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Clear Braces vs Metal Braces: What Is the Difference?

Getting braces used to require sporting large bulky brackets in your mouth, dealing with the pain and discomfort of metal rubbing against your lips, and wearing cumbersome, unattractive headgear. Thankfully, those days are gone. Today, patients have an abundance of options from which to choose that feature smaller brackets and greater comfort. Today’s challenge is determining what sort of braces to get, especially in the debate over clear braces vs metal braces. At Nasser Children and Adult Orthodontics in Shreveport, Louisiana, we offer many options in both clear and metal braces.

Time for a Correction

Whether you have crowded or crooked teeth, large gaps, jaw issues, an underbite, or an overbite, there are probably several types of braces that could address your dental issue, meet your desired aesthetic, and stay within your budget. Once you set up your appointment for your initial examination, we will review your particular orthodontic problem, your treatment alternatives, and their cost. Prior to your appointment, however, it might be beneficial to have some basic knowledge of the differences between clear and metal braces.

Clear Braces

Although there are actually several types of clear braces from which to choose, there are some fundamental facts that pertain to all braces in this category. Clearly, one of the main reasons for the popularity of clear braces is that they are, literally, clear. Because they blend in more with your tooth color and feature less prominent brackets, clear braces appeal to those patients desiring to minimize the appearance of braces.

When having clear braces installed, small brackets are first bonded to your teeth. The brackets are made of either ceramic or plastic, and both materials function in the same way. The bonding agent that is used to affix the brackets to your teeth is somewhat different than the cement used in metal braces; this may mean easier removal of the bonding agent when it is time to remove your braces.

After that, an archwire is attached to the bracket. This is either a clear, elastic tie or a white metal tie. These light-colored ties coupled with the clear brackets enable your braces to be less conspicuous.

Damon Clear

Also referred to as Damon Smile, these braces offer smooth, rounded contours that enhance comfort. Since they are self-ligating (meaning they do not require rubber bands), they are high functioning, resulting in teeth that move quickly and comfortably. Wire changes, too, are performed efficiently, which is always a benefit to the patient.

Nearly invisible, Damon Clear braces use cutting-edge technology to achieve excellent results while maintaining a clear, attractive aesthetic for the patient. These braces are the perfect option for someone who wants to minimize the look of braces and the length of treatment.

In-Ovation C

Another option in the clear braces category is In-Ovation C, which features ceramic brackets. Also self-ligating, these braces feature interactive control. This means that the orthodontist is able to regulate the proper level of control for each stage of the treatment process.

Due to this use of new technology, patients find that they achieve better results in a much more timely fashion. Since less time spent in the orthodontist’s office means fewer appointments, In-Ovation C is often a popular choice for adults who want quick results and an excellent outcome.

3M Unitek Clarity Advanced

For those patients seeking both comfort and high-quality treatment, 3M Unitek Clarity Advanced offers both. Using ceramic materials, the brackets on these braces include a small size with rounded corners to lessen irritation and rubbing. The translucent color blends in easily with your teeth, resulting in an inconspicuous look. These braces are easily applied and easily removed. Anyone desiring comfort and a discreet appearance would be well advised to consider the Clarity Advanced.

Metal Braces

Viewed as the more traditional method of fixing one’s teeth, the modern version of metal braces cements itself as a viable option when choosing between clear braces vs metal braces. Today’s metal braces are much smaller than those of years past, and they are customizable, as well. Because of their value and effectiveness, metal braces remain the most common option.

The General Process

When having metal braces put in, the first step requires installing the bracket. Made primarily from stainless steel alloy, metal brackets also commonly include titanium, nickel, and even gold. Chromium is often added to prevent corrosion of the stainless steel, and molybdenum is added to prevent pitting. The orthodontist uses cement to attach the brackets, and we may fix brackets onto a whole row of teeth or just a few teeth, depending on the desired outcome.

Once the brackets are installed, a metal archwire slips into the slots on the brackets. The thickness of the archwire will be determined by the doctor. Typically, a thicker archwire applies more pressure to the teeth, causing more movement and quicker results. Conventional ties hold the archwire in place, or the ties may be self-ligating, requiring no ties at all.

Just as with clear braces, there are a few options to select from within the metal braces category itself:

Damon System

Because of its passive self-ligating system, Damon braces provide excellent treatment over a shorter duration. Studies have shown, in fact, that the length of treatment with the Damon System can be reduced by as much as seven months, thus also decreasing the number of patient appointments over time.

In addition to the time benefit, there is greater comfort for the patient, and there is often less need for surgery or extraction with this method. Patients who seek superior, speedy results while maintaining comfort often choose the Damon System as a metal braces option.

Ormco Self-Ligation

For those patients who want solid performance that is also cost-effective, Ormco self-ligation braces have a proven track record. The brackets are sturdy and reliable: a feature that helps factor into the value of this system. Ormco prides itself on its superior craftsmanship and technology, and due to the self-ligating feature, patients may experience less discomfort, effective treatment, and reduced cost.

Clear Braces vs Metal Braces

Advantages of Clear Braces

Probably the most obvious advantage of clear braces when comparing clear braces vs. metal braces is the inconspicuous look. Since the brackets are clear, and the wire is either clear or made of white metal, many patients find that their braces are barely visible when seen from a distance. If a clear wire is used, the braces blend in even more.

Surprisingly, the brackets used with clear braces are not just durable, but they are actually very strong and sturdy, as well. The bonding agent, too, which is quite resilient, is also easy to remove, resulting in greater comfort on the part of the patient. If you are someone who wants a better smile without the look of traditional metal braces, you may be a good candidate for clear braces.

Advantages of Metal Braces

Because of the decrease in bracket size over the years, metal braces do not result in the same cumbersome look that they once did. In addition, metal braces are extremely sturdy and reliable. Because of their stability, it is rare that a bracket will have to be replaced because it is broken, possibly resulting in fewer trips to the orthodontist.

Furthermore, the fact that modern metal braces now feature self-ligation means that they are also much more comfortable than they used to be. Finally, metal braces are generally less expensive than clear braces. This means that if you are someone who desires reliable and effective treatment with a cost-effective option, metal braces might be the option for you.

Making the Right Choice

Clearly, making the decision to go with clear braces vs metal braces is a major decision. First and foremost, the specific nature of your orthodontic problem may come into play. Depending on the nature of your problem—a jaw issue, crowded or crooked teeth, bite issues, and so forth—we may recommend one type of braces over another.

If, however, the desired result can be obtained from either clear or metal braces and the choice is yours, you will want to make sure that the choice you make takes into consideration all of the pertinent facts as they apply to you and your particular situation.


First, you may want to consider the look of your new technology. Making sure that you are satisfied with the aesthetic may be important to many patients, which means that in a majority of cases, clear braces will be an excellent option. If, however, you determine that wearing metal braces is a perfectly attractive course of action, this may be the preferred choice for you. Either way, both types of braces offered nowadays feature smaller bracket sizes.


When making the choice between clear braces or metal braces, know that both have features that allow the patient to achieve excellent results in comfort. In this case, it may be a good idea to look at the specific brands offered by the orthodontist since the rounded contours extolled by the Damon Clear and the Clarity Advanced are great examples of clear braces that provide that benefit, while the metal braces of the Damon System succeed in enhancing patient comfort, as well.


Time can play an important role in this decision-making process. Metal braces are so sturdy that you may never need an additional trip to the orthodontist to replace a broken bracket, and their overall stability, such as that seen with the Damon System, may decrease the amount of time that you need to wear braces. There are, however, several types of clear braces that also excel at getting the desired result in quick fashion. Wearers of both the Damon Clear and the In-Ovation C have found speedy results with their technology.


Finally, the expense of your treatment may be an important factor too. Typically, metal braces offer the most cost-effective result with the Ormco Self-Ligation braces providing good performance at a reasonable rate. If however, you opt for clear braces, there are variations to be found in cost within this category.

Your Path to a Better Smile

Armed with a wealth of knowledge about the differences between clear braces vs metal braces, you should be more than ready to begin thinking about an orthodontic procedure for you or a family member. In order to avoid potential headaches, speech issues, chewing problems, gum disease, or tooth decay, it is important to take that first step and consult with an orthodontist as soon as possible.

Call Nasser Children and Adult Orthodontics in Shreveport, LA today. In consultation with Dr. Nasser, you can make the determination as to which sort of braces are the best for you, and you will be well on your way to a healthy, beautiful smile.

Discover Your Smile’s Potential