Not sure how to choose between clear aligners and traditional braces? Here, our Calgary dentists discuss the differences between these two orthodontic treatment options.
Choosing Between Clear Aligners & Braces
Choosing between clear aligners (such as Invisalign) and braces can be a tough choice! Luckily, we can help you out. Here are some facts to consider about each option while you think about which one to choose to help you achieve a straight smile.
Transparent clear aligners such as Invisalign are custom-made to fit your smile. These removable orthodontic appliances are constructed from clear plastic material. They forgo the brackets and wires that accompany braces and provide the wearer with a more discreet option. 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.
You'll receive an individually customized treatment plan that will help achieve your smile goals. Since clear aligners don't require the regular adjustments that braces do, you will typically spend less time in your dentist's office during treatment. Your dentist will schedule brief appointments with you every 4 to 6 weeks and take the opportunity to review your progress and general oral health as well as adjust treatment if required.
Clear aligners must be worn for 22 hours each day in order for treatment to be successful and should only be removed to eat, drink, brush, or for certain activities such as playing sports or a musical instrument. You have to be committed to the treatment.
Typically clear aligners will cost about the same or slightly more than braces.
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.
These days, 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. In this case, clear braces may be a viable alternative.
They also require a time commitment as you must regularly visit your dentist or orthodontist to have your braces adjusted.
Many patients choose clear braces as they are better able to blend in with their smile. They are not actually transparent but 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.
They also tend to be more costly. Therefore, they are commonly used only on your upper front teeth (which are the most visible) to save on costs.
Keep in mind that your gums may feel sensitive with these larger ceramic brackets. Their size can also make it more difficult to clean around the brackets, so you must be extra diligent to prevent any plaque from building up and potentially leading to gum disease.