Braces vs Clear Aligners

If you have made up your mind to undergo orthodontic treatment to improve the appearance and function of your teeth, you probably also have several questions regarding which dental appliance is right for you. After all, there are several options when it comes to traditional wires braces. Also, if you’re in search of something a little more inconspicuous, depending on the condition of your teeth, you may have the option of going with Invisalign clear aligners, which are clear dental appliances that are formed to the shape of your teeth. In this article, we will detail a few of the key differences between traditional braces and clear aligners and why you may want to choose one over the other.


According to the American Association of Orthodontists, the ideal orthodontic device is the one that addresses and corrects the dental problem that the patient is experiencing. For example, while clear aligners may seem like a compelling option, they may not be ideal for every patient. To help put this into context, orthodontic problems involving large gaps between teeth, mid-line movements exceeding 2mm, and overcrowding, for example, will typically require fixed orthodontics. The best way to know for certain which orthodontic treatment is right for you is to be seen by Dr. Stephen Chen of Texas Orthodontic Specialists who can accurately assess the condition of your teeth and recommend the appropriate treatment. That aside, let’s take a closer look at the differences between tried-and-true braces and modern-day clear aligners:


One of the biggest benefits of traditional braces is that they can correct nearly all orthodontic problems. They have been used successfully for decades and have helped countless people achieve the smile of their dreams. However, it worth noting that today’s braces have been revamped in that they can now be made with tooth-colored ceramics, which makes them little more inconspicuous. They are also available in stainless steel and even gold-colored.


Despite the many benefits of traditional braces, they are not the most eye-pleasing orthodontic appliance as rubber bands, brackets, and other hardware will always be visible while eating or talking.


Many orthodontic patients tend to gravitate toward clear aligner because they can remove them when brushing their teeth or eating. Unfortunately, this is not an option when it comes to traditional braces as they are considered fixed orthodontic appliances. Although short-lived, patients can expect to experience some irritation and discomfort when they are fitted with braces. However, these symptoms will begin to subside as they adjust to having them.


There is no denying that wire braces are hard to keep clean; nonetheless, patients will have to make it a point to remove food particles that may become trapped in the wires of their braces and also brush and floss regularly to ensure their teeth and gums remain healthy. Also, patients should be mindful of the foods they consume while wearing braces, meaning hard, sticky, or chewy foods should be avoided at all costs. It is also a good idea to limit carbonated drinks as well.


Clear aligners are far less conspicuous than braces and work by gradually guiding and repositioning the teeth over time.


Because they are constructed from clear thermoplastic materials, clear aligners are practically invisible. This improves compliance as people are less self-conscious about wearing them. Also, the ability to remove them when brushing or eating your favorite foods makes them that much more appealing. That said, patients will need to wear their clear aligners for at least 22 hours each day and also follow the tray sequence outlined by their orthodontist to achieve optimal results.


Similar to traditional braces, patients can expect some initial irritation and discomfort when they first start wearing clear aligners; however, they will become more comfortable over time. As far as hygiene is concerned, patients are advised to remove their clear aligners prior to consuming carbonated beverages or flavored water as the acid and sugar in these drinks can become trapped in-between the teeth and the aligners, which can lead to staining and tooth decay. It is also a good practice to remove them before eating as well.

For more information on orthodontic treatments, please complete an online appointment request with Texas Orthodontic Specialists. Initial consultations are always complimentary.

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