Metal vs Clear Braces: Which Is Right For You?

Roughly 4 million people in the United States are wearing braces at any given moment. Most of those people are kids and teenagers, but adults are making up an increasing slice of the braces pie.

No matter if you’re shopping for braces for a child or yourself, you’ll be faced with assessing the bevy of pros and cons that accompany the now decade-old metal vs clear braces conundrum.

Whichever option you go with, metal or clear, there are considerations to mull over. Below, our team breaks down the drawbacks and advantages of metal and clear braces in the hopes of helping you make an informed decision.

Keep reading to learn more!

Metal Braces

Metal braces have been around for countless decades. They’re reliable and by far the most popular braces option.

Here’s what you should know about them:

Insurers Consistently Cover Metal Braces

When your insurance company covers orthodontic work, it’ll cover metal braces. The same can’t be said about clear braces, which may not be covered by your insurer or may be covered to a lesser degree.

Bottom line, metal braces are always cheap than their clear counterparts.

Metal Braces Can Be Unsightly

The obvious drawback to metal braces, which for some is enough to offset their excellent price-tag, is their unsightly nature.

It’s hard to look better with brackets and wires covering your teeth. The good news is that in most cases, metal braces come off in 12 to 24 months.

Going Clear

Clear braces are making waves in orthodontics right now. They are progressively stealing market share from metal braces and are the braces of choice for adults.

Here’s what you’ll want to keep in mind when going clear:

Clear Braces Are Less Visible

Among the benefits of clear braces, the most obvious is that they’re less visible than metal braces.

Up close, you can make out clear braces. Talking from an appropriate distance, though, onlookers would be hard-pressed to see that you’re wearing braces at all!


Several clear braces brands are removable, which allows wearers the ability to take them off when partaking in certain activities. For example, you can remove your braces when you’re eating so you can keep them from getting stained.

That flexibility is an advantage for most but a drawback for some that may keep their braces off too often, dampening the efficacy of their treatment.

Less Affordable

We’ve touched on this already but to reiterate, when you look at metal vs clear braces from a cost perspective, clear braces lose. They cost a lot more and insurance is hesitant to cover them.

That may make these sightly braces unusable for people on a budget.

Your Metal vs Clear Braces Questions—Answered

We hope that the brief pros and cons we’ve shared help to clear up your metal vs clear braces questions. If you have more, we recommend speaking to a local orthodontist as they can walk you through pricing information and what might work best for your unique oral challenges.

Our team also welcomes you to read more about types of braces and other content on your diverse lifestyle questions in our blog.