The discussion surrounding aligners vs. braces has been an ongoing one for dental patients. Fortunately, both are viable ways of fixing a number of dental issues, particularly crooked or incorrectly positioned teeth. However, each comes with their own list of pros and cons, so it’s important to have a complete idea of what to expect before making any decision. Most importantly, it’s advised to speak with your Dentist or Orthodontist to more clearly reason through your options, as you may require one but not the other.
What Are Aligners?Primarily used as an alternative to braces, aligners are made of plastic. They are also custom made to fit your teeth. Each aligner in the bracket is meant to move your teeth closer and closer to their correct position, just as braces do. Aligners differ from braces in that they consist of small bumps of composite resin, each attached to various teeth in order to grip and influence alignment. The main difference between aligners vs. braces is that aligners can be personally removed from the mouth, while braces cannot. The main advantages of aligners include:
- Appearance – Aligners are much less noticeable than braces, since they are clear and custom fit to your teeth.
- Hygiene – Since aligners can be removed, it gives you the ability to thoroughly clean them at any point, though they should still be worn nearly always throughout the day.
- Diet – Eating certain foods is easier than with braces because aligners are taken out while eating, eliminating the ability for remnants to get trapped in our mouths.
- Comfort – Aligners are generally more comfortable than braces, but they can still create tenderness while teeth are shifting.
- Appointments – Aligners require less frequent and less time-consuming visits to your orthodontist.
- Consistency – Aligners must be consistently worn for 22 hours a day to be effective. That means no breaks other than eating and cleaning. Perhaps the ability to remove the aligner at any time makes it more of a challenge to stay consistent.
- Eating – People may find it awkward or embarrassing to remove and insert aligners before and after meals, especially while in public.
- Effectiveness – Aligners are able to treat most cases, but more intensive oral situations may be handled with braces, which your Dentist or Orthodontist will certainly let you know.
- Cost – The aligners cost can sometimes be greater than braces, but generally they are about the same.
Pros and Cons of BracesRather than a molded bracket, braces are metal or porcelain fixtures that adhere to teeth, and are linked to a hook system at either ends of our rows of teeth. Wires and bands are then used to gradually bring our teeth closer together. Some of the main pros of braces include:
- Effectiveness – No matter how severe a case may be, braces can usually handle them efficiently.
- Compliance – Without the ability to remove your braces, you don’t have to worry about forgetting to put them in, and eating is easier without the hassle.
- Customization – There are multiple types of braces for kids, teens, and adults that vary in color and size to provide a more personal stylistic choice.
- Appearance – There’s no way to hide braces, as they are more noticeable in the mouth.
- Comfort – Braces tend to cause a bit more discomfort when first delivered but are otherwise comparable to aligners especially with the use of our MLS Laser at every appointment.
- Hygiene – Brushing your teeth is harder with braces, though the job can still be done accurately.
- Appointments – Throughout the time you have braces, you will need regular checkups with your Dentist to adjust fixtures, or reposition components.