For many years braces were the only way to straighten your teeth. Then clear aligner technology was invented and patients now have more choices when it comes to orthodontic treatment.
Both methods are effective and achieve the same results, so which one is right for you? The answer depends on a variety of factors.
What Are Braces?
Braces consist primarily of brackets and wires. The brackets attach to the teeth and are connected by the archwire which pushes and pulls them into proper alignment. Traditional braces are made of metal, but there are also clear braces made of ceramic that blend in with your teeth to be less visible. Throughout braces treatment you may also need to wear rubber bands that are stretched between the brackets on the upper and lower teeth to help shift them into the desired position.
What Are Clear Aligners?
Clear aligners are made of plastic and fit over the teeth. Each aligner is slightly different in order to gradually shift the teeth into proper alignment. Patients are instructed to wear each aligner for about 2 weeks, then switch to the next aligner in order until you have moved through the entire set. When you have worn all of your aligners, your teeth should be in the desired position for optimal teeth and bite alignment. The most popular and proven method of clear aligners is Invisalign, however there are many companies that offer Clear Aligner Therapy.
Similarities Between Braces and Clear Aligners
Braces and clear aligners have a lot in common, such as:
- They are both orthodontic treatments.
- Both straighten teeth.
- Both treatments are capable of correcting bite misalignment.
Differences Between Braces and Clear Aligners
There are also many differences between braces and clear aligners, including:
- Method. The most obvious difference between these two treatments is the method. One uses brackets and wires to move the teeth and the other uses clear plastic aligners.
- Treatment time. On average, clear aligner treatment is shorter than braces treatment. Clear aligners typically take between 6 and 18 months and braces can take anywhere from 1-3 years.
- Appearance. Braces are much more noticeable than clear aligners, even clear brackets. A discreet appearance is the top benefit of clear aligners.
- Material. Braces are made of metal or ceramic and clear aligners are made of smooth, flexible plastic that tends to be more comfortable for patients.
- Provider. Clear aligners can be provided by your dentist in many cases, but braces typically require the expertise of an orthodontist.
- Eligibility. Not everyone is a candidate for clear aligners. Only mild to moderate orthodontic cases can be treated with Invisalign. Severe teeth and bite misalignment may require braces.
Choosing the Best Treatment For You
The first step in choosing an orthodontic treatment is to have an evaluation to determine what options would be effective for you. If you are a candidate for both braces and Clear Aligner Therapy, then you can consider the other factors to help you choose the best treatment for you. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Can I commit to wearing clear aligners at least 22 hours a day?
- Am I responsible enough to keep track of my aligners?
- Does my appearance during treatment matter to me?
- Would I rather receive treatment at my current dentist’s office?
- Do I want the fastest treatment available?
Your answers to these questions should help you determine the best orthodontic treatment option that will give you the results you want and will fit your lifestyle.
Emerson Dental Provides Clear Aligner Therapy
If you think clear aligners would be the best orthodontic treatment for you, Emerson Dental provides Clear Aligner Therapy. After a brief evaluation to determine your eligibility, we can plan and monitor your Invisalign treatment to transform your smile and improve your dental health.
Contact us today to learn more and schedule an appointment.
Frequently Asked Questions About Clear Aligners
Will clear aligners damage my teeth?
Invisalign aligners are made of smooth, flexible plastic that won’t damage your teeth. As long as you brush your teeth twice a day, floss once a day, and keep your aligners clean your teeth should remain healthy during Aligner Therapy treatment.
How do I clean my aligners?
The best way to clean clear aligners is to use a soft bristled toothbrush (different from the one you use on your teeth) and clear, unscented soap. Brush them in the morning and at night each day. Rinse them off before putting them back in your mouth. When you are not able to brush them, rinse them off with cool or lukewarm water.