Teeth Aligners vs. Braces
You’re on your way to getting that perfect smile, so you’re trying to straighten your teeth. We’d love nothing more than to let you make informed choices, so let’s help you out! Teeth aligners vs. braces, which one suits you better?
We’ll discuss everything you need to know about teeth aligners and braces, how they work, and their benefits and key differences. We’ll also talk about why you should favor one over another and answer some frequently asked questions about them.
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What Are Teeth Aligners?
Teeth aligners are clear, plastic moldings that fit over your teeth and gently help them straighten. They’re removable, more comfortable than braces, and virtually invisible when worn.
Teeth aligners work best on adults and teenagers with mild to moderate misalignment problems like spacing, crowding, and bite issues. They’re supposed to be worn for 22 hours daily for two to four weeks and then replaced with another set of aligners.
How Do They Work?
Teeth aligners shift your teeth into your desired position within six to twelve months. The aligners apply gentle pressure on your teeth to help them align, and they’re meant to be worn for long periods except when eating, drinking, and brushing or flossing.
Since teeth aligners are made from plastic, eating and drinking anything other than water can warp or damage your aligners. These things aren’t meant to withstand the extra tension that comes from chewing, so they’re likely to easily break if not taken care of.
If you use teeth aligners, you’ll be expected to replace them every two to four weeks and see your orthodontist every eight weeks so they can check your progress or make necessary adjustments. You should also expect to wear retainers for about six months after finishing the treatment.
When Should You Use Teeth Aligners?
If you don’t like the hassle and pain that often comes with braces, teeth aligners may suit you best. They’re discreet and comfortable, so they’re perfect if you don’t like the hard pressure of braces or their appearance. They’re also more convenient since you can take them on and off as needed.
However, you should note that teeth aligners are only recommended for those with mild to moderate problems like crowding, spacing, overbite, underbite, or crossbite. If you have a more complex issue, your orthodontist may not recommend this option.
What Are The Benefits Of Teeth Aligners?
So, what else can you expect from teeth aligners? Let’s talk about their benefits in detail:
Compared to braces, teeth aligners can offer an improvement in the appearance of your teeth. They won’t look messy on your teeth since they’re clear, and they’ll barely be noticed. Basically, they’re your secret partner for teeth straightening!
Teeth aligners use smooth, flexible plastic to snugly fit over your teeth and provide gentle pressure. This is less likely to irritate your mouth and gums, so it’s more comfortable than braces, which often feature metal brackets and wires.
Convenient Brushing and Flossing
You don’t have to eat while wearing teeth aligners – you actually have to remove them when eating or drinking anything besides water! The same goes for brushing and flossing; you need to remove your teeth aligners when doing those, so you can clean your teeth better without the hassle of having anything stuck in there like they would if you wore braces.
No Restrictions on Hard or Chewy Foods
Continuing on about the convenience of being able to remove them, teeth aligners let you eat anything you want! Braces may force you to avoid hard or chewy foods because they can bend the wires or break the brackets, but teeth aligners won’t – teeth aligners have to be removed when eating.
Reduced Orthodontist Visits
You’ll only need to visit your orthodontist every eight to ten weeks when you’re wearing teeth aligners. It’s fewer compared to the adjustment and tightening visits that happens every four to six weeks when you’re wearing braces, saving you quite some time!
What Are Braces?
You already know what these are: they’re the metal wires you’ll see on some people’s teeth, and sometimes they even feature colorful upgrades or designs on the rubbers of their metals. Unlike teeth aligners, braces are very obvious when worn, so people often customize them with different bracket colorings or designs to show off their style.
Braces are an orthodontic treatment for misaligned teeth, consisting of a metal bracket attached to each tooth and connected with a wire. They’re meant to be periodically adjusted so they could gradually move your teeth into your desired position, and they can treat gaps between teeth, overlapping or crowded teeth, and many other conditions.
How Do Braces Work?
Braces use brackets, bands, and wires to fix your teeth. The brackets are attached to each of your front teeth and are connected to archwires, which are then periodically tightened to apply pressure to your teeth and eventually move them to the correct position.
Tiny rubber bands or ligatures hold the brackets and archwires in place, and these ligatures are often designed in different styles or colors to make wearing braces more fun for some people. Unlike teeth aligners, braces can be used on both children and adults, and they can’t be taken on and off.
When Should You Use Braces?
Braces work best if you need more complex orthodontic treatment. People with bigger teeth issues may benefit well from braces, as well as children who are too young for teeth aligners. You’ll also suit braces if you can’t commit to the hassle of taking teeth aligners on and off to eat, drink, brush, or floss.
Braces are excellent for correcting many misalignments in a short time since you can see completed results in as little as six months when using braces. Compared to teeth aligners that take a year to a year and a half, this is a shorter route.
What Are The Benefits Of Braces?
So, what makes braces worth it despite being unremovable? Let’s discuss this in detail:
Suitable For Challenging Corrections
Braces work well for complex orthodontic issues like overcrowded teeth, malocclusions, and jaw misalignment. Braces are made with metal, so they’re tougher and better suited to treating harder cases than teeth aligners, which are made with soft, flexible plastic.
Abundance Of Choices Available
While teeth aligners only offer a standard, clear plastic option, braces offer you plenty of styles, colors, and materials to choose from. You can customize braces to suit your style by having their rubber or ligatures adopt fun shapes like flowers or hearts or play with cool patterns with colorful wires and brackets weaved together. You can also pick from traditional metal, ceramic, self-ligating, or lingual brace types.
Not Easily Removable
The removability of braces can both serve as a blessing and a curse. On one hand, you don’t have to worry about taking it on and off or readjusting it all the time because it’s fixed to your teeth. On the other hand, being unremovable means it’ll be harder to clean your teeth because you have to maneuver around the braces.
Compatible With All Beverages, Ensuring Safety
You can drink anything you want when wearing braces without worrying about damaging them! Unlike teeth aligners that can warp or bend the wrong way or get stained when you drink a fluid that’s not water, braces won’t.
Faster Treatment Time
Generally, braces offer faster treatment time than teeth aligners. Braces provide a more direct force to put your teeth in place, so they can easily give you complete treatment in a matter of months.
What Are The Key Differences Between Teeth Aligners And Braces?
Let’s get to the quick facts. What are the differences between teeth aligners and braces?
When Should Teeth Aligners Be Used Compared To Braces?
Teeth aligners can be used instead of braces when you’re dealing with mild to moderate orthodontic issues. This includes minor tooth misalignment, slight overcrowding, and a bit of a bite issue.
Teeth aligners may also be recommended if you want to treat your teeth in a more low-key and comfortable way. They’re virtually invisible and won’t be too distracting. They’re also more comfortable than braces and would suit people with sensitive gums.
Of course, if you’re dealing with more complicated issues, your orthodontist may recommend braces instead of teeth aligners. This also goes for children, as braces are fixed and are fixed on the teeth.
Can I Use a Teeth Aligner And Braces Together?
You can use a teeth aligner and braces together in some cases. This combination of treatments is a hybrid approach, and it’s often done when your teeth need even more complex corrections. This could mean you need to correct severe misalignment, close large gaps, or correct a deep bite.
The braces would act as the corrector for your problem’s more challenging aspects, while the aligners would serve as a fine-tuner that polishes the results and ensures your teeth enter the correct desired position.
Ideally, the hybrid approach of using a teeth aligner and braces together can shorten the amount of time you have to spend on braces and reduce the discomfort of wearing braces. Of course, it’s not suitable for everyone, so discuss this with your orthodontist first!
Which One Is Best For Me: Teeth Aligners Or Braces?
Now that you know the benefits and differences between teeth aligners and braces, you should have a pretty good idea of which one suits you best.
If you only have mild to moderate teeth issues and would love something less visible, consider using teeth aligners. Otherwise, you’ll suit braces best if you have more problems and don’t mind their appearance.
Again, teeth aligners are removable, so you can easily take them on and off and keep your teeth clean. The caveat is that you really can’t eat, drink, or brush wearing teeth aligners because they’ll warp.
Meanwhile, the good side to braces is that they can stay fixed on your teeth, meaning you don’t have to worry about removing them every time you eat or drink. But the bad side is it can be hard to eat and you may need to avoid hard or chewy foods. It may also be tricky to clean your teeth because you’ll have to maneuver through the braces’ wires.
Then again, the decision may not be up to you sometimes. Ultimately, your orthodontist would recommend the best possible treatment option for your needs.
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Which is more painful: aligners or braces?
Aligners are generally considered to be more comfortable than braces. They’re made with a soft, flexible material and snugly fit the teeth. Braces, on the other hand, can irritate the gums and cheeks and are often more difficult to adjust.
Do aligners change face shape?
Teeth aligners can improve your teeth’s appearance, but they don’t change your face shape.
Which braces straighten teeth faster?
Traditional metal braces are generally the fastest way to straighten teeth because they’re more direct and can be adjusted more easily than other types of braces.
What age should you get aligners?
Teeth aligners work best on teenagers and adults since they can commit to following the treatment plan, which includes wearing the teeth aligners 22 hours a day, taking them off whenever they eat, drink, or brush, and replacing them every two to four weeks.
How tight should aligners be?
Aligners should fit snugly against the teeth, but they should not be too tight. If the aligners are too tight, they can cause discomfort and even lead to gum recession.