Are you wondering how to choose between clear aligners and traditional braces? Our Burnaby dentists offer some factors to consider, including cosmetic considerations.
How to Choose Between Clear Aligners & Braces
When you're looking at clear aligners such as Invisalign vs. braces, you've got a tough choice in front of you. Fortunately, we can help you out. While you consider which one to choose to help you achieve a straight smile, here are some things to consider about each option.
Transparent clear aligners including Invisalign are custom-made to fit your smile. These removable orthodontic appliances are made with clear plastic material. They are lower profile in appearance as they forgo the wires and brackets that accompany braces.
Your dentist will develop an individually customized treatment plan to help you achieve your smile goals. With clear aligners, you'll typically spend less time in your dentist's office during treatment as you may not need as many appointments or checkups, since your clear aligners wouldn't need to be adjusted regularly as braces do. Your dentist will schedule short appointments with you every 4 to 6 weeks and take this opportunity to review your progress and general health. You'll also have a chance to ask questions and treatment will be adjusted as needed.
Depending on your specific treatment plan, they may be in line with the cost of braces or slightly more expensive. 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.
However, clear aligners must be worn for 22 hours each day and removed while drinking and eating anything except water. Commitment to treatment, self-discipline and scheduling meals to fit within the 2 hours allotted for meal times every day.
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.
Brackets today are more streamlined than those used in years past. Now, 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 choose metal braces because of their appearance.
In this case, clear braces may be a viable alternative.
Many patients choose clear braces as they are better able to blend in with their smile. They are not actually transparent; 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 upper front (your most visible) teeth to save on costs.
Keep in mind that your gums may feel sensitive with these, as the larger ceramic brackets can make it more challenging to clean around the brackets, leading to receding or swollen gums should your toothbrush not reach the gum line and enamel.