smiling woman using clear plastic removable braces aligner or whitening tray. dental orthodontic

Clear Aligners vs. Traditional Braces: Which is Right for You?

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Overbites, underbites, crooked teeth, gaps between teeth and open bites can be a cause of anxiety for many people. Thanks to modern orthodontic technology, there are many options available to help lead you towards the smile you want.

Clear aligners and traditional braces are two of the most common options for teens and adults looking to correct their teeth. But out of clear aligners versus traditional braces, which is right for you?

While a dentist is your best option for information specific to your oral health and condition, this basic information will help you start your journey.

About Traditional Braces

What are traditional braces?

Traditional braces are an orthodontic treatment that apply constant pressure on your teeth to help gradually improve the appearance or correct the positioning of your teeth. The most common style of braces uses small brackets fixed to your teeth with wires connected to the brackets to create pressure.

Adults and teens alike are often put off by braces because of how visible they are.

Brackets are typically made of metal, while you can select the colour of the elastics to make them more appealing to the eye. They are typically worn by teens, but can be used for adult teeth corrections.

How long do braces take to work?

Braces may take anywhere from six months to three years to work, depending on the starting position of your teeth. You will also be required to wear a retainer for several months to up to 5 years after your braces are removed to help your teeth not move out of place — you know, to ‘retain’ the position of your teeth.


How much are braces?

The average cost of braces in Australia ranges from $5,000 to $12,500, depending on the type of braces and severity of your case. Ceramic braces tend to be cheaper, while traditional braces are slightly more expensive and lingual braces being the more expensive option.

About Clear Aligners

What are clear aligners?

Clear aligners are an orthodontic treatment used to help straighten and correct teeth alignment. They are made from clear, removable plastic trays that are near invisible when worn.

While braces need tightening to work, clear aligners involve switching out the trays over a treatment course to help put pressure on the teeth. They can be removed to eat, drink and for your daily oral hygiene routine.

Clear aligners are typically only used by adults or older teens, but some brands do offer teen options.

How long do clear aligners take to work?

Clear aligners are typically worn for nine to 15 months, depending on the brand, how many trays you need, the condition of your teeth and more.

Man holding one transparent aligner. Invisalign orthodontics concept
Man holding one transparent aligner. Invisalign orthodontics concept

How much are clear aligners?

Clear aligners can range from as little as $1500 to more than $9,000, depending on the brand of aligners and the treatment plan. It’s best to speak to your dentist before going with the cheapest option as some online clear aligner plans are not as customised as in-office treatments.

So, braces or clear aligners?

Whether you choose braces or clear aligners may come down to personal choice, budget or your oral health needs. This is why it is important to speak to your dentist about whether braces or clear aligners are best for you.

When considering braces versus clear aligners, you need to take into consideration the condition of your teeth before treatment and the outcome you’re wanting to achieve. You also need to take into account your discipline.

With braces, the brackets and wires are fixed to your teeth — you can’t (well, shouldn’t) remove them. Clear aligners rely on remembering to remove them to eat, drink and brush your teeth, and even more importantly, remembering to put them back in.

There are pros and cons to both braces and clear aligners; both of which come down to the person.

Many people have to prolong their clear aligners treatment plan as they forget about their aligners or leave it too long to replace their aligners if they’re lost. If this is something you know you may likely end up doing, braces may be the better option for you.

However, many people have complaints about eating and sleeping with braces and find them uncomfortable. So, it’s all about weighing up what impacts you the most.

Whatever option you go with, your next step is to chat to your dentist. They will be your source of knowledge for whether braces or clear aligners are the best option for you.

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