People of various ages may need to start orthodontic treatment for various reasons. However, today there are many treatment options available on the market, and sometimes it can be challenging to understand the differences between various types of orthodontics. Here, we will discuss the main differences between braces and aligners, two types of orthodontic treatment methods that, although equally effective, have many distinct differences.
Braces vs. Aligners
Before delving into the differences between braces and aligners, let's start by explaining a bit about each of these orthodontic methods.
Braces are small metal pieces attached to the tooth surface, connected by a metal wire. The mentioned wire works by connecting and applying constant pressure to the dental brackets, gradually moving the teeth into their correct positions. There are several types of braces: metal, clear, lingual, and self-ligating. However, their common feature is that they are non-removable.
In contrast, clear or invisible aligners are trays placed over the teeth, performing the same function as braces: moving the teeth by applying pressure.
As for the effectiveness of aligners vs. braces, aligners are as effective as braces in correcting orthodontic issues. In other words, rather than discussing the difference between the capabilities of aligners versus metal braces, it is more relevant to consider the method each uses to achieve the specified goal and the characteristics of each product. Below, we will explain these differences so that you are armed with all the information to understand which option might be better for you.
The first point to consider when comparing aligners and braces is their level of visibility. In general, braces are less inconspicuous than aligners since they can be visible from the outside when a person smiles or opens their mouth. This is because they are placed on the vestibular side (visible part of the tooth), and whether they are metal (traditional or self-ligating) or semi-transparent (ceramic or sapphire), they will always be less inconspicuous than aligners.
On the other hand, lingual braces are the only exception among visible braces. They are placed on the lingual side (the part of the tooth facing inside the mouth), making them less noticeable from the outside. However, there is much debate about their effectiveness.
As for aligners, they are generally more inconspicuous than traditional braces. Why? Well, instead of brackets attached to the teeth, they are trays that fully adapt to the anatomy of the teeth. Since they are transparent, they are almost invisible to others. Aligners allow you to speak and smile without anyone noticing you are wearing orthodontic appliances, making them ideal for people who work with their image or simply for those who want to maintain a regular appearance during treatment. This feature is crucial for many patients deciding between aligners and braces.
As mentioned earlier, braces are a type of fixed orthodontics. Therefore, patients cannot stop wearing them at any time until the treatment is completed. What are the drawbacks of such alignment? Well, they cannot be removed for sports activities with the risk of injury, and they cannot be taken off for oral hygiene or consuming certain products, which we will discuss later. The inability to remove them for convenience in hygiene or eating is important when comparing braces to aligners.
On the other hand, we have aligners that are completely removable. This makes everything much simpler, as you can take them off when you want, for example, to eat or clean your teeth or engage in sports. However, it should be noted that professionals recommend wearing aligners for a minimum of 22 hours a day to successfully achieve all the necessary movements.
Comparing aligners to metal braces, comfort is another important aspect to consider. The bracket system has a complex geometric shape, so it is not uncommon for it to rub against the cheeks or lips from the inside, or during tooth movement, the arch may seem to “stick out” of the bracket and start poking the cheek. Fortunately, some of these discomforts can be alleviated with special wax.
Patients also typically notice some pressure on the teeth after each adjustment of the braces system. This is another difference between aligners and braces because movements with braces are more abrupt than those made with aligners, they can lead to discomfort in the teeth and even mild headaches or ear pain.
Aligners are made of elastic and durable medical-grade plastic, so their surface is smooth and gentle to the soft tissues of the mouth. Therefore, comfort associated with aligners is generally higher compared to braces.
As for pressure, some may be noticed when transitioning from one aligner to another. However, since the changes are very frequent, this sensation is unlikely to be noticeable and very mild.
Maintaining oral hygiene is another major concern for those undergoing orthodontic treatment and another key difference between aligners and braces. With braces, supporting daily oral hygiene is a bit more challenging. When wearing braces, the tooth surface is no longer natural and requires more attention to detail when cleaning.
If you are still wondering if aligners are better than braces, this section may answer your questions. Aligners do not alter your usual oral hygiene routine in any way. Aligners can be removed, giving you full access to your teeth for thorough hygiene practices.
With braces, you need to be particularly careful with certain hard foods, such as hard bread, candies, and any other food with a hard or sticky consistency. This is because the braces are attached to the dental surface with a special adhesive, so applying too much force can cause them to come off. If this happens, you'll have to go to the clinic to have them reattached, thus extending the duration of orthodontic treatment.
Additionally, consuming sticky products like candies or sweets can also be problematic as they are challenging to clean. Finally, there are certain products to avoid when wearing clear, ceramic, or sapphire braces. Colorful (white) braces that mimic the natural shade of tooth enamel can easily be stained by consuming tea, coffee, or certain spices.
This limited diet is another reason why more people choose invisible orthodontics when considering aligners versus braces.
This is another major difference between braces and aligners—you can enjoy any type of food without issues with aligners. When you eat, you'll have to remove the aligners and store them in a case until it's time to put them back on after brushing your teeth.
Typically, treatment with a braces system involves multiple and regular visits to the orthodontist for adjustments and activation of the braces. For each such visit, you'll have to pay, and over the course of several years of treatment, this amounts to a considerable sum.
In the case of SOLO aligners, there will be much fewer of these follow-up visits, and moreover, they are free. This means you won't be overcharged during the treatment, and you immediately know the final cost of your treatment. Additionally, when comparing the cost of treatment with SOLO aligners to the average cost of braces treatment in your city, aligner treatment is usually 20-30% less expensive.
Aligners vs. Metal Braces: which orthodontic treatment Is best for me?
However, you should keep in mind that before deciding between aligners and braces, it's best to consult with an orthodontic professional to determine which type of treatment is most suitable for your case, as each patient is unique.
Braces have been the most common and well-known orthodontic treatment option for many years. Therefore, it's not surprising that many people choose braces when they are unaware of alternatives. However, orthodontics has advanced significantly today, and you should consider all the options available on the market.
Solo Aligners : specialists in invisible orthodontics
In our practice, we strive to utilize the most advanced technologies. Therefore, during your initial visit, we will take several X-rays and perform a 3D scan of your oral cavity in our clinic to assess your orthodontic health. There will be various diagnostic procedures before starting the treatment.
So, if you want to know for sure whether aligners are better than braces for you personally, contact us by email: firstname.lastname@example.org By phone or WhatsApp +380500454505 or book a meeting online through our website.
Looking forward to meeting with you!
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