Clear Aligners vs. Clear Braces: Which is better for you?
As kids, we were always told that taking good care of our teeth is important. Regular brushing, flossing, and regular visit to the dentists are some of the most effective ways to maintain our pearly whites. Maintaining a healthy set of teeth is very beneficial in terms of cosmetic and health reasons, and sometimes, even for professional reasons.
In some cases, unlucky genes, improper “adult teeth” growth, and other factors can cause dental problems that no amount of brushing or flossing can rectify. Dental problems like malocclusions, crooked teeth, and gaps in between teeth, require different treatments and correcting them can take a few months to a few years. This is why it’s important that we, and even our kids, regularly visit our trusted orthodontists. Our orthos can give sound advice and recommend treatments such as getting braces or wearing orthodontic plate to correct whatever dental problems we have.
What are dental braces?
Dental braces are orthodontic devices used to correct and/or align a patient’s teeth. The primary principle behind these devices is the application of continuous and constant pressure to the teeth, moving and nudging them into desired positions. There are different types of braces that can cater to different needs, but they can be roughly categorized into two types; traditional and progressive types of braces.
Traditional (metal-wired) braces are applied by attaching a “bracket” together with ligature elastic at each tooth. An arch wire is threaded through this to apply primary pressure to the teeth, but additional springs and rubber bands can be added depending on the desired position. Materials used can be replaced with a different one depending on the patient’s allergic reactions, aesthetic or cosmetic preferences, etc. For example, clear braces are named as such since their bracket and elastic colors are close to the color of the tooth enamel. This makes them less noticeable when smiling or eating.
Progressive type (aligners) braces are typically transparent plastic moulds that are worn like mouthpieces.
How does Invisalign or clear aligners work? Aligners are custom made and fitted for each individual patient. A digital teeth profile is created using a computer program and a guide is then produced to achieve the desired alignment of the patient’s teeth. Alignment of teeth is gradually achieved through constant application of pressure while the aligners are worn.
Choosing the type of braces
Let’s say you’re one of those people who need braces, and you’ve already made up your mind and decided to go to the orthodontist. That’s great!
Now here comes the next important decision; should you choose clear aligners or clear braces?
Choosing appropriately between these two is key to having a more pleasant and successful outcome. The following factors and considerations can serve as your starting point to determine which the best option for you.
- Current dental problem – this is one of the most important factors to consider first. Braces and Invisalign can treat different types of malocclusions like overbite, crowding of teeth, and others. But it is still best to consult first with your orthodontist regarding specific details on how to fix an overbite or any other related cases.
- Pain associated with the treatment – different people have different pain thresholds. Does Invisalign hurt? How about braces? How long does it take for the brace and Invisalign pain to go away? Let your orthodontist answer those important questions since only you can tell what’s your pain tolerance level and this can make or break the treatment.
- Length of treatment – asking how long you have to wear Invisalign or braces is also important, as your preferred treatment will become a part of your daily routine for that specified period. You can then take necessary steps and adjustments to make yourself as comfortable as possible during the treatment period.
- Special considerations – because your brace or Invisalign will become a part of your daily routine, it’s crucial to know if there are specific do’s and don’ts to avoid possible problems. One specific part of this is knowing how to clean your Invisalign or braces properly. You will eat several times daily and therefore, will need to clean your teeth regularly. Proper cleaning can prevent possible issues that can adversely affect your ongoing treatment.
- Cost of treatment – money is of course an important factor to be considered. Make sure that you ask your ortho how much does Invisalign cost so you can assess whether or not you can afford it. Also, asking this question will allow you to prepare enough money for retainers or orthodontic plates after the main treatment.
You must remember that the removal of braces or Invisalign doesn’t mean that the treatment is over. Retainers and plates are just as important to ensure that your teeth won’t return to their previous state.
These are some of the most important things that you should know when choosing the best treatment for your dental problems. The best route will be to consult with an orthodontist who is experienced both in Invisalign and braces. If you want to find out more details on how Invisalign works, make an appointment and talk to your orthodontist.