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Invisible Braces and Wired Braces Comparison

Tue, Apr 10, 2012
Invisible braces or wired braces? We break down the pros and cons of each, types, treatment, duration, maintenance, and cost.
Invisible Braces and Wired Braces Comparison

Braces are medically known as orthodontic correction brackets that help even out irregular teeth and straighten the teeth according to the facial structure of the person. Often braces are also used to improve the dental structure of the concerned person. Braces hence are most popularly used by people who have misarranged teeth. Teeth placement which is misaligned can cause not only cosmetic problems but can also cause problems while chewing as well as processing of the chewed food.

Correction of the bite is another main reason to get braces. People who have over bites or under bites often opt for braces. Over bites is said to occur when the upper mandible of the person is spread out too far from the lower jaw. Under bite is when the person has a lower mandible spread farther than the upper jaw. Tension in the jaws and uncomfortable biting are common side effects of these improper bites and if the condition is left untreated it causes severe bone damage.

Some people opt for braces only for cosmetic reasons. Since pearly white, nicely arranged teeth are associated with a beautiful, sparkling smile many people use braces even though it might not be necessary. There are two major classifications of braces used by dentists: wired braces and invisible braces.

Wired Braces:

Wired braces are the traditional braces used for decades by dentists. The wired braces are usually made from stainless steel often combined with either titanium or even nickel to improve strength and durability. Hence wired braces are one of the lowest cost braces available in the market.

Invisible Braces:

The invisible braces are invisible to the naked eye and are convenient to use. The invisible braces are detachable and can be removed for daily activities like brushing and while eating. The invisible braces are specially designed by computers and need regular replacement. Since the invisible braces are made of transparent plastic they cannot be adjusted. Hence the invisible braces are changed every 2 weeks. Invisible braces for its many advantages are also one of the most expensive braces available in the market.

What to consider:

While the reasons to get wired braces generally vary from cosmetic purposes to straightening the teeth alignment, the reasons to get invisible braces is to make the treatment inconspicuous. Wired braces often mar the smile but since invisible braces is made of transparent plastic they are not immediately noticeable. However invisible braces can be used only by adults and youngsters in their late teens in comparison to wired braces which can be used by even children who have baby teeth to correct various dental problems. 

Various Types:

The wired braces are available in typically only one type which is made of stainless steel. But some manufacturers have released another type of wired braces which contains certain percentages of nickel and trace amounts of titanium to improve the durability of the braces.

Invisible braces on the other hand are available in three types: inside braces, clear braces and clear aligners.

  1. Clear braces are usually made of ceramic or materials which are more delicate than the metal used in wired braces. The brackets of clear braces are bigger than the brackets used in wired braces thus needing only small rubber bands for adjustments.
  2. Inside braces are used to correct the arrangement of the teeth using the support of the last molars. Special computer programs are used to create customized braces depending on the arrangement of teeth in every individual. Hence the inside braces are fixed to avoid any delay in the treatment unlike the removable invisible braces.
  3. Clear aligners are the most popular invisible braces available in the market. They are removable and cause minimal irritation or discomfort during the treatment. The invisible braces are not noticeable and neither stain with regular usage.


The wired braces correct the teeth alignment by first attaching metal brackets to each tooth. The brackets are then connected with a metal wire than is tightened or loosened according to the progress of the treatment. Often elastic rubber bands are also used to increase the pressure on the wired braces. The constant pressure applied helps the teeth move into the correct position.

Invisible braces on the other hand are designed by special computer programs which produce customized braces based on the face and teeth structure of every individual. The invisible braces are either made from ceramic or alumina. The invisible braces are also removable thus causing little or no discomfort during meals, flossing and cleaning of the teeth. Since the transparent plastic of the braces cannot be adjusted they need to be replaced every two weeks.

Treatment Duration:

Depending on the extent of arrangement required the duration of treatment varies. But since wired braces apply constant pressure they usually show results faster. The invisible braces on the other hand are slower in showing results. The removal during meals and brushing prevents the constant application of pressure thus delaying the treatment. Hence a treatment which might take 6-8 months with wired braces might take 12-14 months with invisible braces.


Maintaining wired braces can be tricky. The user has to keep a constant watch on the metal brackets to report any signs of wear and tear to the dentist for subsequent change. If the spoiled brackets are not changed they can lead to gum problems and sometimes even cause decay in the tooth.

Invisible braces in comparison are easier to maintain and do not cause decay or gum problems. Use of invisible braces also does not prevent consumption of acidic foods and meat unlike wired braces.


Wired braces are the most cost efficient braces available in the market. Since the wired braces do not need replacement every 2 weeks the same set will last the user for the whole duration of the treatment.

Invisible braces are more expensive and can cost you $500-$800 more than the wired braces. The replacement required every two weeks adds to the final bill. Since the transparent plastic material of the invisible braces is also quite brittle the user might need replacement in case of any damage.

By understanding the pros and cons of each type of braces can help you make an informed choice on the basis of treatment duration, cost and maintenance.

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