February 2, 2021

Traditional Braces Vs Invisible Braces: Understanding the Difference

Peri Elgrot

Top 10 Invisible Braces Editor

In the recent years, there has been a sudden increase in the popularity of dental braces, particularly the invisible braces. With their high success rates and invisible appearance, people of all ages have finally got the chance to correct their teeth and enjoy a beautiful smile. Clear aligners, like traditional metallic braces can help you correct your dental imperfections such as misalignments and crooked teeth allowing you the chance to have a perfect smile.

However, despite the same motive to realign your teeth, both these systems have great differences in their methods and the materials used to correct your teeth. Here is a detailed guide to help you understand the every criteria about the two re-alignment methods and the difference between them.

Traditional Braces Vs Invisible Braces

In the earlier years, traditional braces was the only available treatment method to re-align crooked, crowded or wide-spaced teeth. But, with the new evolving technologies, newer methods were invented which included the clear aligners or the invisible braces. So, let’s take a detailed look at the different factors that will help you differentiate both the types of braces from one another and thus choose the best treatment method for your teeth.

Appearance and the Material used

The first and foremost difference between traditional braces and the invisible braces is their totally different appearance. The traditional braces are silver or white in color owing to the metallic or ceramic material used to make them. Whereas, the invisible braces are clear or invisible in their appearance because they are made using clear plastic.

The metallic braces are silver in appearance and considered as the default choice for patients. However, people who do not wish to make their braces noticeable to the others opt for ceramic white braces that blend perfectly with the color of their teeth, making them almost invisible.

Clear aligners, on the other hand are completely invisible as they are made using clear hard plastic. However, there are some aligners that have an additional ceramic coating on the plastic braces to match perfectly with the natural color of their teeth. In fact, without a clear look, it is nearly impossible to notice the clear plastic braces in a patient’s mouth. In both cases (clear braces and ceramic coated clear braces), the brackets rightly justify their name, Invisible Braces by being almost invisible to the observers while also helping you smile bright without being embarrassed about your dental imperfections.

Force Applied (Push or Pull)

Force applied is one of the main factors that helps in the re-alignment of your teeth. Both traditional braces as well as clear aligners use controlled force to re-align your teeth. However, they differ from each other completely on how they use force for achieving the needed results.

The traditional braces use the Pull force to guide your teeth slowly into the desired line of alignment. This method is effective and works perfectly to re-align your teeth in a short time. However, you may feel a little pain, tenderness as well as soreness in your gums and teeth during the treatment duration.

The invisible braces on the other hand use the Push force to rotate and move your teeth, thus bringing them to the desired alignment. In comparison to the pull force of the traditional braces, the push force of the invisible braces is much gentler and less painful. They also cause less soreness, tenderness and discomfort to your gums and teeth. This is one of the main reasons why a huge population chooses invisible aligners over traditional braces, unless they are suggested specifically by orthodontics to use traditional braces.

Fixed or Removable

Traditional braces may give you the best teeth re-alignment results on your crooked teeth, but they have one major drawback that is, they are fixed braces. As a result, you cannot remove them once they are placed on your teeth and you are compelled to wear them everywhere you go, even special events.

Wearing your braces 24X7 may not be an issue for some people, but there are also some who prefer to wear braces that are invisible in appearance. This is a problem faced specifically amongst adults who are looking forward to braces that are subtler in appearance. There are many patients who can associate braces as a major part of their teenage years which only left them feeling conscious about their looks due to their wired braces.

On the contrary, clear aligners are removable and also effective at the same time. This gives you the freedom to remove them before your meals or tea-time or even during special events. Also, you get to maintain your oral hygiene by brushing and flossing your teeth regularly.

What makes clear aligners more favorable than the traditional braces is the fact that you can remove them whenever needed. However, in order to get the needed results from these aligners, you need to wear them for at least 22 to 24 hours per day. Removing these braces constantly will only delay the duration and cost of the treatment.

Restrictions on Food and Drinks

When you wear braces, both traditional and invisible, it is but inevitable that you face certain food and drink restrictions which may cause certain damage to your teeth and the braces. As a result, patients are always advised to avoid eating these restricted items during the period of the treatment. However, there are more restrictions on patients wearing traditional braces as compared to the invisible braces.

Restricted items for Traditional braces

– Sticky, chewy candies
– Gum
– Pretzels
– Crakcers
– Cookies or any food that has a hard consistency
– Hard chocolate
– Ice
– Nuts
– Popcorns
– Tortilla shells and corn chips

In order to make sure that your braces are safe, orthodontists further recommend you to tear certain food items into smaller pieces before eating them. For instance, cooked meats, raw vegetables, sandwiches, corn cob, croutons and some hard fruits.

In the meantime, there is absolutely no food restriction for patients wearing invisible braces as you can remove them before eating your everyday meals and drinks without the slightest worry of damaging the clear aligners.

Treatment Duration

The treatment duration is different for every patient, depending on the complexity of your dental problem and the type of braces you choose for re-aligning your teeth. However, it is proved that invisible braces provide faster results than the traditional braces.

Traditional braces have an average treatment duration between 1 and 2 years. While on the other hand, clear aligners have a treatment plan between 6 to 18 months. The treatment duration also depends on your orthodontist’s follow-up visits depending on the severity of your dental problem. If you have traditional braces, you will need to visit your orthodontist at least once in a month in order to check your progress and also make the needed adjustments to achieve the desired result quickly.

However with invisible aligners, you simply need to change from one customised plastic tray to the next one in just 14 days. Also, you need not visit your orthodontist every month when switching from one tray to the next one. Patients wearing invisible braces many need to meet their dentists or orthodontists once in 6 to 8 weeks’ time.

Treatment Cost

The average cost of treatment varies depending on different factors such as the treatment duration, type of braces you choose as well as your location. However, based on the 2019’s orthodontist report review about the average cost of the different treatment methods, the costs of both these methods are mentioned below.

Traditional Braces Cost: Between $1800 and $5,500

Invisible Braces Cost: Average cost of around $5,000

Overall, clear aligners are considered a little more expensive than the traditional braces. So people who are not bothered about their braces being noticed by others can choose the traditional braces, while those who become self-conscious about their looks can choose the clear aligners despite the extra cost. However, people prefer clear aligners because of the versatility offered by them such as invisibility, low diet restrictions and ease of removability.

Limitations

Every treatment method has its own set of limitations, even dental problems. Despite their different treatment methods, there are certain dental problems that cannot be treated by either traditional braces or the clear invisible braces. Here are some of the conditions that give you a good understanding about the limitations of both the types of braces.

Traditional Braces

They are perfect for the following dental conditions:

– Complex dental conditions that need high degree of realignment or teeth rotation
– Wide spaced or gaps of more than 1/4th inch (6 mm) between teeth.
– People who cannot remove their clear aligners by themselves
– People who do not have self-discipline to remove and wear their aligners back for a minimum 22 hours every day.

Invisible Braces

The invisible braces are considered ideal for the following conditions;

– Comparatively smaller dental problems that need little to moderate realignment or teeth rotation.
– Widely spaced gaps of less than 1/4th inch (6 mm) between teeth.
– Everyone such as teenagers, adults and older children who are self-disciplined to follow every instruction carefully.

Who cannot wear braces?

People who have gone through any type of reconstructive or restorative cosmetic dental work cannot wear invisible braces. So, if you have a crown or a bridge fixed on any of your teeth, you cannot wear invisible braces as this would cause permanent alteration of your teeth or other mouth structures leading to certain unwanted complications.
Now that you know everything about both traditional braces and invisible braces, you can easily decide which braces are ideal for you. But, if you still can’t choose, you can always visit your nearest dentist or orthodontist to get a better understanding of your dental condition to choose the right treatment method.