Braces vs. Clear Aligners

Did your dentist suggest you reach out to an orthodontist? Are you self-conscious about your smile? Do you know that you want or need to fix your alignment but are overwhelmed with all the options? Knapp Orthodontics is here to bring you some clarity and put an end to the aligners vs braces debate in your head.

How Do Braces Work?

In the orthodontic community, we use “braces” as a general term that encompasses many types of braces. Every type generally falls into one of two categories: fixed or removable. Basically, that means they’re either glued to your teeth or not, but we’ll get into that later. 

Orthodontists like Dr. Knapp use braces to straighten teeth and to match up your upper and lower jaws. Braces are like personal trainers for your teeth, pushing them to get into “shape” so you can be healthier and more comfortable.

When braces put pressure on your teeth to move them, bone remodeling occurs under the surface. The bone in the jaw dissolves, giving teeth the freedom to move. Throughout your treatment, the bone rebuilds to hold the teeth in their new places. 

Bone remodeling is like carefully adding a fragile item to an online order for a customer. You have to remove the things (bone breaking down) from the box to make room for the fragile product (teeth moving). Then you have to put everything back in a way that will protect it (bone rebuilding) and make it look good when opened (smiling)! When done correctly by an experienced provider like Knapp Orthodontics, the process is quick, stress-free, and effective. 

We proudly offer a wide variety of orthodontic treatment options to help many people achieve their smile goals. Let’s check them out and find out what makes them so different.

Fixed Braces

Fixed braces come in many styles from many manufacturers, but at Knapp Orthodontics, we’ve decided that traditional metal braces and clear braces are the best on the market. Most people think of the brackets, wires, and ligatures of fixed braces when they think of braces.  

The oldest member on our treatment roster is metal braces—the MVP of orthodontic appliances. These sturdy, reliable team members are not the same braces you’ve seen in your parents’ photo albums. Modern metal braces are just as durable as their past iterations, but they’re more sleek, more comfortable, and less noticeable than ever. 

We offer the very popular silver brackets, but we also offer gold brackets for the stylish or adventurous. You can further customize your metal braces by changing your ligatures (colorful bands that hold the wire to the bracket and give braces colors) at every adjustment appointment. 

But that’s not all. We also offer clear braces. These are almost identical to metal braces, with one noticeable difference—their aesthetic! Instead of eye-catching silver or gold metal brackets, these braces use tooth-colored ceramic brackets and matching ligatures to blend in with your teeth! It’s an excellent alternative for teens and adults who don’t want the responsibility of or qualify for removable braces (see the section about clear aligners below).

Whether you choose silver, gold, or clear, fixed braces are an incredible option for patients of all ages and case severities.

Clear Aligners

Clear aligners are slightly different than fixed braces. Okay…a lot different. Imagine if you could straighten your teeth as stealthily as a mountain lion who doesn’t want to be seen. Since clear aligners don’t have brackets, wires, or ligatures, you can accomplish that level of discretion with this treatment option.

Unlike our metal and clear braces, aligners are custom-made just for you. This perfect fit provides maximum comfort and, combined with its transparent design, allows for a near-invisible treatment method. 

Without a wire to adjust, the makers of clear aligners had to come up with a different approach to keep your teeth moving. You’ll receive a series of trays, each slightly different from the last, to push teeth along their movement path. The aligners will be worn for about two weeks each, and then you’ll switch to the next in the set.

Aligners are great for patients with mild to medium bite needs and can be quicker than traditional braces in many situations.

We proudly offer Angel Aligners to our new patients, but we also accept Spark and Invisalign clear aligner transfer patients. Dr. Knapp believes that we should be knowledgeable about all types of care, even if we don’t explicitly offer it, so that we can help as many people as possible achieve their dream smile, regardless of how their orthodontic journey started.

Things To Consider When Choosing

Now, let’s change it up. Let’s assume that fixed braces and clear aligners can meet your orthodontic needs. That makes it metal braces versus clear braces versus clear aligners, and you need to determine your winner. It’s your call on which contender takes home the title, but you should consider the following before raising the winner’s hand:

  • Lifestyle Fit: Does your daily routine allow for the discipline clear aligners demand? Remember, they must be in your mouth, fighting for your smile 22-23 hours a day. You also have to keep up with them when you’re not wearing them. If you’re prone to losing things or feel like you won’t wear them as directed, maybe clear aligners are not for you. On the flip side, fixed braces require you to change your diet and oral hygiene routine to protect your oral health and prevent a broken bracket or two.
  • Treatment Complexity: Some dental matchups require the heavyweight power of traditional metal braces, while others can be handled by the agility of aligners or clear braces. Dr. Knapp will help you determine which style of braces will work best for your needs.
  • Aesthetic Preferences: If you prefer to fly under the radar, aligners or clear braces might be the clear winner—pun intended. But if you like color and bling, silver or gold metal braces could bring home the title.
  • Budget and Time: Aligners and braces differ in costs and treatment duration. Which one comes out on top will depend heavily on your orthodontic needs. Ask yourself which type of braces offer the best value for your time and money. 

Braces vs. Clear Aligners

Receive A Personalized Treatment Plan From Knapp Orthodontics!

Starting orthodontic treatment can be confusing or intimidating without the proper guidance. The Knapp Orthodontics team in Owens Cross Roads is here to make it stress-free. By prioritizing patient education and creating a welcoming environment, we’re able to transform smiles for patients of all ages

Schedule a free consultation for yourself, your child, or your teen and discover what braces can do for your family. We can’t wait to work with you!