What Are the Differences Between Metal Braces and Plastic Aligners?

Braces for teens and adults can help correct misaligned, crooked, crowded, and overlapping teeth. Metal braces and plastic aligners are distinct but can improve oral health and teeth aesthetics. Here are the differences between metal braces and plastic aligners:


Metal braces feature metal brackets and wires attached to the teeth during treatment. Plastic aligners like Invisalign are made of clear plastic trays that fit over the teeth. The metallic appearance of dental braces for teens and adults makes them more noticeable than plastic aligners.

Plastic aligners have no metal components, such as brackets or wires, making them less conspicuous when worn. Braces have a metallic look, but patients can customize the appearance by choosing colored elastic bands. Teens and adults can pick elastic bands in different colors like clear, pink, blue, green, red, yellow, and purple.


Metal braces and plastic aligners can be beneficial for straightening teeth, but their efficacies vary. Braces often help rectify complex issues like severe misalignments, overbites, underbites, and crowded teeth. If you have mild to moderate teeth cases like minor crowding, spacing, and mild bite, plastic aligners can be a good option.

Braces allow orthodontists to have meticulous control over how and where each tooth moves. The controlled tooth movement helps achieve a well-aligned and functional bite. Once metal braces are attached to the teeth, they move the teeth into the desired positions, unlike plastic aligners, which are removable.

Treatment Process

Braces installation entails attaching metal brackets to the teeth using a special adhesive and securing them with wires and bands. With plastic aligners, orthodontists use software to create personalized clear plastic aligner trays. Patients receive a series of aligners customized for their mouths. 

Trays in plastic aligners help shift teeth gradually. Patients with plastic aligners have regular checkups with an orthodontist to check their progress and get another set of trays. With braces, patients have to visit an orthodontist after several weeks for routine adjustments. During these appointments, the orthodontist tightens or changes the wires to facilitate the proper movement. 


Metal braces have wires, brackets, and bands that require special care to keep them clean. You can use tools like floss threaders and interdental brushes to clean braces. If you have metal braces, avoid sticky candies, hard foods, and chewing gum that could damage your dental appliances. Brush after every meal and before bedtime, using a soft-bristle toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste to maintain oral health. 

Aligners are removable, making it easy to maintain good oral hygiene. Patients can take them out to brush and floss their teeth normally. Plastic aligners have no dietary restrictions, meaning you can eat all types of food without ruining the aligners. You can soak your aligners in a cleaning solution to remove buildup. 

Get Braces for Teens and Adults

Braces for teens and adults can help enhance speech by correcting malocclusions and severe misalignments. Orthodontists design personalized treatment plans based on each patient's unique dental needs and jaw structure. The customization boosts the effectiveness of metal braces. After treatment, you can wear retainers to keep teeth in the correct positions. Seek the services of a reputable orthodontist near you to get started. 

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