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Clear vs. Metal Braces: Cost, Pros & Cons

Clear and metal braces are both great options to straighten your teeth. Learn which one might be slightly better for your given situation.

Last updated on

July 19, 2023

Katharine Hall

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Clear vs. Metal Braces: Cost, Pros & Cons

Let’s face it – no one really wants to get braces. They can limit the foods you eat, feel a little uncomfortable, and look a little bit unsightly. But the end result is super satisfying, and it’s something that is definitely worth all of the effort that goes in.

But you also might as well make sure that you’re getting the best braces for the job, and doing a little bit of research before you jump into the orthodontist chair can save you treatment time, money, and a headache later on.

Here’s what you should know about the two main types of braces: clear and metal. Then, we’ll take a look at the pros, the cons, and the cost of each.

What Are Metal Braces?

When you picture a set of braces, you’re likely picturing a set of metal ones. Metal braces are the quintessential treatment for alignment issues that adhere to brackets on your teeth. Over time, these brackets are tightened to help shift your teeth into their correct position to enhance your smile.

Metal braces are made of high-grade stainless steel. They straighten your teeth using metal brackets and wires that can be customized with colorful elastics (rubber bands) that give you a more unique smile.

What Are Clear Braces?

Clear braces work in pretty much the same way as metal braces, but the main difference is that they are made of frosted wires that match your teeth and ceramic brackets. This makes them less noticeable compared to traditional braces.

But clear braces are just as effective as traditional metal braces in straightening your teeth. 

Pros and Cons of Metal Braces

Metal braces are the traditional method for straightening your teeth. Here are some of the reasons why you might want to choose this option or perhaps go with a different method.


Metal braces are one of the most effective options for straightening your teeth. They are more durable than clear braces and can hold up for more extensive adjustment. As such, treatment can move along at a better, faster pace. They also don’t require much maintenance outside of brushing and flossing.

Plus, metal braces tend to be a little less expensive compared to clear braces, which is nice, especially if your insurance won’t cover the cost of cosmetic treatments, like braces, to begin with.


The major drawback of metal braces is that they can be unsightly. It’s hard not to notice metal, colorful braces on your teeth. While it is nothing to be ashamed of, it is common to feel a tad self-conscious when you need to have these in your mouth.

Pros and Cons of Clear Braces

Clear braces are a welcome alternative to traditional braces for many reasons, but they might not be suitable for everyone.

Here’s what you need to know about their advantages and drawbacks:


A considerable benefit of clear braces is that they are much more discreet and less noticeable than traditional braces since they are colored to appear just like your natural teeth. If you have a conversation with someone with clear braces, you might not even notice that they have them in.


While clear braces can go almost unnoticed, that comes at a bit of a price. Literally — ceramic braces tend to be a little more expensive than metal braces. Ceramic materials aren’t as commonly found in orthodontic offices.

Additionally, it can take longer for clear braces to get the job done since the materials are not as strong and durable. So it’s sort of like a double-edged sword. They’re more discreet than metal braces, but you’ll need to keep them in for a longer period of time.

Metal Braces vs. Clear: Which Is Right for You?

The bottom line is that there is really no functional difference between these two different types of braces, so you can’t go wrong with either one. It will mainly just come down to your personal preferences.

Clear braces are much less noticeable, so if you want something more discreet, then this is probably what you’ll want to go with. However, if your goal is to get your teeth as straight as possible in as little time as necessary, then metal braces might be the better bet.

Some people also like the ability to choose their color of braces, so metal braces would make more sense.

What Is the Cost of Braces?

Ceramic, clear braces are quite a bit more expensive than metal braces. Typically, you can expect to pay anywhere from $1,500 to $4,000 more for ceramic braces over metal options. And that’s already on top of the base price of a metal brace, which can range upwards of $8,000.

What’s even more challenging about braces is that, since they are considered a cosmetic treatment, most dental insurance plans do not cover the cost. This means you’re stuck paying thousands out of pocket for your treatment. Some offices may offer payment plans, but you’re still stuck with a large bill when all is said and done. 

Accessibility and Predictability: Flossy

Flossy can be an alternative to dental insurance or a supplemental discount for procedures not covered by insurance. You can save up to 50% on common dental treatments, including clear and metal braces, why pay more than you need to?

There are no monthly membership dues or annual premiums, so you don’t need to worry about monthly insurance bills or whether or not you’re covered. There’s no waiting period after signing up, so you can get the care you need immediately without wasting a second.

While that might seem too good to be true, rest assured that the providers in our network are vetted against a set of rigorous criteria, including patient reviews and licensure from accredited dental programs. So you can have confidence in your procedure even at such a low price point. From checkups to teeth whitening to teeth straightening, Flossy has your back. 

Contact a dentist in your city today and get started toward your best, most beautiful smile.

Clear Braces vs. Clear Aligners

Clear braces are still a type of bracket that goes over your teeth in a more discreet manner — they are not clear aligners. These are two completely different things, and you might be in the market for clear aligners if you ask for clear braces.

Clear aligners, often called Invisalign, are plastic trays that fit over your teeth. Gradually as time progresses, you’ll swap these out for different sets of aligners that help get your teeth exactly where they need to be for a perfect smile. Invisalign treatment generally takes six to 12 months. 

Invisible aligners are even more discreet than clear braces. Invisible braces almost look like you’re wearing a retainer, so you might never know that someone is wearing them unless they tell you. Another benefit of clear aligners is that they are removable, so you can (and should) take them out before eating or drinking.

That flexibility is also one of its drawbacks. Clear aligners have more room for error as opposed to braces because you have the option to take them out. If you lose your aligners or choose not to wear them, it can affect the outcome of your treatment as opposed to braces, which cannot be removed without professional assistance.

What Are Lingual Braces?

If you’re looking for treatment options that look invisible, but you’re not satisfied by clear aligners or clear braces, then lingual braces might be a good fit for you. These can help address overbite, underbite, malocclusion, and more by placing brackets on the back of your teeth rather than on the front.

Lingual braces work like traditional metal braces, except they adhere to the back teeth. They are usually only applicable for more minor cases of crooked teeth, but your dentist can help come up with a treatment plan that works for you.

While lingual braces are virtually invisible from the front, they can cause some discomfort and even a lisp since they affect the way your tongue touches the back of your teeth. Not to mention, they are typically more expensive than traditional metal braces.

Caring for Your Braces: Oral Health

Regardless of what type of braces you get, you want to make sure that you are taking care of them properly through oral hygiene and proper maintenance. You still want to brush your teeth twice a day, and yes, you should still floss.

In fact, flossing throughout your braces treatment is even more important than flossing without them; there are even more nooks and crevices that food particles can get stuck in. Be sure to floss morning and night to help cut down on the chances of gum disease and tooth decay with your braces.

We know you’re excited for your braces to come off so you can show off your new smile, but the work isn’t over just because the brackets are removed. Wearing your retainer is an essential part of getting braces to ensure that your teeth remain in the right position.

Think about it like this: your teeth have been held in place by metal brackets for months, and your gums and jawbone haven’t had to do much work. So when your braces come off, your teeth are going to naturally shift again since there’s really nothing there to support them.

Retainers help to maintain your perfect new smile even after braces get removed. While they can be a little bit frustrating, it is a small task that comes with a great reward by keeping your smile looking sharp.

In Conclusion

Clear braces and metal braces both accomplish the same task: they straighten your teeth and give you the perfect smile. However, there are some major differences between the two, mainly that clear braces are a lot less visible compared to metal options.

With that said, clear braces tend to take a little bit more time to actually straighten your teeth, and they are also a little bit more expensive. But they’re good if you’re trying to be more discreet. For clear options, you might also consider invisible aligners and lingual braces on the back of the teeth.

No matter what you decide, you can expect to pay a pretty decent amount of money for your corrective treatment. This is because most dental insurance companies consider these to be cosmetic treatments, so they don’t cover the cost.

But don’t spend more than you have to for the dental care you need. Find a dentist in your area with the Flossy App today and start working towards your best smile.


Clear Braces: Types, Benefits & How To Clean | Cleveland Clinic

Orthodontic Treatment with Clear Aligners | AAOInfo

Tooth Decay | National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research

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