Clear Aligners vs. Traditional Braces

Clear Aligners Colts Neck, NJ

While not every mouth or situation is the same, most patients can choose between clear aligners and traditional braces. Some people have naturally straight smiles, and others must get professional help to achieve a straight smile. Various treatment choices can be effective in accomplishing that goal.

Traditional braces

In the last several decades, the design of conventional braces has changed significantly from the bulky metal brackets of old. These days, teeth alignment can be created by bonding tiny metal or porcelain brackets to the fronts of teeth and connecting them with a strong wire. The teeth move according to the plan made by the dentist during the pretreatment phase.

This method of installing braces exerts a precise yet gentle force on the teeth, gradually shifting them into place. The wire thickness is updated from session to session. After braces are applied, regular adjustments are necessary to apply the proper amount of pressure. Therefore, it is necessary to schedule periodic follow-up sessions so the dental professional can assess how the therapy is going.

Clear aligners

Clear aligners are options for patients who want conventional outcomes but prefer not to deal with the inconvenience of metal braces. Aligners are a contemporary alternative to traditional metal braces for correcting mild to moderate cases of misaligned teeth. A clear aligner is a translucent tray that is used to straighten teeth instead of typical metal braces.

Appointments for progress monitoring are scheduled every six to eight weeks, exactly as they are for installing traditional braces. However, aligner trays must be replaced every two weeks to follow the dentist's prescribed treatment schedule. With consistent force, the aligner shifts and repositions teeth.

Things that both treatments have in common

Although there are several differences in the treatment and comfort of clear aligners versus metal braces, a few things are similar. Becoming informed about both can be helpful when it comes to making a decision.

  • Patients must keep teeth clean so cavities do not occur, and they may find a jetted water flosser to be helpful
  • Both traditional braces and clear aligners require the involvement of an orthodontist to monitor progress and watch for complications or tooth decay, which may involve multiple sessions
  • Using either type of dental correction will require that certain foods, such as nuts, sticky candies, and chewing gum, be strictly avoided while wearing the appliance to prevent damage to it

Pros and cons of braces

Traditional braces can have a shorter wear time because they stay on the teeth 24 hours a day for the duration of the treatment. The orthodontist can adjust the metal brackets immediately if something unexpected comes up. Wearing some form of retainer may be required either full time or overnight following treatment with metal braces.

If a patient has complicated alignment issues, metal braces are generally more effective. Braces may also be better for use in children, as the mouth and jaw continue to grow during the treatment period.

Pros and cons of clear aligners

One of the biggest advantages is the fact that aligners are barely noticeable in the mouth, so a person can wear them without feeling as self-conscious as they would with traditional braces. Although the trays should be worn almost all the time for desired results, it is easy to brush and floss thoroughly and to get dental care because the aligners can be removed during these times. The trays must also be cleaned thoroughly on a daily basis to prevent bacterial growth or odor.

Clear aligners can be more comfortable because there are no wires or bulky bands to bother a patient's cheeks or tongue. They may also be safer for people who regularly participate in sports or adventurous activities.

Since aligners are so comfortable, a patient may forget to remove the trays while eating and could damage them. Food debris can also become lodged in the trays and look unsightly until cleaned, and they can cause gum irritation.


Since both clear aligners and traditional braces can be effective for straightening teeth and producing a more functional smile, there is no universal right or wrong choice. A potential patient will do well to evaluate their needs and lifestyle to decide which treatment is ultimately going to work better for their situation. If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to our office today. We would be happy to provide you with more information. 

Request an appointment here: or call Colts Neck Center for Orthodontics & Invisalign at (732) 795-6097 for an appointment in our Colts Neck office.

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