How Are Clear Braces Different from Metal Braces?

Has the thought of getting braces ever crossed your mind, but you were uncertain about which type to pick? There are many more options available today than just traditional metal. To help align one’s smile, many patients are now using alternatives like clear braces that offer a less-obvious appearance but provide the same benefits. 

To help you decide whether clear braces or metal braces are the right option for you, we’re going to compare them today. From visibility to functionality, we’ll cover every aspect. 

First, let’s start with some of the advantages of clear braces. 

Advantages of Clear Braces

Less visible

Clear braces are largely sought after for their discrete appearance as opposed to the traditional metal. Unlike metal braces, clear ones are made of either plastic or ceramic, so their appearance blends in much more naturally with your teeth’s natural color. 

If you are someone that does not want your braces to become immediately visible, clear ones will prove the preferable option. However, be sure to keep them as clean as possible to prevent any food or other debris from becoming trapped if you want to maintain their subtle appearance to the fullest. 

Faster movement than Invisalign

But aren’t clear braces the same thing as Invisalign? Invisalign treatment consists of a series of pre-sized mouthpieces that you change every few weeks, whereas clear braces are meant to function exactly as metal braces do. 

Although not as fast as traditional metal braces, the treatment process with clear braces still sees quick results in as little as 18 to 36 months. Invisalign can and often does take longer to show similar results. 

Can be colored in multiple shades

If you are feeling creative or have a favorite color, you can choose the shade of your clear braces. They can be red, green, pink, blue, or any other hue that you prefer! Depending on your local orthodontist, coloring your clear braces may result in an additional cost, but this is not universally true at every office. 

Considerations for Clear Braces


Clear braces offer many advantages over metal braces, but the cost to have them applied is not one of them. They are often more expensive than metal due to their specialized materials. In turn, you can expect to pay more for treatment that includes them. 

Less durable

The biggest difference between clear braces and metal braces, other than the clearly apparent visual distinction, is the material involved. Made out of plastic or ceramic, clear braces tend to be less durable than metal ones. This can lead to more accidents and more repairs over the lifetime of the treatment and care. 

Move slower than metal

Although the process does move faster than Invisalign, clear braces can move slower than metal ones. These clear braces can often be an attractive, viable solution to those who are not candidates for Invisalign and still want a more subtle aesthetic. 

Can become stained or discolored over time

Because of the materials that they are made of, clear braces have the potential to become stained or discolored over time, which can slowly make them more visible. To keep your clear braces as bright as possible, stay consistent with a proper oral hygiene routine to maintain their appearance. You can also ask your orthodontist to provide you with a recommended hygiene plan. 

Clear Braces vs. Invisalign

Another alternative that many consider in place of braces is Invisalign, which is also the least-visible option. However, not everyone’s orthodontic needs make them a suitable candidate for this type of treatment. 

Invisalign is a great choice for those seeking orthodontic treatment who are apprehensive about the look of traditional braces. Unlike braces that are fixed to the teeth, Invisalign uses a series of custom-made aligners that fit over your teeth and, over time, gradually move them into place. They can also be removed when eating, drinking, or brushing your teeth. 

Additionally, aligners are comfortable to wear and do not involve any tightening of brackets or risk of pain from sharp metalwork. However, Invisalign has one major drawback for many due to its notably higher cost than either metal or clear braces. 

Get Clear Braces in St. Augustine, FL 

At Henry Orthodontics, we strive to provide a highly personalized, family-friendly, and patient-centered treatment experience to residents of St. Augustine, FL and the surrounding communities. We also offer 100% in-house financing at zero-percent interest for treatments. 

If you would like to learn more about whether clear braces or another orthodontic treatment is right for you, contact us today to schedule your own consultation.