Braces vs invisible aligners: What to choose for your teeth?

For anyone wanting to set their crooked teeth right, the choice between braces and aligners can be a tough one. An expert helps you decide!
braces vs aligners
The choice is yours after all! Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Dr Sonali Grover Updated: 19 Jul 2022, 03:33 pm IST
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Patients often ask their dentist, which option will be better for them – tried and tested braces, or the newly introduced aligners?

Though the option of aligners might look very lucrative due to their appearance, it is essential to remember that aligners can treat most, but not all, orthodontic problems. Therefore, it is important that you have a thorough consultation with your orthodontist based upon your clinical examination. However, if both the options are available, you get to decide the best option based on your choice and your lifestyle.

braces advantages
If you’re appearance conscious, braces may not be best for you. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Traditional braces are made up of metal or ceramic material and are attached to the teeth. Wires and rubber bands are then used to provide the necessary force to help the teeth move into the desired position.

Aligners are made of plastic and are custom-made to fit the teeth. Each aligner has some movement built into them and gradually, with few sets of aligners, teeth are shifted into the desired position.

Advantages of aligners vs braces

1. Appearance: Aligners are not as noticeable as traditional wires and braces. So you don’t have to hide your smile during the course of treatment.

2. Diet: Since you remove your aligners to eat, the dietary restrictions won’t be there. You will still be able to eat the foods you like.

3. Hygiene: Since aligners are removable, you can brush and floss regularly. The maintenance of oral hygiene doesn’t become a challenge.

4. Appointments: This treatment works well with your schedule. There will be fewer appointments with your orthodontist, as compared to braces, which need an orthodontic appointment every 4-6 weeks.

5. Comfort: Aligners have an advantage of comfort to them. Despite the teeth being somewhat tender when they begin to move, the lips and cheeks become less irritated thanks to smoother plastic aligners.

teeth aligners advantages
Cleaning your teeth may be easier with aligners. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Disadvantages of aligners vs braces

Despite knowing all the great things about aligners, they still may not be the treatment of choice for you. Here’s why!

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1. Compliance: Since aligners have to be worn 22 hours a day to be effective, they are only removed for eating and cleaning. Some might feel shy or embarrassed or even find it difficult to do this in public.

2. Effectiveness: Though aligners are known to treat in most cases, the orthodontist can suggest braces in complex situations. If you still are still hung over aligners, the final result might not be 100% precise.

3. Cost: In some cases, the cost of aligners can be more than braces. However, in many cases they are similar or the same. Your orthodontist can discuss the cost of your options before you decide.

Advantages of braces vs aligners

1. Effectiveness: Almost all kinds of orthodontic problems can be treated with braces. So, braces are always an option.

2. Compliance: Since the braces are fixed to the tooth surface, patient compliance/co-operation is not an issue in most of the cases.

3. Variety: There are a number of options, ranging from metal to tooth coloured ceramic braces with colourful elastics and rings, which the teenagers love to flaunt.

Disadvantages of braces vs aligners

1. Comfort: Braces often irritate the lips/cheek surfaces, especially in the initial days.

2. Appearance: Braces are more noticeable than aligners. It might affect the lifestyle of a few patients.

3. Food restrictions: Hard and sticky food has to be avoided with braces.

4. Appointments: The appointments for braces tend to be longer and more involved, with active adjustments needed to be carried out in the chair. There may be a need for more frequent visits as well.

Also Read: Want straight teeth? Know this before going for teeth alignment

braces vs aligners
Braces mean more appointments with doctors. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

The last words

There’s a lot to consider while weighing up orthodontic treatment options. Hopefully, the information provided above will help in deciding the suitable option. However, being informed about choices and what it will mean on a daily basis is essential. The pros or cons will aid in making your decision easier.

Most importantly, ask questions to the dentists. Have all the necessary information from them to make an informed decision regarding choosing braces or aligners.

Be aware that orthodontic treatment should be done only under the supervision of a trained orthodontist.

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About the Author

Dr Sonali Grover MDS Orthodontist, Invisalign Certified, Dentamax Dental Clinic  ...Read More

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