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Health & BeautyThe Difference Between Braces and Clear Aligners

The Difference Between Braces and Clear Aligners

Braces are a quintessential rite of passage for millions of teens and young adults all over the world. They can be painful and unpleasant, but the end result is almost always worth the wait. There are a growing number of teeth straightening alternatives to traditional braces on the orthodontic market today. From clear aligners and retainers to ceramic veneers and dental bonding, it can be difficult to know what the right solution is for your teeth. One of the most popular options is clear aligners. Read on to find out how they differ from traditional braces and how they could be your ticket to a perfect smile today.

1. Appearance

Perhaps the most obvious difference between braces and clear aligners is how they look. Traditional braces consist of a set of metal brackets and rubber bands applied to your teeth with an adhesive and connected by wiring. This gradually realigns your teeth to straighten their overall position and close any gaps. They are usually made from steel and are visible to others when you open your mouth. Clear aligners, on the other hand, are tailored to the contours of your mouth and made from transparent plastic. Small amounts of tooth-coloured composite resin are applied to each tooth so the aligner can grip to your teeth and drive your teeth into the desired position. They are chosen by a growing number of image-conscious teens for their ability to be worn relatively undetected. A clear aligner provider such as ALIGNERCO, can offer you innovative clear aligners that will straighten your teeth and give you the pristine smile you’ve always desired.

2. Removable

While braces are permanently bonded to your teeth, clear aligners can be removed says this dentist who does Invisalign and dental implants in Chattanooga TN. Patients wearing braces must take care to ensure they do not damage or break down the brackets or wiring attached to their teeth as this can be costly and time-consuming to fix or replace. Patients wearing clear aligners, however, can remove their aligners with ease to prevent them from cracking or breaking on crunchy or chewy food. Dentists recommend removing them to eat and drink anything other than water. They must also be removed twice a day to allow you to brush your teeth thoroughly. Patients do not need to worry about removing or replacing traditional braces as long as they adjust their diet and brushing routine accordingly. Removing clear aligners too often or for a prolonged period of time can delay progress and cause treatment timeframes to be extended. Some providers, such as ALIGNERCO, also offer a wide range of clear aligners to suit your budget and lifestyle. This includes student-friendly monthly instalment plans and even night-only options.

3. Hygiene

A good oral hygiene routine should be maintained regardless of which orthodontic treatment plan you opt for. Braces require a gentle but thorough brushing routine. This prevents food or debris from getting trapped in the metal brackets or wiring and accumulating plaque. With restricted access to your teeth, poor brushing could lead to white spots upon the removal of your braces. This is irreversible and may require further cosmetic treatment to rectify. Clear aligners allow unrestricted access to your mouth during the brushing routine. As you are required to wear your clear aligner for up to 22 hours per day, you must ensure you treat your teeth to a thorough, in-depth clean. This prevents bacteria and plaque from building up and becoming trapped between your teeth and the trays.

4. Cost

Another difference between braces and clear aligners is how much each treatment plan is expected to cost. Prices can differ depending on a number of factors such as the type of braces or clear aligners chosen and the severity and complexity of your teeth. A quote can usually be finalised during an initial consultation. Braces typically cost around £1,000 but can also set you back up to £5,000. Clear aligners, on the other hand, tend to be a little more expensive. On average, they range from £2,500 to over £7,000. It is worth shopping around to find a reputable orthodontist in your local area with a treatment plan to suit your individual budget and requirements. You may also benefit from familiarising yourself with online reviews and testimonials or before and after images from former patients satisfied with the transformation of their teeth.

5. Diet

Whilst all forms of orthodontic treatment require patients to adjust their diet accordingly, some dietary limitations are more drastic than others. Dentists recommend those fitted with traditional braces to avoid hard, crunchy, chewy, or sticky food. This can include popcorn, nuts, hard candy, and chewing gum. This can wear down the structural integrity of the metal brackets and wiring and cause them to snap or break. Some dentists also recommend you limit your intake of fizzy drinks. The acidity may gradually dissolve and dislodge the bond between the brackets and your teeth. Patients with clear aligners benefit from a relatively unrestricted diet. However, you must remember to remove your trays to eat as failing to do so may cause them to crack and shatter in your mouth.

6. Timeframe

Each orthodontic treatment requires a different length of time depending on the severity of your teeth. However, some do tend to straighten your teeth much quicker than others. Since traditional braces are permanently fixed to your teeth, they can usually realign your smile in around 12 months. Although moderate to severe cases may require braces for 18-24 months. Clear aligners, on the other hand, typically require to be worn for 12-18 months. They can, however, also only be worn for 6 months if your teeth only require slight readjustment. The timeframe can be a major consideration for patients seeking orthodontic treatment. It is worth asking yourself whether you need a quick fix or you would prefer a gradual realignment over time.

Follow-up treatment

All types of orthodontic treatment require several follow-up appointments. This reassures dentists that the chosen treatment plan has been a success and allows them to make any changes as necessary. Upon the removal of traditional braces, patients are fitted with a retainer. This must be worn permanently for an agreed period of time and on a regular basis for a number of years or even the rest of your life. This maintains the new position of your teeth and prevents them from reverting back to their previous state. Clear aligners also require retainers following the successful completion of treatment. These differ slightly from those offered to patients with traditional braces. They have been designed to work alongside clear aligners and to fit to the contours of your mouth. Depending on the severity of your case, you may be asked to wear your retainers permanently or only during the night.

Choosing the right orthodontic treatment for you is no easy task. There are a growing number of teeth straightening options out there making the final selection seem like an impossible task. Traditional braces and clear aligners have emerged as the most common choices for teens and young adults all over the world. By familiarising yourself with the difference and similarities between the two, you can make an informed decision and take the next step towards a brighter smile today.

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