Not sure how to choose between clear aligners and traditional braces? Our Calgary dentists offer some factors to think about, including cosmetic considerations.
Choosing Between Clear Aligners & Braces
Clear aligners like Invisalign vs. braces: a difficult decision! Fortunately, we can assist you. Here are some facts about each option to consider as you decide which one will help you achieve a straight smile.
Transparent clear aligners such as Invisalign are custom-made to fit your smile. These removable orthodontic appliances are constructed from clear plastic material. They forgo the brackets and wires that accompany braces and are therefore lower profile in appearance.
You will be given an individually tailored treatment plan to help you achieve your smile goals. You will typically spend less time in your dentist's office during treatment because your clear aligners will not require as many checkups or appointments as braces do. Every 4 to 6 weeks, your dentist will schedule brief appointments with you to review your progress and general oral health, answer questions, and adjust treatment 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 in the past. Because brackets have gotten smaller and more comfortable, you'll be less likely to get irritation on the inside of your cheeks or lips from them. However, because of their appearance, some people are still hesitant to wear metal braces.
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 smiles. 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 the upper front (your most visible) teeth to save on costs.
Keep in mind that your gums may feel sensitive with these because the larger ceramic brackets can make cleaning around the brackets more difficult, leading to receding or swollen gums if your toothbrush does not reach the gum line and enamel.