Clear Aligners vs. braces: What’s the difference & which should I get?

Do you wish you had braces as a kid? Or maybe you had braces but didn’t wear your retainer, and now your teeth have shifted? Either way, the idea of getting braces nowadays may make you cringe.

Fortunately, orthodontic treatment has come a long way, and braces aren’t your only option anymore. If you’re looking to straighten your teeth but aren’t familiar with clear aligners, you’ll want to know all of your treatment options.

Understanding the Basics

How do braces work?
Traditional braces have metal brackets that are glued to your teeth, with metal wires that connect the brackets. Each bracket has a colored rubber band, or elastic, that secures the wire to the brackets.

Throughout braces treatment, you’ll visit your doctor every 4 to 6 weeks to have your braces “tightened.” This involves replacing wires and rubber bands to maintain pressure on teeth.

How do clear aligners work?
Clear aligners are a modern solution and alternative to braces. They’re made of transparent plastic, which makes them virtually-invisible when in place.

Clear aligners are custom-made to fit snugly over your teeth. They work in a series of sets – with one clear aligner for the top teeth and one for the bottom. Every two weeks or so (depending on your personalized treatment plan), you simply replace your current clear aligners with your next set of aligners. Each clear aligner set is designed to guide your teeth one step closer to their beautiful new formation.

Throughout clear aligner treatment, you get to complete virtual check-ins, only visiting us every 12 to 16 weeks or less! No unnecessary driving or energy needed.

Braces vs Aligners: Pros and Cons

Now that you know how braces and clear aligners work, how do you know which treatment is right for you? Let’s weigh the pros and cons.


Traditional braces are undeniably noticeable due to their metal brackets and wires. Even clear braces are noticeable from a distance. One of the reasons many people choose clear aligners is because the appearance of braces may impact a person’s professional or social life.

Clear Aligners
Clear aligners have a very discreet appearance. They’re virtually invisible and undetectable and won’t draw attention when you’re speaking or smiling. You can straighten your teeth with clear aligners without anyone knowing!


Every time you get your braces tightened (every 4 weeks or so), you will feel increased pressure and soreness for a few days. This can require you to switch to a soft diet and take pain relievers.

Metal brackets and wires can also hurt your cheeks and tongue, and require numbing gel or wax to cover the brackets. They also have an increased risk of brackets or wires popping out of place, falling off or loosening, which can be uncomfortable and can require you to visit your doctor earlier than planned.

Clear Aligners
Clear aligners are made from smooth plastic and are generally more comfortable than braces. There are no metal parts to cause irritation, and they apply gentler, more consistent pressure to the teeth. There are no tightening appointments and no extra pieces to break or fall off, which means no emergency appointments.


Certain foods must be avoided during braces treatment in order to prevent damaging your brackets or wires, and meticulous cleaning is needed to maintain oral hygiene. You may have to use specialized flossers to be able to reach between wires. Food particles and debris can become stuck around brackets and make it awkward to eat around people.

Clear Aligners
Clear aligners can be removed when eating, drinking, brushing, and flossing. You can reach all surfaces and areas of your teeth and clean them the same way you did before treatment.

You can remove your clear aligners to deep clean them, and you don’t have to change your diet at all. Simply remove your clear aligners and eat your favorite foods. Then rinse them out and pop them back in place.

What is the difference between clear aligners and clear braces?

Clear braces are similar to traditional metal braces, except they use ceramic brackets that match the color of the teeth. While they are less noticeable than metal braces, they are still easily detectable and add a bulkiness to your teeth.

They also still involve brackets and wires, which can cause discomfort and require dietary restrictions. It’s particularly important to avoid food and drinks that can stain your clear brackets, so drinking wine and coffee should be limited or avoided with clear braces.

As you know, clear aligners are removable and made of smooth, transparent plastic, making them less intrusive in daily life. Wine and coffee are still on the table, and poking metal brackets or wires aren’t possible!

Who can get clear aligners?

Teens and adults
Clear aligners are an excellent choice for both teens and adults. Whether you’re a professional adult or a social teen, clear aligners are an ideal solution.

Active lifestyles
Since clear aligners are removable, they can be taken out during sports activities, reducing the risk of injury from metal brackets and wires.

Busy schedules
For those with busy schedules, clear aligners offer the convenience of fewer dental visits. Patients receive multiple sets of aligners at once and can change them at home, making it easier to fit orthodontic treatment into a hectic routine.

What to expect with clear aligners

At Secure Dental, we’re committed to helping you achieve and maintain a beautiful, healthy smile. We offer professional ClearCorrect® clear aligner treatment with a highly-convenient treatment experience.

1.Get started from home!
You don’t have to leave the house to find out if clear aligners are right for you. Simply click the SmileSnap button in the bottom right corner, snap some photos of your smile, and send them to us, and we’ll send you a cost estimate and a treatment plan!

      2. Come see us!
      Next, you’ll come to see us for a quick in-person scan and confirmation of treatment. We’ll work out a custom financing plan, explain the treatment process to you, and start your journey.

      3. Get convenient, virtual care from home.
      Once you start wearing your clear aligners, you’ll complete convenient virtual check-ins through an easy, secured app. Complete check-ins on your own terms—from wherever and whenever. You can connect with our team and track your progress right from the app.

      Get started today.

      In the debate of braces vs. aligners, clear aligners are the clear winner in appearance, convenience, and comfort.

      Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us with any questions about ClearCorrect clear aligners, and take the first step today!

      Click the SmileSnap button in the bottom right corner to get started, or schedule an appointment with us at one of our convenient dentist offices in Schaumburg, IL, Portage, IN, Lake Station, IN, Hammond, IN, Foster Ave., Chicago, IL, East Peoria, IL, Moline, IL, or Davenport, IA.