Traditionally, there was only one method of correcting orthodontic problems and that was metal braces and were mostly worn by young children and adolescents. Nowadays, however, greater numbers of adults are looking to improve their smile with orthodontic work. The difference being that those same adults are looking to straighten their teeth discreetly.
As such, clear braces provide an excellent alternative for teens and adults who don’t want to draw attention to the fact that they are in fact undergoing orthodontic treatment but both clear and metal braces have their benefits and disadvantages depending on the level of correction needed.
Firstly, however before we dive into advantages and disadvantages, we need to clear something up…
… to avoid any confusion, when talking about clear braces in this article, we’re actually referring to fixed ceramic (clear) braces which are worn in the same way as metal braces. This is opposed to removable clear aligners that are also sometimes ‘wrongly’ referred to as ‘clear braces’.
Now back to the comparison…
Clear Braces vs Metal Braces – What You Need to Know?
While ceramic braces boast the same ‘bracket and wire[ style fixings as traditional metal braces, their brackets are made from clear plastic which makes them almost invisible, particularly when the archwire threaded through them is coloured. With a choice of shades such as white, silver, or frost you’ll be amazed at how they blend in seamlessly with your smile.
Clear braces are certainly less visible than metal braces and can have a significant impact on a person who feels self-conscious about wearing an orthodontic device.
That said, while metal braces are more noticeable than ceramic braces, patents can turn this to their advantage by opting for different coloured rubber bands to support their favourite sports team, match their school colours, or simply to express their own personalised style.
Clear braces are lighter and can be more comfortable than their metal counterparts. The high-quality materials used to make them aren’t quite as abrasive and tend not to irritate the sides of the mouth or the gums. This is a common complaint from metal brace wearers..
Metal braces may cause discomfort and sores in the mouth, especially following an adjustment. Because of the materials used, some patients may also experience a metallic taste in their mouth.
Clear braces tend not to be as strong as metal braces and are more prone to damage which can lead to increased costs in repairs. Because they are not as robust, dentists tend to be a little more conservative when making adjustments, and consequently, in certain cases, they may take longer to move teeth to their desired position. For this reason, ceramic braces are more suited to moderate orthodontic corrections.
Metal braces, on the other hand, are made from much stronger materials which makes them far more durable. They provide excellent control and patients are less likely to incur repair costs.
When comparing clear braces vs metal braces, ceramic braces always cost more. While for the main part, this is due to the cost of higher-quality materials, ceramic braces can take longer to achieve the desired results and this could impact on cost too.
While cleaning your metal braces can be challenging, clear braces have larger brackets which can make them even harder to clean. This can lead to swollen or receding gums. Also, since they’re fragile and therefore more likely to fracture, there’s a higher risk of damage being caused to the tooth enamel during the process of removing the glue (de-bonding) to replace a bracket.
Since the archwire on clear braces is white or tooth coloured, there’s more of risk of staining when consuming heavily pigmented foods. This will remain like this until the wire is replaced by your dentist. To avoid this from happening, our dentists recommend:
- Brushing and flossing after every meal
- Give up smoking
- Visit your dentist regularly so they can replace the bands or ceramic brackets as necessary
Clear Braces vs Metal Braces Comparison – Which Is Better?
Both types of oral devices correct orthodontic issues effectively although metal braces are arguably better for dealing with complex orthodontic problems. Clear braces are the best option if you want your braces to be low-key however they are less durable and may take slightly longer to work. They’re also prone to staining.
If you still can’t decide, why not schedule an orthodontic appointment at Randwick Smiles and discuss your dilemma with us.
Contact us at (02) 8188 4625 today for a consultation!