider is how much maintenance you’re willing to put in. Clear braces require more frequent visits to your orthodontist. You’ll have two main sessions, bond and debond, when the brackets are put on and removed. Then, you must book short visits in between to have your braces adjusted, replace missing brackets, or tighten wires. If you’re leaning towards clear braces, make sure you can make time for multiple trips to the dental clinic. 

Teeth aligners

On the other hand, orthodontists map out the details of your aligners to a tee. For instance, dental clinicians who partner with ClearCorrect use ClearPilot. This digital treatment planning tool lets the doctor and the patient visualise the outcomes, helping both develop a customised – and the most effective – treatment plans using ClearPilot’s optimised 3D visual interface. This personalisation makes outcomes more predictable thus fewer follow up visits than braces.  

4. Cleanliness 

Clear braces

Clear braces are great for those who want a less hands-on approach because you don’t remove them while eating or brushing your teeth. It also means fewer chances of losing or breaking them. The downside is that cleaning your teeth can be an ordeal as you try to brush through all the nooks and crannies.

Teeth aligners

With aligners, you won’t have to worry about reaching tight spaces between your teeth. You can easily slip them off at any time, allowing you to clean your teeth as usual.

Remember: Not being able to clean teeth properly can be frustrating and might lead to dental problems like staining and cavities. 

5. Compliance 

Clear braces

Once the clear braces are attached to your teeth, you wear them 24/7. This makes them a better choice for younger patients like teenagers, who are more likely to forget or misplace aligners.

Teeth aligners

For aligners to be effective, you must wear them around 18 to 22 hours a day, taking them off only when eating or brushing. It requires a higher level of commitment versus braces.

6. Duration 

Closeup of a woman holding up dental aligners in the shape of a heart.
Aligners work faster than braces. However, braces can help more severe conditions that require time to take effect.

Clear braces

Braces have been a mainstay for so long because of their effectiveness in dealing with more severe conditions. It targets all degrees of malocclusion and corrects gaps big and small. You must keep your braces for one to three years.  

Teeth aligners

Do clear aligners take longer than braces? Your orthodontist will be able to give you an exact timeline of how long you have to wear your aligners, but treatment can be as short as six to 12 months, depending on the gravity of your misalignment. More extreme cases usually require braces first before transitioning to aligners. 

7. Cost

The difference in cost between clear braces and aligners may vary depending on several factors, such as the duration of treatment and fees paid to the manufacturer in the case of aligners. Generally, the price difference between the two options is insignificant, considering other investments, such as the number of dental visits. However, you might need to replace your aligners as your teeth straighten out. You may also require more aligners depending on the length of your treatment. 

So, are aligners better than braces? When it comes down to it, the choice will depend on your individual needs and preferences. Braces are an excellent option if your condition requires a more aggressive approach. Aligners might make a better choice for those who want a more subtle and convenient solution. Whichever treatment you decide on, work with your orthodontist to find your ideal solution and get closer to a more confident smile. 

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