Teeth Straightening – Invisible Braces vs. Traditional Braces

bracesNot long ago, teeth straightening options were limited to traditional metal braces, worn most often by children and young teens. Today, with everyone seeking the perfect Hollywood smile, there are more options than ever for individuals of all ages. Traditional braces are still the most common type of straightening procedure, but there are several invisible options available as well.

Metal Braces

Traditional braces consist of metal brackets and wires that are typically held together with small rubber bands. Metal braces are the most affordable option available, and usually offer the quickest method of treatment. Patients with extremely crooked teeth or substantial bite issues should consider traditional braces. Today’s version features smaller brackets that are less noticeable than metal braces of the past, as well as self-litigating types that eliminate the need for elastic bands, but many adults still prefer something more inconspicuous and convenient.

Invisible Braces

There are several types of invisible braces, but the term most commonly refers to clear braces that are made of a ceramic or plastic material rather than metal. Clear, ceramic braces are the most effective option for patients who want an invisible straightening treatment. Self-litigating types are available, or individuals may use clear elastic bands to keep the appearance unnoticeable. This option is slightly more expensive than traditional braces, and is more susceptible to stains from certain foods and beverages. Even so, it is still a good choice for people who want an invisible treatment.

Pretty young girl wearing bracesLingual Braces

Lingual braces are another invisible teeth straightening option similar to traditional metal braces. The primary difference is that lingual braces are bonded to the back of the patient’s teeth rather than the front, making them unnoticeable to other people. This option is more expensive than traditional braces, and may not be the best choice for cases that are severe. Lingual braces can also be more difficult to clean, and many people claim this option is more uncomfortable than other types of braces and straightening tools.


The newest option for individuals wanting a straighter smile is a set of clear, removable aligners, commonly known by the brand name Invisalign. This method is popular among adults because it is not only invisible, but it is also convenient. The set includes 18 to 30 progressive aligners that are worn for 2 weeks each. Patients may remove the clear aligners to eat, but must take extra caution to not lose the mouthpiece. Invisalign costs about the same as clear braces, but may require longer treatment plans, and may not be as effective in severe cases. Invisalign is not an option for young children.

Choosing the best type of braces isn’t easy. Your budget, the amount of straightening required, and your personal preferences will all play a role in the decision. Traditional metal braces are more affordable, but invisible braces offer benefits that are often worth the extra costs. Schedule an appointment with your dentist to discuss which teeth straightening options are best for you.