Smile Design vs. clear aligners vs. traditional braces: What are the differences?

Doctor's Answers (1)

The Differences between Smiledesign, Clear Aligners and Traditional Braces.


Smiledesign: Does not move teeth; it is a renovation of the teeth. It uses a variety of dental procedures from Porcelain Veneers to Crown Lengthening to achieve aesthetic results. Smiles are custom designed for each patient. Position, size, shape and colour of the teeth can be altered.

Clear Aligners: Moves teeth using clear plastic aligners every 6 weeks, must be worn 22 hours per day. Uses different sets of aligners to move teeth into the desired position. Only the position of the teeth can be corrected.

Traditional Braces: Moves teeth using metal braces. Extractions are usually recommended especially for overcrowding cases. The dentist will tighten the braces every 3-4 weeks to move the teeth into the desired position.


Smiledesign: The fastest method. On average it takes patients 2-3 weeks to complete.

Clear Aligners: Simple cases can take 3-6 months, more complex cases take 12-24 months to complete.

Traditional Braces: For younger patients, it can take less than 12 months. For adults, it can take 2-3 years to complete.


Smiledesign: As teeth are not being moved, there is no pressure on the teeth. It is very comfortable and usually, anaesthetic is not required. Unlikely to get ulcers or speech issues as there are no braces/aligners used.

Clear Aligners: Teeth can experience mild soreness as the pressure on the teeth is necessary to move them. Unlikely to get ulcers from the aligners. Speech is only slightly impacted due to the aligners.

Traditional Braces: When the braces are tightened every 3-4 weeks, many patients will be recommended to consume soft food such as porridge during the first few days of tightening. Patients may experience ulcers due to the wires and speech will be affected. Difficult to clean as the wires tend to trap food.


Smiledesign: As the teeth are not being moved, there is no chance of relapse.

Clear Aligners & Traditional Braces: Retainers must be worn after treatment for 12 months or longer. Some dentists will recommend patients to wear retainers for life due to the risk of relapse. (Once teeth relapse, you can't go back!)


Smiledesign: $5,000 to $7,000 on average. Can cost up to $15,000.

Clear Aligners: $4,500 to $9,000 on average. Up to $11,000 for more complex cases.

Traditional Braces: $3,000 onwards for students. $6,000 to $7,000 for adults or up to $11,000 at a specialist.

Consult your dentist to find which procedure would best suit your lifestyle and goals.

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