If you’re considering orthodontic treatment to correct misaligned teeth or other dental issues, you’ll likely encounter two primary options: traditional metal braces and clear aligners. While metal braces have been a reliable option for decades, clear aligners have surged in popularity due to their numerous advantages and are often the preferred choice for orthodontic patients of all ages. Below is a comparison of the two and six reasons aligners may be the better choice.
One of the primary factors to consider is appearance; people lean towards clear aligners because of their nearly invisible nature. Unlike conspicuous metal braces, clear aligners are discreet and barely noticeable. This is particularly appealing to adults and teenagers who may feel self-conscious about their appearance. Clear aligners provide the confidence to smile and speak without drawing attention to orthodontic treatment.
Enhanced comfort and reduced irritation
Traditional metal braces are noted for their sharp wires and brackets that can cause discomfort, irritation, and even ulcers in the mouth. In contrast, clear aligners are made from smooth, professional, health-grade plastic, eliminating the need for uncomfortable wires and brackets. This results in a more comfortable orthodontic experience, with reduced friction against the delicate oral tissues. Clear aligners are also removable, allowing wearers to take them out for special occasions or while eating, providing additional comfort and flexibility.
Improved oral hygiene
Maintaining proper oral hygiene is a critical aspect of any orthodontic treatment. Traditional braces have wires and brackets, which pose a challenge when cleaning the teeth and gums. Clear aligners, on the other hand, are removable, making it easy to brush and floss your teeth effectively. Without the hindrance of brackets and wires, you can maintain better oral hygiene and reduce the risk of cavities and gum issues.
No food restrictions
Anyone who has worn metal braces knows the extensive list of foods to avoid – no popcorn, no sticky candies, and no chewing gum. These restrictions can be frustrating and limit your food choices. There are no such limitations with clear aligners. Since they are removable, you can enjoy all your favorite foods without worrying about damaging the orthodontic aid. Just remember to remove the aligners before eating and brush your teeth before putting them back in.
Reduced appointments and treatment time
Clear aligner treatment often requires fewer in-person appointments compared to traditional braces. The aligner trays are typically provided in sets, and you change them at home according to your orthodontist’s instructions. Adjustments and maintenance are typically needed more frequently with metal braces. Additionally, clear aligner treatment can be more time-efficient, with some cases showing results in a shorter duration than traditional braces.
Minimal impact on speech
While some individuals may experience speech impediments or difficulty pronouncing certain sounds when they first get braces, clear aligners generally have a minimal impact on speech. This can be especially significant for adults in professional settings or anyone concerned about speech changes during orthodontic treatment.