Do Clear Braces Take Longer Than Metal?

Do clear braces take longer than traditional metal ones to correct tooth misalignment? It’s a good question – one that we’re asked all the time. We understand that people want to straighten their teeth so they’re more confident with their smile, which means hesitation committing to a long period with traditional braces.

So, how can you know what braces are fastest to work for your particular concerns? And is speed the most important thing to consider? We’re going to discuss the main factors that can influence treatment time in this article.

To answer the question of “do clear braces take longer than metal ones?”, we’ll discuss things like the complexity of treatment, budget, age, and lifestyle concerns so that you can make a well informed and appropriate decision.

How Long Do Metal Braces Take to Work?

A course of orthodontic treatment using traditional metal braces can take anywhere between 12 to 24 months to complete, sometimes longer. During this time, you’ll need regular check-ups for adjustments and wire changes. Metal brackets can sometimes come away from the tooth, which is easy to repair, but often means delays in treatment.

By applying constant pressure to the teeth, metal braces can exert a more potent force than aligners via the metal bracket and archwire system that is physically attached to the teeth. Metal braces can facilitate more radical changes and can change the bite and jaw alignment. When metal braces are used to move teeth, ligaments are stretched and compressed, and new bone is laid down to support the new position of the teeth.

Do Clear Braces Work Faster?

So, do clear braces take longer than metal? Depending on the severity of your misalignment, a course of treatment using clear aligners can take as little as six months. Clear aligners work without the need for adjustments and wire changes, but the plates need to be worn for at least 22 hours a day. Using gentle pressure, clear aligners gradually move your teeth into position using a series of plates to achieve the desired result. Usually, you’ll change to a new set of aligners every fortnight. Of course, if your misalignment is severe, the treatment could last as long as 24 months.

The beauty of clear braces is that you will start to notice an improvement in your teeth within the first four to six weeks with consistent use. So, when asking the question of, “do clear braces take longer than metal braces?”, the answer is definitely no! Ideally, you’ll only remove the aligners to eat and drink, rinsing them every time you do so to keep them in good condition. Taking care of your aligners is essential to keep your treatment time on track, as in all likelihood, you won’t need replacement plates.

What Braces Are Fastest? The Factors Affecting Treatment Time

Whether using metal braces or clear aligners, on average, teeth will move 1mm each month, but everyone’s teeth are a bit different, and this is just an average. No one has an identical set of teeth, mouth, or jaws, so every case is unique. Several factors might affect whether you choose metal braces or clear aligners. Some of these factors are:

Complexity of Treatment

Metal braces can achieve dramatic results, especially when combined with other orthodontic therapies or surgery to correct complex issues. Adolescent patients may require certain treatments to correct an underbite or a narrow top palate at specific times in their development. These treatments can be combined with the use of braces to achieve a beautiful result that will alleviate the need for further treatment in adulthood.

Severe overcrowding, an overbite or tooth height discrepancies are all best treated with metal braces as they are able to exert a greater and more consistent force. Clear aligners are a good choice for simple teeth straightening, but they don’t have the power to drastically move the tooth position as efficiently as braces.


Orthodontics are an important investment, and you want to make the right choice. Costs can vary from treatment to treatment and can end up totaling thousands of dollars. Metal braces on average cost more than $8,000 for the whole course of treatment, including all check-ups and materials required.

The good news is that mild to moderate cases can usually be corrected in a relatively short amount of time, and therefore treatment will cost less. In these cases, clear aligners are a great option as they are effective and more aesthetically pleasing than metal braces. At EZ Smile, the total cost of treatment is $2,499, up to 70% less than traditional braces!

Age and Lifestyle

The older we get, the less socially acceptable it becomes to undergo a course of orthodontic treatment using metal braces. So not only do adult patients often wonder about “what braces are fastest?” But also,” what braces are the least noticeable?”

Clear aligners are far more discreet, and people often don’t even notice you’re wearing them. So, the question of, “do clear braces take longer than metal braces?” becomes less important than how seamlessly they might fit into your lifestyle.

Compliance is also a factor affecting treatment time, especially when considering clear aligners. Older patients are often more motivated to wear their aligners consistently, driven by the prospect of a shorter and possibly more cost-effecting treatment period. Sometimes adolescent or teenage patients struggle to wear clear aligners for 22 hours a day, making this type of treatment best suited to adult patients.

Working adult patients often feel more comfortable and professional if they are able to use clear aligners for treatment rather than metal braces. As metal braces are often associated with our teenage years, it might undermine a professional’s confidence at work. If you’re at work or often attending social functions, clear aligners might seem like a more ‘adult’ option for effectively straightening your teeth.

So, Do Clear Braces Take Longer Than Metal Ones?

The short answer is no. The long answer? It depends entirely on the complexity of your orthodontic needs and your expectations of treatment. So, when considering what braces are fastest at completing treatment, you also need to consider the severity of the misalignment, cost of treatment, as well as age and lifestyle factors.

Traditional metal braces might be the best choice for children and those with complex orthodontic needs. Clear aligners are far better suited to those with mild to moderate alignments issues. The average treatment time and cost of clear aligners make them the perfect choice for adults wanting a relatively fast and aesthetically pleasing option.

EZ SMILE is a 100% Australian owned teeth-straightening company offering at-home teeth-straightening for as little as $2,499 with payment plans available. EZ SMILE’s average treatment length is 6-8 months, and we have a customer service team ready and able to answer any questions you may have along the way. If you’d like to learn more about whether or not EZ SMILE is suitable for you, take our free 30-second assessment today.