Both braces and clear dental aligners offer ways to straighten teeth and improve your self-esteem. Traditional braces are effective at correcting a range of tooth issues, but they don’t offer all of the benefits that clear aligners do—like being less obtrusive and removable. Read on to discover more about invisible aligners vs. braces.
Clear Aligners vs. Braces: The Pros and Cons
Clear aligners and braces are both designed to gradually move teeth into alignment. Both approaches can adjust misaligned teeth, as well as overbites and underbites. Understanding the pros and cons of each type of orthodontic approach can help you decide which treatment method is right for you.
The pros and cons of clear aligners, as explained by the American Association of Orthodontists, include:
- They are discreet and hardly visibly noticeable.
- They can be removed for eating and teeth cleaning.
- They are best suited to correct mild to moderate issues.
- Check-ups with an orthodontist are recommended every 6 to 10 weeks.
- Aligners must be worn at least 22 hours per day to be most effective.
- Teeth and aligners can become stained and cavities can form if aligners are left in when drinking anything besides water.
- Removing the aligners risks misplacing or losing them.
Although braces do not offer all of the benefits that clear aligners do, they still have their place in orthodontics. The pros and cons of wearing braces are as follows:
- A range of tooth alignment and bite problems can be fixed with braces, including more severe ones.
- Many types of braces are now available, including metal, ceramic, and lingual braces to fit your needs best.
- You must visit your orthodontist about once a month for adjustments.
- The average treatment time is 1 to 3 years.
- Braces can make your teeth and mouth feel sore and uncomfortable.
- Braces are visible and can’t be taken off.
- Special care must be given when keeping your teeth and braces clean.
- According to experts, if you know that you may not be able to wear clear aligners for the length of time directed by your orthodontist, then braces might be the best option for you.
“A good candidate [for traditional braces] is one who has good oral hygiene practices, has simple or complicated correction needed, and may not be compliant with wearing the clear aligners the 22 hours required,” Tiffanie Garrison-Jeter, DMD, owner of Definition Dental and Wellness Spa, tells WebMD Connect to Care.
If you prefer to be more discreet about your teeth straightening treatment, then clear aligners might suit you better. “Clear aligner therapy is a great option for simple to moderate corrections. Most people love this option because they are not readily visible to others. They are also great because you are not limited to the things you can eat, like traditional bracket braces, because you take the aligners out to eat. Oral hygiene is easier as well,” Garrison-Jeter says.
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