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Clear Braces vs. Invisalign: Which Is Right for You?

If you are interested in improving your teeth or those of your teen, you’re probably also concerned about the ostentatious look of traditional metal braces. You may need an update on the improved treatments available with modern dentistry. At Brodie Bowman Orthodontics in Fort Walton Beach, FL, we have discreet options to offer, including both clear braces and Invisalign. What’s the right option for you?

Clear Braces vs Invisalign

Clear Braces

Clear braces work in the same way as traditional metal braces. The difference is that they are designed to be much less visible on the teeth. These braces are also sometimes called ceramic braces, and they are completely translucent, so they blend right in and are very difficult to spot unless you are looking for them.

The brackets for these braces are also made of a stain-resistant material, which means you don’t need to worry about discoloration of your teeth or discoloration of the braces, which can make them more visible. Clear braces are a very popular option for those who want a more discrete treatment but whose orthodontic issues are so profound that they are not eligible for Invisalign.


Invisalign effectively aligns your teeth without requiring any braces, brackets, or wires. Instead, the Invisalign system designs a custom aligner unique to your mouth and teeth. After evaluating your mouth and using a scanner to send a perfect picture of it to the computer, we will give you a series of aligners that you will wear, changing them out every few weeks.

These aligners gently move the teeth into their ideal position. This is a very effective and comfortable treatment, and most of all, it is highly discrete. This makes it a very popular option for teens and adults. This option is also popular because it is so simple to use. You don’t have to worry about trying to brush or floss around complicated wires in brackets: you simply remove your aligners whenever you eat and to brush and floss. You can also remove them briefly for important social engagements, job interviews or presentations, or any other moment when you don’t want to let anyone know that you’re having your teeth treated.

Off-Brand Aligners

You have probably seen or heard advertisements for cheap clear aligners that offer to fix your teeth through a mail-in program. Be aware that these off-brand liners are nothing like Invisalign. The aligners that you are sent will not be custom-made for your mouth, and you will not be seen by an orthodontic specialist. At best, you may be able to do some kind of video call with an orthodontist, but this is not sufficient to ensure your dental issues are being taken care of.

And because these trays are not custom-made for your mouth, they can do as much harm as good. It is not uncommon for people who have used off-brand liners to later need more extensive dental work in order to fix what the aligners did to their mouths!

Choosing: Pros and Cons

The most important step in choosing between clear braces and Invisalign is a consultation with an orthodontic professional. Only an orthodontist can tell you which one is the best choice for you, however, there are some pros and cons to know about. After you evaluate these pros and cons, you can come talk to Dr. Bowman about your concerns and preferences. We will always consider your preferences as well as your budget and orthodontic needs when helping you develop the best plan for overall oral health.

Clear Braces


Clear braces are able to treat some dental issues that Invisalign is simply not able to address. If you are not a good candidate for Invisalign, ceramic braces offer a discrete way to treat more serious orthodontic concerns, and many people are very happy with how well these braces hide their treatment.

Another benefit to these braces is that they cannot be removed. Some teens and older children need a very discreet treatment to avoid issues with self-esteem or bullying, but Invisalign is not a good option for them. Some children do not yet have the maturity to take care of a removable aligner. In that case, ceramic braces are a great compromise.

They cannot be removed, so you never have to worry about a child losing an expensive tray or extending treatment because he or she keeps forgetting to put it back in. At the same time, treatment is not as obvious as with metal braces, giving the child better confidence.


There are a few downsides to these braces when compared to aligners. As with metal braces, there is always the possibility of a wire or bracket breaking, especially during sports.

Patients wearing these braces will also need to come into the office for adjustments on a regular basis; those with aligners need far fewer office visits and no adjustments. Finally, it can be difficult to clean the teeth when wearing braces of any kind, and there are restrictions on what patients can eat.



There are many reasons to consider Invisalign. This is a discrete treatment, but it’s also very comfortable. There are no adjustments needed, and there’s no chance that a wire or bracket will cut the inside of the mouth. It’s also highly convenient. If a patient needs to eat, has a sensitive social situation, or plays sports, the aligners can simply be removed.

There’s also no need to worry about brushing or flossing around a lot of complicated brackets. Instead, patients can simply brush and floss as normal. There are no food restrictions with these aligners, either. Because you can remove them to eat, you don’t have to worry about avoiding foods that might stick to the brackets. Invisalign can also sometimes work more quickly than traditional braces.


There are a few downsides to Invisalign in comparison to ceramic braces. The first is that there are some very complicated situations where this treatment is not appropriate. In some of these cases, it may be necessary to at least wear braces for a while before switching to Invisalign. In other cases, the entire treatment is best done with ceramic braces.

Invisalign also only works when the patient wears the aligner for at least 20, and ideally 22, hours a day. If the aligners are not worn for the appropriate number of hours, treatment will take much longer. Treatment may even become ineffectual if the aligners are not worn enough. This means anyone who chooses this treatment must be able to get in the habit of faithfully putting the aligners back in after eating, brushing, playing sports, etc. It’s also important that the patient not lose their aligners.

How Long Does Treatment Last?

It’s not possible to tell you exactly how long any treatment will take because it depends entirely on the individual patients and their orthodontic needs. Average treatment times are typically eight months to 30 months. We are aware, of course, that everyone wants to get this type of treatment over with as quickly as possible, so talk to us about the most effective way to shorten your treatment time.

Benefits of Orthodontic Treatment

It’s tempting to want to skip orthodontic treatment entirely. Especially when we’re young, it can seem that our teeth “work fine,” so why get them treated at all? Orthodontic treatment not only can give you a great smile, which boosts your self-confidence and improves the first impression that you make, but it can also have other far-reaching effects:

Better Health

Good health starts in your mouth, which is just about the only place where bacteria can constantly be introduced to your body. When your teeth are properly spaced and aligned, they are much easier to keep clean. Properly spaced teeth are also more effective at chewing food into appropriate sizes, which not only minimizes the long-term wear and tear on your jaw but also allows you to more easily digest your food.

Long-Term Savings

While it does cost money to have your teeth treated in the short term, having properly spaced and aligned teeth can prevent serious problems in the future. When teeth are out of place, they are more likely to be cracked or damaged when you eat something particularly tough. They are also more vulnerable to injury in accidents. And, over time, improperly spaced teeth can affect the way you speak, and even the way your face is aligned.

Find Out the Best Choice for You

If you’re interested in getting the best possible treatment for yourself or your child, come talk to us at Brodie Bowman Orthodontics in Fort Walton Beach, FL today.