What Are Clear Braces? Cost, Benefits & Disadvantages

The main problem with traditional braces is that they just don’t look super attractive. Yeah, they’re uncomfortable, but usually your more self-conscious than uncomfortable.

Fortunately, there’s something called clear braces.

This is exactly what you think it is — a teeth straightening device that is clear. The idea is that they’re more comfortable, better looking, and will give you a straight smile.

But do they actually work?

What Are Clear Braces?

Clear braces are not the same thing as invisible braces, as many people assume. Invisible braces (aka clear aligner) would be things like Smile Direct Club, ClearCorrect, and Invisalign, three of the more well-known invisible braces companies.We’ll get into the difference below.

What clear braces are is a type of ceramic braces (often called just “ceramic braces”). The biggest difference between traditional braces and clear braces is the type of bracket used — clear braces use a clear type of bracket.

Clear braces are also known as ceramic braces that are transparent, but still have visible wires. This is different than clear teeth aligners.

Pros & Cons Of Clear Braces

Yeah, the benefits of clear braces are, well, clear. But there are some downsides too.

Pros Of Clear Braces

  • Ceramic braces can be less painful as they’re less irritating than traditional braces
  • Ceramic braces often use translucent brackets, making them more aesthetically pleasing
  • Clear/ceramic braces are usually pretty strong and made of high-quality material

Cons Of Clear Braces

  • Clear/ceramic braces tend to be more expensive than regular braces, which use metal brackets
  • They may not be able to do as much correction as regular braces
Depending on your situation, you’ll have to weigh the upsides and downsides of clear braces, but the price is definitely the biggest deterrent to getting clear braces.

Clear Braces Cost

Clear/ceramic braces will typically range between $3,500 to $8,000 for a full mouth of braces. That is a bit more than traditional/metal braces ($3,000 to $ 7,500), but they’re not as much as lingual braces ($5,000 to $13,000), which are traditional braces placed on the inside of the teeth.

Although the cost of braces may sound intimidating, there are many ways to pay for this necessity. One way is through a dental discount plan, which can help you save up to 60% on any dental service you need.

Clear braces are more expensive than traditional braces, but not as expensive as lingual braces (traditional braces on the inside of the teeth).

Ceramic Braces vs Metal Braces

Whether you get ceramic braces or traditional braces (aka metal braces), you can expect it to be somewhat uncomfortable. You experience some soreness, especially when the orthodontist tightens them at your visits.

Metal braces are, obviously, made with metal brackets and a special dental cement. Each bracket is tied together with wires or sometimes little rubber bands.

These types of braces are good for a lot of alignment problems. They’re versatile enough to handle extreme issues, and they can work a lot quicker than ceramic braces.

The big downside to traditional braces is that they don’t look very pretty. Or a better way of putting it would be to say they’re much more noticeable than clear braces. Even though metal braces have evolved to the point where they’re much smaller than in the past, their unsightliness is, for many people, is a good reason to be self-conscious.

However, one way to deal with this is to get colored braces. You can choose a color that fits your personality and the process won’t be as fear-inducing.

What thing to consider is how active do you plan on being. Because metal braces are typically a little more durable than clear braces. So if you play a contact sport, for example, you may need to temporary stop or look into getting traditional braces and wear a mouthguard.

Metal (traditional) braces are a little more affordable and more durable than clear braces, but the latter is often much more aesthetically pleasing.

Clear Braces vs Invisalign

The only similarity that clear braces and Invisalign have is that they’re both not very noticeable. Other than that, they are very different ways to align your teeth. Here are the main differences between the two.

Transparency

This is a big plus for many patients. Transparency is important to a lot of people — if you can get your teeth straightened while not having unsightly braces or aligners, that’s a win-win.

But with clear braces, people can clearly see that you have something on your teeth. Even though the brackets are clear, the wires are still visible.

Removability

Another positive for Invisalign is that you can remove it and put it back in yourself. For example, if you need to clean your Invisalign aligner while you sleep, you can just take it out and put it in a cup of water or cleaning solution.

To clean clear braces, you’ll need to do a little more work. You’d need to brush your teeth like you normally would. Then you may also need to pick out leftover debris and brush in the nooks and crannies of the braces.

Adjustment Frequency

If you have Invisalign, you’ll need to get a new aligner that’s slightly a different size quite frequently — every two weeks to be exact.

However, clear braces need an adjustment only ever four weeks. So the adjustment frequency of clear braces is definitely preferable over Invisalign.

Treatment Cases

Invisalign is really just meant for moderate to mild alignment issues, like crowded teeth, gapped teeth, and improper bites.

Clear braces, though, can treat not only the mild and moderate cases but also the extreme cases. Some of the issues clear braces can treat that Invisalign cannot include malocclusions, crossbites, and extremely crooked teeth.

We should note, however, that clear braces cannot always treat bottom teeth if they’re very bad. Whereas Invisalign can usually treat bottom teeth.

Staining

It’s been found that clear braces can actually stain your teeth. The wires in between the ceramic brackets can leave stains on your teeth, especially if you smoke or drink a lot of coffee.

Clear braces can treat more severe cases than Invisalign and they don’t require as many in-office visits.

Conclusion

  • Clear braces (AKA ceramic braces) are transparent brackets held together by visible wires
  • Clear braces are not the same thing as invisible braces (aka clear teeth aligners)
  • There are pros and cons to clear braces, but the biggest issue for more people is the somewhat high cost
  • Traditional braces are more affordable and typically more durable than clear braces, but many people would prefer to have less noticeable braces so they choose clear braces
  • Clear braces are able to treat more severe cases than Invisalign can
  • Usually, clear braces don’t require as many in-office visits as Invisalign may