Updated on February 1, 2024
9 min read

Clear Braces

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What are Clear Braces?

Clear braces are a fixed orthodontic treatment for teeth misalignment. They’re sometimes called ceramic braces. They’re an esthetic alternative to metal braces.

Side view picture of womans smile with clear dental braces on

As the name suggests, clear braces are see-through, similar to clear aligners such as Invisalign. However, unlike Invisalign, they’re not removable. 

Like traditional metal braces, clear braces use wires and brackets to move your teeth. The brackets in clear braces can be made of different materials, including:

  • Ceramic
  • Plastic
  • Plastic emulator
  • Porcelain 
  • Sapphire
  • Resin
  • Zirconium

What Do Clear Braces Look Like?

The metal brackets and wires on clear braces are colored to match your teeth. Any rubber bands or elastic components are see-through or white. This makes them a lot less noticeable than traditional metal braces.

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How Do Clear Braces Work?

Clear braces work in much the same way as traditional metal braces. 

Brackets or orthodontic bands are attached to your teeth with a special glue. They hold the archwires in place while they gradually move your teeth. 

Treatment with clear braces usually takes between 18 to 24 months. Similar to regular braces, follow up appointments with a dentist and/or orthodontist occur every 4 to 6 weeks to check treatment progress.

What Alignment Issues Can Clear Braces Fix?

Clear braces can fix problems that may be too difficult to treat with clear aligners.

This includes more severe types of teeth misalignments, such as: 

  • Excessive overbites – When your upper teeth protrude past your lower teeth
  • Underbites – When your lower jaw or teeth are pushed forward
  • Crossbites – When one or more of the upper teeth bite down on the inside of the lower teeth
  • Excessive overjets – When your upper front teeth stick out too much, also known as “buck teeth”
  • Openbites – When the teeth aren’t aligned properly when the mouth is closed

Clear braces can also address complex cases, such as when there’s both crowded teeth and an underbite.

Clear Braces Vs. Metal Braces

The main difference between clear braces and metal braces is the way they look. Clear braces are made of ceramic or plastic materials, so they blend in with your teeth’s natural color and are less noticeable than metal braces.

Clear braces versus Metal braces. Medically accurate dental 3D illustration

In addition, metal braces tend to be stronger than clear braces because of their material. Metal is more durable than the material used in clear braces. 

Note: Clear braces and metal braces are different from lingual braces. Lingual braces involve the placement of brackets on the back of your teeth to make them more discreet.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Clear Braces

Here are some advantages of clear braces:

  • More affordable — While more expensive than traditional braces, clear braces are also generally more affordable than Invisalign.
  • Able to treat complex cases — Clear braces can treat more severe or complex cases of teeth misalignment than clear aligners.
  • Discreet — Clear braces are for people who want to correct their teeth misalignment but don’t want to wear traditional metal braces.

Here are some disadvantages of clear braces:

  • Dietary restrictions Due to the potential of certain foods to damage the brackets or wires, you may have to avoid hard foods. 
  • Oral health Wearing clear braces makes oral hygiene more difficult due to the presence of the brackets. 
  • Difficult upkeep – Some varieties of clear braces are more prone to staining from certain foods. They’re also more difficult to remove than metal brackets.

How Much Do Clear Braces Cost?

The per-arch cost for treatment with clear braces is usually between $4,000 and $8,000. This varies depending on the brand.

Here are some brands of ceramic braces and their costs per arch:

  • Damon Clear — $1,900 to $4,000
  • Clarity Advanced — $2,200 to $4,700
  • InVu — $2,300 to $4,300
  • Clarity SL — $2,500 to $5,000
  • Radiance Plus — $2,500 to $5,000

On average, treatment with clear braces costs $1,000 more per arch than traditional braces. But clear braces are potentially more affordable than Invisalign, which can range between $3,500 to $9,000.

Oral Hygiene With Clear Braces

Having fixed braces means taking extra care of your oral hygiene. Here are some tips to follow when wearing clear braces:

  •  Brush 30 minutes after each meal to remove food debris and bacteria from the brackets and wires (it’s recommended to use an interdental brush)
  • Floss at least once daily to remove any food stuck in between the braces
  • Avoid foods and drinks that can stain your braces, such as coffee, wine, tea, and dark colored food
  • Visit your orthodontist regularly for cleanings and adjustments

Straighten your teeth at a fraction of the cost. Learn about clear aligners.

What Are Clear Aligners?

Clear aligners (invisible aligners) are a removable orthodontic treatment that helps you achieve straight teeth. They’re a popular alternative for people who wear traditional braces because they’re less visible. 

Cropped shot of a womans Hand Putting Transparent Night Time Aligner In Blue Case

One of the most popular clear aligner brands on the market is Invisalign. Invisalign braces consist of a series of plastic trays custom-fitted to your mouth. They gradually move your crooked teeth into the desired position.

Unlike traditional metal braces, you can remove clear aligners when eating, brushing, or flossing. This makes them much more convenient and comfortable for many people.

How Do Clear Aligners Work?

Clear aligners work by gradually moving your teeth. You’ll wear custom-fitted trays that fit your upper and lower teeth. 

Your orthodontist will give you a set of aligners. You’ll wear each set for about two weeks. The treatment time for clear aligners is around 12 to 18 months, depending on the severity of your condition.

Types of Clear Aligners

There are three types of clear aligners: in-office, at-home, and hybrid. Here’s how they differ:


In-office aligners involve regularly visiting an orthodontist in their office. They’ll use special tools to create your aligners and check your progress. After the treatment, you may need to return for regular follow-up visits and adjustments.


At-home aligners don’t require visits to the orthodontist. You’ll receive an impression kit in the mail, and you’ll use this impression kit to create the molds of your teeth. The molds will be sent back to your orthodontist to create your aligners. The entire process happens remotely.


This setup combines visiting your orthodontist and monitoring your progress remotely. Sometimes, the company will initially require you to visit an orthodontist. After the orthodontist checks your teeth, the rest of the treatment is monitored remotely. 

What Alignment Issues Can Clear Aligners Fix?

Clear aligners are used to fix minor to moderate alignment problems. These include:

  • Crooked teeth
  • Gaps in the teeth
  • Gap teeth
  • Crossbites
  • Crowded teeth
  • Overlapping teeth

Remember that clear aligners aren’t suitable for straightening teeth if you have severe alignment issues. Wearing braces or other orthodontic treatments is more suitable for severe conditions. 

Advantages and Disadvantages of Clear Aligners

Here are some advantages of clear aligners:

  • Removable —  This makes keeping up with your oral health easier since brushing and flossing your teeth is easier. It also means there are no dietary restrictions.
  • Fast — Invisible teeth aligners typically straighten teeth faster than braces (though this may be because they can only be used to treat mild to moderate teeth misalignments). 
  • Comfortable — Clear aligners tend to be more comfortable than braces.
  • Convenient — Fewer trips to the dentist’s or orthodontist’s office are required. In some cases, you don’t have to visit the orthodontist at all. 

Here are some disadvantages of clear aligners:

  • Limited effectiveness – They can’t treat severe or complex cases
  • Compliance – Being removable means that the treatment outcome is dependent on the wearer. 

How Much Do Clear Aligners Cost?

Aside from Invisalign, there are also various at-home clear aligners to choose from. 

Here’s how some of them compare:

Hybrid Model of CareFast TreatmentBudget Aligner OptionOriginal At-Home AlignerBudget Aligner Option
Cost$3,300 (varies by provider)$1,999 to $2,399$875 to $1,075$2,250$1,395 to $1,595
Treatment Length4 to 12 months4 to 12 months4 to 6 months8 to 12 months4 to 6 months
Financing AvailableDepends on provider
In-Office ConsultationXX

Which Teeth Straightening Option is Right for Me?

The right teeth straightening option for you will depend on your needs and preferences. Here are some factors to consider when choosing teeth straightening treatment:

Severity of Misalignment

The severity of your condition usually determines what kind of teeth straightening suits you. 

People with mild to moderate misalignment can achieve their desired results with invisible aligners. However, more severe cases may require braces or other orthodontic treatments. 

Treatment Duration:

Opt for invisible aligners to achieve quicker results. This orthodontic treatment promises results as early as four months. 


The cost of treatment is also a factor to consider when choosing orthodontic treatment. Clear braces may be more affordable than in-office aligners, but that’s not always true. 

Sometimes, clear aligner brands offer freebies with their impression kit. They may offer a free teeth whitening kit, free retainers, or other types of discounts. This can make the treatment more affordable than usual. 

Comfort and Convenience

Invisible aligners offer more comfort and convenience than braces. You can remove them when necessary.

However, you may need to adjust your lifestyle when opting for clear braces. You must avoid consuming certain foods and drinks that can damage or stain the brackets or wires.

Find the best at-home clear aligners for mild misalignment. See our expert recommendations.


  • Clear braces and clear aligners are both popular orthodontic treatments.
  • Some main differences between the two are treatment duration, cost, and the types of teeth misalignments that can be treated.
  • Both offer different advantages and disadvantages, so consider those before deciding on a teeth straightening treatment.
  • Consult your orthodontist or a dental professional before starting a teeth straightening treatment.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does dental insurance cover clear braces and clear aligners?

Insurance coverage will depend on your insurance provider. Many insurance providers may not cover the costs of clear braces or aligners because they’re considered cosmetic treatments. 

Contact your insurance provider to know more about your coverage. 

How are clear braces placed?

To place clear braces, the orthodontist will attach ceramic brackets to the front of each tooth and then thread a wire through the brackets. The orthodontist will then tighten the wire and adjust it as needed during visits.

Do clear braces turn yellow?

Unfortunately, clear braces may turn yellow when not cared for properly. You can prevent clear braces from turning yellow by practicing good oral hygiene. Avoid highly staining foods and drinks and refrain from smoking as well. 

Are there any food restrictions when wearing clear braces?

You must avoid eating crunchy, sticky, and hard foods while wearing clear braces, as these can damage the brackets or wire. You should also avoid dark foods and liquids, which can stain your brackets. It’s also important to brush and floss regularly while wearing braces.

Are clear braces effective?

Yes, clear braces are an effective way to straighten your teeth. They work as well as traditional metal braces. Remember to follow your orthodontist’s instructions to ensure you achieve your desired results. 

What’s Next?

Discover the best fit for your smile.

Explore top at-home clear aligner brands.

Last updated on February 1, 2024
6 Sources Cited
Last updated on February 1, 2024
All NewMouth content is medically reviewed and fact-checked by a licensed dentist or orthodontist to ensure the information is factual, current, and relevant.

We have strict sourcing guidelines and only cite from current scientific research, such as scholarly articles, dentistry textbooks, government agencies, and medical journals. This also includes information provided by the American Dental Association (ADA), the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO), and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
  1. 3 Benefits of Clear Braces.” Alexandria Old Town Dental Alexandria Virginia, 2020.
  2. Misaligned teeth and jaws: Treatment with fixed braces.” InformedHealth.org, 2006.
  3. Ke et al. “A comparison of treatment effectiveness between clear aligner and fixed appliance therapies.” BMC Oral Health, 2019.
  4. The Difference Between Clear Braces and Invisalign Treatment.” Love Orthodontics.
  5. Clear Aligners vs Braces – What’s Best For Me.” My HM Dentist.
  6. Types of Braces.” Natural Smiles.
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