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Comparing Clear Aligners and Braces

If you have crooked teeth, there are aesthetic and health benefits to aligning them. Your dentist can evaluate your dental structure to learn which cosmetic treatment will give you the best results to straighten your smile.

Traditional metal braces from an orthodontist can align your teeth and jaw according to your smile goals. But your dentist can also give you custom-made aligners that can help you achieve the straight smile of your dreams. Read on to learn about three key differences between straightening your teeth with clear aligners and with braces.

straightening smile with clear aligners

How to Straighten Your Smile

Traditional braces use metal brackets attached to the teeth and a wire that connects them. The pressure from these features will gradually push the teeth into their new desired and straight position in the mouth. They can also align the jaw if the patient has bite problems too.

Clear-colored plastic aligners are made on a custom basis to fit the unique oral structure of each patient. They will also gradually shift the teeth when worn for 22 or more hours each day to create a straighter smile.

Though both treatments accomplish the same goal, dentists usually use clear aligners for smaller alignment concerns in a patient’s teeth. More severe malocclusions will likely need braces or other orthodontic tools to amend.

Fixed vs Removable Oral Appliances

Metal braces will remain attached to the teeth in a fixed position that only an orthodontist can remove. Clear aligners, on the other hand, are removable appliances that dentists encourage their patients to take out during certain moments.

Dentists ask patients to remove aligners while eating and drinking. This stops them from staining their appliance or getting food trapped in it. Patients appreciate that this will not limit their diet. They will have to avoid sticky, hard, or chewy foods if they have wires and brackets with braces.

Removable aligners will also make it easier to complete their usual oral hygiene routine. The aligners will need separate cleaning, but the patient can take them out of the mouth to brush and floss their teeth as needed. Braces will require more difficult navigation around the appliances, which may result in plaque lingering on their smile.

Your Smile’s Appearance During Teeth Straightening Treatment

Some patients worry about getting braces on their teeth. Though the treatment will ultimately improve the look of their teeth, the metal brackets may seem to hinder their smile’s appearance during the process.

Patients can feel confident in the look of their smiles during teeth straightening treatment with clear aligners. They are translucent so that they will not be visible on the teeth to a casual observer. The custom fit of the appliance ensures that it will also stay in place and will not slip at an inopportune moment. Ask your dentist which of these treatments will work best with your unique dental needs and goals.