Clear aligners vs braces? We’re often asked by patients (or their parents) which of the two teeth-straightening methods is best for them. Often the decision can boil down to personal preference, so we thought we’d compare the two to give you more information if you need time to consider your options.
It’s important to know that while clear aligners such as Invisalign, ClearCorrect, and SureSmile can treat most orthodontic problems, braces are more suitable for complex problems. So, at the initial consultation, ask your dentist or orthodontist which option will likely achieve the best results.
However, for many patients, both orthodontic treatment options are available, which means they get to decide based on their preference, budget, and lifestyle.
Clear aligners vs braces – how they differ
Braces consist of metal or ceramic brackets attached to the teeth with an archwire. Rubber bands help to apply force, that shifts the teeth into alignment.
Clear aligners are made from thermoplastic material and worn over the teeth like a mouthguard. Each customised aligner moves the teeth to their correct positions by harnessing natural forces.
Patients undergoing teeth straightening with braces will wear the fixed appliance throughout their orthodontic treatment, whereas Invisalign, ClearCorrect, and SureSmile utilise a series of clear aligners. How many aligners are necessary is determined by the complexity of your case.
Clear aligners vs braces – pros and cons
Appearance – Many patients prefer clear aligners because they provide a discreet teeth straightening method, unlike noticeable metal braces. However, tooth coloured ceramic braces could be a good option if you have more complex dental problems but don’t want a mouthful of metal.
Diet – Patients with fixed braces need to be cautious with their diet since certain hard or sticky foods could bend or twist the wires. Diet isn’t a problem with clear aligners since they are removed to eat and drink anything other than water.
Oral hygiene – Brushing and flossing around fixed braces is challenging, and you may need to use specialised tools and floss to keep your teeth clean and free from food particles and bacteria. It’s easy to stay on top of oral hygiene with aligners since they are removable, as we mentioned above.
Compliance – Patients that opt for clear aligners need to be committed to wearing them for at least 20-22 hours a day, only removing them to eat, drink, and clean their teeth. If they are out of the mouth for an extended period, it could disrupt treatment, and you may need more aligners to achieve the desired results. Naturally, this will extend the treatment duration and increase the price. With fixed braces, patients can get on with their everyday life without any such worries.
Comfort – Generally speaking, aligners are more comfortable than braces since there are no wires to chafe the cheeks or cause soreness. However, each new aligner can feel tight and cause pain, although this subsides within days.
Dental appointments – Braces wearers need to attend regular dental appointments to have their wires tightened or changed to ensure they are doing their job. Appointments are shorter and less frequent for aligner patients since they usually involve a quick progress check and aligner collection.
There’s a lot to consider when weighing up your clear aligners vs. braces decision. Hopefully, this article has provided the information you need, but please feel free to take advantage of our complimentary orthodontic consultation. Here we can discuss treatments like Invisalign in more detail and answer all your orthodontic questions to help you make the right decision for yourself or your child.
Why not contact the experienced, friendly dentists at My Local Dentists today and take the first step to a straighter, more healthy smile.
WebMD – Want to Know About Ceramic Braces
Healthline – Foods You Can And Shouldn’t Eat If You Have Braces