About four million Americans are wearing dental braces at any given time. These devices not only align and straighten your teeth but may also improve your bite. Over time, they can lead to a perfect smile.
Clear aligners are just as popular. Dental professionals use them to correct crooked or gapped teeth, open bites, and other common issues.
When it comes to clear aligners vs. braces, both devices serve similar purposes. While it’s true that clear aligners are more discreet and convenient, they may not be the best choice for you.
Let’s take a closer look at the similarities and differences between the two so you can make an informed decision.
How Dental Braces Work
These wire-based appliances offer corrective treatment for crossbites, underbites, malocclusions, and more. They work by applying a constant, gentle force on your teeth.
Dental braces are typically used for complex dental problems that clear aligners cannot correct. Generally, it’s required to wear retainers after the treatment is complete.
Patients can opt for metal-wired braces, titanium braces, or lingual braces. Titanium models, for instance, are ideal for people who are allergic to nickel.
Note that dental braces are fixed. Therefore, you cannot remove them while eating, flossing, or brushing your teeth. Expect to wear them for a few months to several years, depending on your individual needs.
The wires and brackets need regular adjustments. On top of that, you’ll need to avoid certain foods, such as popcorn, pretzels, crunchy fruits, and chewing gum. Most types of nuts and seeds are off-limits, too.
FastBraces, a new technology, provide similar or even better results than traditional braces but in less time. Some patients achieve the desired outcome in as little as three months.
Metal braces, by comparison, must be worn for two years or longer.
Clear Aligners vs. Braces
Clear aligners are often used for the corrective treatment of mild to moderate dental problems.
Unlike metal braces, these appliances are discreet and removable. Patients can take them off before eating, brushing, or flossing and don’t need to avoid specific foods.
A clear aligner can successfully correct gapped or misaligned teeth, crossbite, overbite, underbite, and other orthodontic issues. Although it cannot treat complex cases, it’s suitable for the most common malocclusions.
Like metal braces, aligners work by putting gentle pressure on your teeth.
Over time, they help reposition the teeth and improve your smile. Depending on the problem that is being treated, you may need to wear retainers after finishing the treatment.
Most patients need to switch out aligners every few weeks. However, this orthodontic treatment requires fewer office visits compared to metal dental braces. It also offers superior functionality and convenience.
Another advantage of clear aligners over conventional braces is that they’re less likely to irritate the soft tissues. That’s why they tend to result in fewer clinical emergencies.
Healthy Smile, Healthy Life
Now that you know more about clear aligners vs. braces, discuss your needs with a dental professional.
Note that each case is unique. Whether you need clear aligners or braces depends on the problem you’re dealing with.
Don’t wait until it’s too late. Most dental issues tend to worsen over time.
If you live in Tampa or nearby, book an appointment at Westchase Smiles Institute to see how we can help!