Braces vs. Clear Aligners

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First, keep in mind there is not a single “right way” for orthodontic treatment to be done. An accurate diagnosis is the starting place, and that’s exactly what orthodontists do! After obtaining orthodontic records your orthodontist will develop a customized treatment plan just for you.

What is used for an individual’s correction will be based on the goals of treatment, and the patient’s lifestyle needs. There are some common treatment factors to consider for both braces and clear aligners.


Visibility– They are more visible than clear aligners, but there are options of clear braces if desired. Lots of children/teens enjoy the metal braces that allow them to change the colors of the elastics that hold the wires in the brackets.

Removability-Braces will remain affixed to the teeth throughout the course of treatment.

Comfort– There may be some initial discomfort. Overall, the discomfort is short lived and easily managed.

Hygiene– food debris and plaque must be removed by frequent brushing and flossing.

Diet– Patients with braces must steer clear of foods that are hard, sticky, crunchy and chewy to avoid breaking brackets or popping a wire out of the bracket. Steer away from sugary drinks and drink water instead.

Clear Aligners

Visibility– Aligners are clear, thin, plastic-like trays, making them virtually invisible and allowing an individual to inconspicuously achieve a straight smile. Tooth colored attachments are frequently placed on the teeth to help guide the teeth into place. The attachments are removed when treatment is complete.

Removability-The aligners can be removed to eat and brush your teeth, or for short periods of time for work or special occasions. The key responsibility is wearing them 22 hours a day, and in the correct sequence. Care needs to be taken to ensure they are not lost or broken and should always be in a case when they are not in the mouth.

Comfort-While there may some initial discomfort when changing to a new set of aligners, the discomfort is easily managed.

Hygiene– It is critical to avoid sugary drinks with your aligners in. Liquids seep into the aligners and can cause cavities. It is important that teeth are clean every time aligners are put in the mouth.

Diet– Because clear aligners are removeable, there are no diet restrictions! Many patients enjoy this feature, just remember the aligners need to be placed back in the mouth immediately after eating and brushing.