Are Clear Aligners As Good As Braces?

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Gapped and crooked teeth can significantly impact someone’s oral health. Technology has made it easier to straighten teeth, improving the appearance of your smile and making it easier to chew food and speak. For clear aligners and braces, Thrive Dental Studio in Portland, Maine, is a great option for oral hygiene and treatment options to achieve straight teeth for a beautiful smile.

Overview of clear aligners and braces 

Clear aligners are also known as invisible braces. As the name suggests, they are made from clear medical-grade plastic and customized for your teeth. They work by applying pressure to the teeth step-by-step until they reach the final desired position. They do not have wires and are removable for flexibility. 

On the other hand, traditional braces are made from porcelain or metal and then placed on each tooth. They use a wire that connects one bracket to another to straighten each tooth individually. Like the clear aligner braces, the wire and the brace put slight pressure on each tooth to shift it gradually to the desired position. 

When should someone get clear aligners?

Doctors recommend clear plastic aligners to patients who want a more discreet orthodontic treatment option to straighten their teeth. The patient must also be willing to keep them in place for 20 to 22 hours a day, removing them only to eat, brush or floss regularly. 


  • Appearance: Clear plastic Invisalign aligners are custom-made for a patient’s teeth and made from clear plastic. Therefore, they are nearly invisible from a distance. 
  • Removable: Patients who wear clear aligners do not have to avoid their favorite foods as they can remove them before eating and replace them immediately after. Additionally, they maintain proper hygiene by removing the aligner to floss and brush.
  • Comfort: Plastic aligners are smoother than metal braces and fit flush to the teeth. Therefore, patients are much more comfortable and the inside of the mouth, i.e., cheeks and lips, are less irritated.
  • Less orthodontic appointments: Patients with busy schedules may find aligners easier as they rarely need a doctor visit for an adjustment. 


  • Limited: Unlike braces, aligners are not suitable for every correction. Complex situations require braces if you want to achieve the desired outcome.
  • Compliance: As mentioned above, patients must keep clear aligners in the mouth for 20 to 22 hours daily for better results.
  • Cost: Although braces and clear aligners may cost the same in some cases, aligners are generally costly. Kids are also prone to losing aligners which is an additional cost. 

When should someone consider getting braces?

Braces have been a go-to teeth-straighten option for a couple of reasons. They are commonly suitable for people who require complex corrections. 


  • Complex corrections: As discussed, this option works for complex cases as it adheres directly to each tooth, making it more powerful.
  • Multiple options: Patients can choose between porcelain, metal, and ceramic braces. In addition, there is a behind-teeth(lingual) option for a more discreet appearance.
  • Non-removable: Wearers cannot forget or lose them as they are fixed to the teeth. This is an added advantage to patients who are less motivated to have them. 


  • Hygiene: It is more challenging for patients to brush their teeth with braces.
  • Comfort: They may cause irritation and cuts in the mouth, which is uncomfortable to many.
  • Appearance: Unlike clear aligners, metal braces are easily noticeable. Ceramic and lingual braces are also more obvious than clear aligners.
  • Diet: The patient must stick to a strict diet that avoids hard and sugary foods. Hard foods slow treatment, while sticky foods make teeth prone to decay with braces. 

Contact Our Dental Office for More Information

At Thrive Dental Studio, we have multiple options for regular braces and Invisalign braces to see a significant difference in the appearance of your smile. Dr. Figueiredo and his team of specialists in Portland, ME, will examine your condition and determine the best results for an effective treatment plan to achieve a straight smile. You don’t have to deal with a crooked smile any longer; schedule an appointment with us today. 

Dan Figueiredo, DMD

Dan Figueiredo, DMD

Dr. Dan Figueiredo, a graduate of Tufts University School of Dentistry, blends his artistic talent and scientific acumen to provide high-quality, patient-centric dental care in Maine. Recognized for his transparent communication and his commitment to continuous learning, he stays abreast of the latest dental advancements through regular attendance at esteemed dental institutes and continuous education courses. Beyond his practice, he passionately embraces Maine’s outdoor heritage, participating in competitive trap and sporting clays shooting, engaging in seasonal outdoor activities, and eagerly anticipating his next international travel adventure.