Metal braces vs. Clear braces vs. Invisalign®

Getting your teeth straightened is a major decision, but the rewards can last a lifetime. You may have less tooth decay and wear and tear, and feel much better about your smile when your teeth are straight. Getting rid of the overbite, underbite, or uneven gaps and spaces can make a big difference in your daily life.

Deciding to get your teeth straightened is just the first in a series of decisions you will need to make. You also need to select a system for straightening your teeth, and that’s where our orthodontic expertise can help. Traditional metal braces may come to mind first, but we offer several alternatives, like clear braces and Invisalign® clear aligners. Here are some of the factors to consider when choosing which treatment is right for you:


The brackets and wires of traditional metal braces are visible. Everyone knows you have them. Clear braces are similar to metal ones, but they are made of clear hard plastic. People may have a hard time noticing you are wearing clear braces until they are close to you. Invisalign clear aligner trays are even less noticeable. Most people may not ever know you are wearing them at all!

The logistics: effectiveness, treatment time, and appointments

Traditional metal braces and clear braces are equally effective, especially when it comes to advanced bite correction. Treatment can last over a year depending on your smile needs. Invisalign is more often used for general tooth alignment problems. Treatment with aligners typically lasts less than a year, but that also depends on your unique case.

You will also need to see your orthodontist about every four weeks during the duration of your treatment with traditional metal braces and clear braces. This is to adjust the tightness of the wires and make sure the brackets are firmly in position on your teeth. Treatment with Invisalign clear aligners only requires you to go to the orthodontist every six to eight weeks to check your progress and get new sets of trays.

Nutrition and oral hygiene

The same food restrictions apply to clear and metal braces. You cannot eat sticky or chewy foods, as they can pull a wire or make a bracket pop off a tooth. Stringy foods can also get stuck in between wires and brackets. That limits things like apples, carrots, candy, popcorn, and meat. With Invisalign clear aligners, you can eat anything you want, since you can remove the trays to eat.

Similarly, cleaning your teeth is more difficult with braces. You risk having discoloration or decay on your teeth by the end of treatment because the braces make brushing and flossing your teeth difficult. You can brush and floss normally with aligners because you remove them for your oral hygiene routine.

The best way to learn about your orthodontic treatment options is to visit our office for a consultation. We’ll be able to recommend a treatment plan that works with your smile and your lifestyle.