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Clear vs. Metal Braces

January 12th, 2022


The comparison between clear and metal braces is a common idea when searching for orthodontic treatments, both offering patients great choices in their smile journey. Metal braces, the traditional option, are known for their reliability and ability to make precise corrections, although some may find their appearance less appealing. On the other hand, clear braces, made from ceramic or clear plastic, provide a more subtle look but sometimes require more delicate care due to the materials used. Factors to consider when choosing between the two include visibility, durability, affordability, maintenance, and comfort. It’s important to consult with your orthodontist to determine the best option based on individual needs and preferences.

Regardless of age, children and adults both may find the need to seek out braces to realign their teeth at some point – and with this choice comes a decision to make.

Should you look into standard metal braces, or do you wish to look into less noticeable, ‘clear’ braces?

Whether you’re looking for an orthodontist in San Francisco or another city, we can help provide additional information to help you determine what’s best for your smile.

Metal Braces – Traditional, Tried, and True

With metal brackets attached to each tooth and a metal wire secured with elastic bands, this form of braces has been the standard in orthodontics for many years.

Made with stainless steel, metal braces are reliable for more precise corrections an orthodontist may need to make, which means treatment is consistent and well-paced.

Braces made from stainless steel can also sustain larger types of adjustments if they become required.

The downside, however, is mostly in the form of their general aesthetics – which may especially be disheartening for those who are self-conscious about their appearance or their teeth if they need braces.

You can consider customization and minor personalization options with metal braces in the form of colored bands.

Clear Braces – Sleek Subtlety in Your Smile

If you feel embarrassed at the thought of needing braces or are generally self-conscious, there is an alternative available.

Clear braces are made from either ceramic or clear plastic material and they blend in effortlessly with the teeth, which is their primary advantage.

Metal or Clear – Selecting What Will Make Your Smile Endear

Before we discuss a few of the points to consider when making a decision, it’s always recommended to consult with your orthodontist about all of your options.

They can help you decide on which may be more suited to your needs, budget, concerns, and most importantly, the health and shape of your teeth.

Earlier, we’ve mentioned the differences in both visibility and durability of metal braces versus clear braces. But there are a few other points to consider when selecting between the two.

In terms of affordability, both types of braces are sometimes covered with a healthcare plan or with insurance.

Clear braces are also prone to potential discoloration than metal-made braces, which are more resilient and resistant to staining – meaning that consuming food or beverages that are typical stainers (wine, coffee, pop, etc).

Both types of braces require finesse with one’s regular oral hygiene routine. This is especially true for any lodged food or debris that may get stuck in a set of braces.

Comfort is another factor worth mentioning for your consideration.

Metal braces might irritate the gums and soft tissue of the mouth over time, especially when you’ve either started to wear them or get an adjustment.  This can lead to mouth sores, which cause discomfort.

Clear braces, on the other hand, do not irritate the mouth as much as those made out of metal due to their lighter-weight materials.


In conclusion, the choice between clear and metal braces involves considering various factors such as visibility, durability, affordability, maintenance, and comfort. While metal braces offer reliability and precision in corrections, they may be less aesthetically pleasing and require care with your oral hygiene. On the other hand, clear braces provide a subtle look but can sometimes necessitate careful maintenance due to their material’s fragility. Consultation with your orthodontist is the best step to determine the right option for you.

Additionally, factors like insurance coverage, potential for discoloration, and comfort level should also influence the decision-making process. Ultimately, the decision between clear and metal braces should prioritize both effective treatment and patient satisfaction for the best outcome. Contact the friendly team at Camilo Riaño Orthodontics to learn more about your options today!

Contact Camilo Riaño: Your San Francisco Orthodontist

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San Francisco, CA 94102

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