Braces vs. Clear Aligners
Updated: Jul 26
In recent years, there has been a surge in the use of clear aligners to straighten and perfect smiles. Ever wondered why some people are recommended traditional braces with wires, brackets, and elastics while others are able to transform their smile with clear aligners like Invisalign?
Clear aligners (such as Invisalign) are discreet and removable. For these reasons, clear aligners are typically preferred by adults because they do not interfere with daily activities.
Traditional orthodontics or braces are, however, the gold standard for straightening teeth and improving bite function. The wires, brackets, and elastics give the doctor control over tooth movement. Braces are also the best way to correct complex cases with under-bites or deep-bites.
Let's take a deeper dive into the pros and cons of each method of correcting teeth misalignment.
Traditional braces are best for handling complex cases because they are able to treat issues such as severe crowding, crossbites, overbites, and underbites. Braces can also be used to move teeth vertically to close open bites and are better suited for moving molars and pre-molars. The brackets and wires give the doctor flexibility when treating developing children who's mouths are constantly changing. Braces can be used to develop orofacial structure and change facial structure.
Most people find they have some level of discomfort with the brackets and wires. There are also restrictions on food because tough and sticky foods can get trapped in the brackets or knock them off. Additionally, braces make it more difficult to properly clean your teeth and gums. Braces require frequent visits (monthly) to the dentist for monitoring and adjustments. Lastly, some may be wary of braces due to aesthetic reasons -- it's challenging to hide brackets and wires, even with clear braces.
Typically patients are treated for 18 months to three years depending on their needs.
Clear aligners, or Invisalign, are just that: CLEAR. They offer patients a discreet way to address their bite. The aligners are removable and do not impact eating or cleaning habits. Clear aligners are minimally intrusive on everyday life. They are designed to address mild to moderate crowding and can close spacing between teeth. They also require fewer follow ups as the patient simply changes their aligner every two weeks.
There is often discomfort when switching between sets of aligners. The onus for compliance is on the patient to make sure he/she follows the doctor's instructions to ensure treatment success. Forgetting to wear your aligners or not changing sets on time, can slow down treatment or lead to relapse. Clear aligners or Invisalign are not suitable for complex cases. They are not adaptable as all the aligners are made at the beginning of treatment and the patient must follow through to the end.
Typically clear aligners are worn for 12 to 18 months. But this depends heavily on patient compliance.
Want to see a side by side comparison? Follow the chart below to see which treatment is best suited to you!