Orthodontic treatment provides different appliances to correct the alignment of the teeth and thereby improving appearance and speech, and providing jaw support. These procedures help promote oral health and reduce the chances of tooth decay.
Orthodontic treatment offers permanent solutions to people with different issues of misaligned teeth. Dentists usually suggest orthodontic treatment before reaching adulthood as it allows for greater flexibility in re-arranging of teeth, but there are treatment options available for those in adulthood as well. This treatment will require several weeks to months before the alignment is corrected. This also involves periodic visits to the dentist for corrective adjustments.
Braces have been traditionally used for the corrective alignment of teeth. They are usually metal brackets that slowly apply pressure to the teeth and move them to the desired position. There are different types of braces available that suits the different needs and preferences of people.
Clear aligners can be looked upon as one of the newcomers in orthodontic treatment. They are clear tray-like coverings that are worn over the teeth and help move the teeth to the correct positions.
Braces are easily visible with their metal brackets/colourful bands that anchor the appliance to the teeth. Many feel embarrassed to use them due to their visible nature.
Braces are visible when one is smiling or talking and they can look unappealing, whereas clear aligners are invisible. They are the clear or invisible appliance that is not noticeable. Only the wearer will know they are using the appliance and it is totally invisible to any other person. It offers the wearer the confidence of this invisibility while at the same time continuing with the orthodontic treatment.
Many are comfortable to continue with this treatment when compared with braces and it supports getting aligned teeth and thereby oral and dental health.
Metal wires hold the braces in place. These metal braces when initially worn can poke the soft tissues of the mouth and cause bruising. They can also be uncomfortable for the wearer due to the wires in the mouth.
In the case of clear aligners, there are no metals in the appliance and there is comfort in wearing them. They also have the advantage of having no sharp edges or sides that can bruise the oral tissues.
The metal wires need to be tightened for the correct alignment of teeth, whereas in the case of clear aligners this is not needed. There have also been accidents seen in the case of braces where the wires break off due to different reasons and will need professional help for repair.
Cleaning is a big issue for people who wear braces. Food gets easily stuck between the wires in the mouth, especially food that is sticky and chewy.
Braces can be thought of as ‘permanent’ appliances that cannot be removed till the treatment is complete or if needed can be removed only by the dentist. Removing the braces and cleaning them is impossible. This also leads to plaque deposits in the teeth if cleaning is not proper and will lead to tooth decay and a decline in oral health.
Clear aligners are easy to remove and they can be removed while consuming food and worn again after consuming food. Brushing and flossing the teeth can be continued as before when clear aligners are used, thereby being no compromise to oral health.
Consuming food becomes highly restrictive when braces are worn. The main reason for this is the metal brackets that make it difficult while consuming food. As there are metal wires present, care must be taken not to exert pressure on the teeth while consuming food. The pressure can result in the wires getting broken and causing bruises on the oral tissues.
This issue does not happen while using clear aligners, as they can be easily removed while one is consuming food that is hard to chew. The aligners do not experience any pressure and thus the food does not compromise on the quality of the appliance. Continuing with earlier food habits and lifestyle is possible while using clear aligners with no food restrictions at all.
Dental consultations are needed when using any dental appliance be it braces or clear aligners. In the case of braces, dental consultations need to be frequent as the braces will be tightened by the dentist at different times. This is needed to make sure the alignment of the teeth happens as planned.
The dental visits in the case of clear aligners need not be as frequent as there is no fixing or tightening required as braces. In comparison, those wearing braces will need dental consultation as frequently as every 4-6 weeks while compared those wearing clear aligners need to go for only a few routine consultations.
The comparisons given above on clear aligners being more beneficial than braces are not exhaustive. The methodology used in clear aligners is a cutting-edge technology which helps with less impression scanning and less discomfort. There is also no discolouration experienced in those who use aligners. Those who wear braces experience very slight discolouration where the braces were placed.
The comfort and benefits that come with clear aligners are many but it is equally important to go with the appliance that benefits the wearer. Before deciding on the type of dental appliance, it is important to have a discussion with the dentist to understand which will suit the requirements that one has.
It is important to inform the dentist about the lifestyle habits and medical conditions beforehand to help them recommend a dental appliance that is suited. All these are important in making good decisions that will help promote better alignment and healthy teeth.
If you feel that you have crooked or misaligned teeth, it can be easily corrected with the help of braces or clear aligners. Get in touch with your dental clinic for a preliminary consultation. After a check-up, they will suggest the most suitable option for you.