Clear Aligners vs. Braces: What’s the Difference?

Asian woman smiles as she holds up clear aligners and a teeth model with braces to compare orthodontic treatments

Embarking on the journey to a straighter smile is exciting. It can also come with many questions since a variety of orthodontic treatments exist for those looking to straighten their smile. This blog post answers a common question: what’s the difference between clear aligners and braces?


Traditional braces must be adjusted every 4-6 weeks to be sure the archwire is pushing and pulling your teeth into the desired directions. These adjustments can make your mouth feel sore for a few days. With clear aligners, you receive a new set of aligners every 1-2 weeks. However, the appointment won’t take very long.

Comfort & Appearance

Braces are more noticeable than clear aligners. The brackets are typically made of steel brackets and wires, though some offices offer tooth-colored ceramic braces. Clear aligners are thin, clear trays designed to fit snugly over the teeth without irritation to the cheeks and lips and with minimal disruption to your appearance. Unlike metal braces, aligners are removable so oral hygiene is simpler.


Besides the main difference between their appearance, the accountability required for the two are drastically different. Clear aligners are removable, making the patient entirely responsible for wearing them the recommended 20-22 hours a day. They must also avoid misplacing their aligners when taking them out to eat and brush their teeth. Because braces are bonded to the teeth until treatment is over, patients can’t forget to wear them. However, they must avoid certain damaging foods (corn on the corb, whole apples, caramel, gum, etc.) and be very meticulous when brushing and flossing around their brackets and wires.

Orthodontic Treatment in Indian Trail, NC

When it comes to orthodontic treatment, you may have your heart set on one orthodontic treatment over another. But keep in mind that the best way to determine which is right for you is to schedule a visit with a dental professional that can evaluate your mouth and misalignment.

At Pleasant Plains Dental, we offer clear aligners and Six Month Smiles®. To schedule an orthodontic consultation with our team, please contact us today!