Photo: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images
Are your teeth as crooked as a picket fence? If you need to straighten those suckers out, braces are your best bet. If you don't want railroad tracks on your teeth, clear braces or Invisalign are your best bet. There are some serious differences between these two methods of teeth straightening, so get your facts straight before you make your choice.
Clear braces are basically made up of the same stuff as your old fashioned braces. Brackets are put on each of your teeth, and a big wire's put over them. However, the brackets are clear, so they're much less noticeable on your teeth. The tension of the wire on your teeth straightens them right up. Invisalign is more like a retainer -- plastic molds are fitted over your teeth, and look almost invisible when you place them on your choppers.
What They Treat
Clear braces can fix any tooth or jaw problems that normal metal braces treat. Underbites, overbites, skeletal problems and general tooth crookedness are all problems you can fix with clear braces. Invisalign is slightly more limited in what it can treat. While it can help you get rid of underbites, overbites and straighten your teeth, it can't handle trickier skeletal problems, according to Braces.com.
The best part about Invisalign is that if you want to chew on a piece of gum, you can just pop the Invisalign retainer out and do it. Not only does it make it easier to eat foods that are normally off-limits with traditional braces, it also makes it easier to clean your teeth. Clear braces are stuck on your teeth 24/7 until your orthodontist is ready to take them off, which makes eating and dental hygiene a pain in the butt.
Both of these teeth-straightening mechanisms are worth a pretty penny. According to CostHelper.com, in 2011, traditional braces range from $5,413 to $7,625; clear braces are another $500 on top of that. Invisalign braces start at $3,500 and average about $5,000. Of course this is just the bare-bones price, you'll pay more for any extra dental work your doc wants to do in addition to the braces.