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Traditional Braces vs. Clear Aligners

Wednesday - January 2nd, 2019
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Photo by Pim Chu on Unsplash

Aside from the cosmetic appeal of a mouth full of straight teeth, there are many long-term health benefits to braces, including fewer headaches and a lower risk of tooth decay.

We understand that receiving orthodontic treatment is a serious commitment of time and money. On top of that, modern technology has given us lots of options! If you’re considering braces for yourself or a family member this year, we’ve come up with a list of pros and cons to consider for traditional metal braces* and the popular clear aligners.

The Look

Clear aligners
Pro: The appearance of Invisalign is probably its most appealing feature. Like the name suggests, they are designed to look invisible and are also removeable, unlike metal braces. In our opinion, that is a big benefit.

Con: Braces are generally known for being less aesthetically pleasing. The title “brace-face” wasn’t exactly coined as a compliment. That said, newer appliances are much more compact than the braces of years ago.

The Pain Factor

Clear aligners
Pro: We give clear aligners a 3 on the pain factor scale, simply because they are made from plastic, and designed to gently move teeth.

Con: Metal braces, on the other hand, rank higher on the pain factor scale. If you’ve had braces, you know this feeling – hey, no pain, no gain, right? Gradually tightening wires in the mouth applies pressure to the teeth to straighten them. Depending on your pain tolerance, the effect this has can be an unpleasant, if not outright painful, sensation. Additionally, braces also rub against the inside of the mouth causing pain in the form of mouth sores. And while discomfort comes with the territory, know that your dentists or orthodontist will work with you to minimize your discomfort.


Clear aligners

Pro: Invisalign isn’t exactly low maintenance, but it’s not high maintenance either. New liners are sent to you every 2 weeks, to replace the previous set as treatment progresses. Liners are also supposed to be brushed like teeth (don’t forget the inside!) on a daily basis with warm water. On top of that, it is advised to visit the orthodontist every 4-6 weeks for check-ups.

Con: Because they are removeable, people tend to forget them after a meal, or even worse, accidentally toss them in the trash.


Pro: Aside from difficulty when cleaning around the wires and brackets, braces are pretty low maintenance. For one, you are less likely to lose your braces than an Invisalign tray for obvious reasons. Second, the maintenance is handled by your dentist. All you have to do is sit back, relax and let them do the work.

Con: Braces can be cumbersome when it comes to flossing. Luckily there are plenty of tools** on the market to help get in all the nooks and crannies where food gets stuck!

The Results

Clear aligners
Con: Considerable oral work such as rotating canines and pre-molars may not be suitable for clear aligners since they primarily work to straighten teeth.

Pro: Complex oral issues might be better suited for metal braces.

Post Treatment

Clear aligners & Braces

Pro: Removeable metal retainers and positioners help keep teeth in alignment once treatment is over for both methods.

The Cost

Clear aligners
This option costs roughly $5,000. Fortunately, there are lots of payment options available to cover the costs.

Braces cost anywhere from $3,000 to $10,000 depending what treatment you opt for.

After reading this, we hope you’re armed with a bit more information on these two different treatments. The most important thing to consider is your unique situation and the counsel of your team of dental professionals.

Did you know your nearest Monarch Dental location offers both options? Make an appointment with one of our dental professionals who can give their expert opinion to decide which option makes the most sense and get you started on a treatment plan.