Unsure which to choose between clear aligners and traditional braces? Our dentists offer some factors to take into consideration.
Clear aligners or braces?
Clear aligners such as Invisalign vs. braces: a tough choice! Below, read some facts that you should consider while you think about which option to go with to help you achieve a straight smile.
Transparent aligners like Invisalign are custom-made to fit your smile. These removable orthodontic appliances are created from clear plastic material. They are less visibly noticeable because they do not use the brackets and wires that metal braces require.
You'll receive an individually customized treatment plan that will help achieve your smile goals. You will typically spend less time in your dentist's office during treatment as you may not need as many checkups or appointments, since your clear aligners wouldn't require regular adjustments as braces do. Your dentist will schedule brief appointments with you every 4 - 6 weeks, and take the opportunity to review your progress and general oral health, answer questions, and adjust treatment as required.
Depending on your specific treatment plan, may cost slightly less or more than traditional metal braces. A casual observer will be hard-pressed to see them on your teeth, and you won't have any restrictions on the food and drinks you can enjoy.
However, clear aligners must be worn for 22 hours each day and removed while drinking and eating anything except water. Commitment to treatment, self-discipline and scheduling meals to fit within the 2 hours allotted for mealtimes every day.
Traditional Metal Braces
These are the most common type of braces. Made entirely out of metal and supported by elastics, metal braces have received numerous upgrades in recent decades thanks to advancements in orthodontic technology.
Over time, braces apply continuous pressure to your teeth, slowly shifting them into their new, corrected positions. As this pressure is applied and the teeth move, the bone changes shape to accommodate their new positions.
Today, braces are more streamlined and sleek than those used in years past. Now, you’ll run less risk of the inside of your cheeks or lips growing irritated by a bracket, as the brackets have gotten smaller and more comfortable. However, some people are still reluctant to choose metal braces because of their appearance.
If this is the case, clear braces may be a viable alternative for some seeking straighter teeth.
Many patients choose clear braces as they are better able to blend in with their smile. Despite the moniker, they are not truly transparent; instead, the brackets are constructed from tooth-coloured ceramic.
Clear braces come with a caveat: while they are a compromise between metal braces and clear aligners when it comes to appearance, they are actually more brittle and larger in size than the traditional metal braces you may have seen.
Clear braces tend to be on the pricier side, which is why they are commonly used only on the upper front teeth (the most visible) to save on costs.
Keep in mind that your gums may feel sensitive with these, as the larger ceramic brackets can make it more challenging to clean around the brackets, leading to receding or swollen gums should your toothbrush not reach the gum line and enamel.