When it comes to straightening your teeth, there are a few options, including aligners and braces. The choice that is right for you will depend on your unique needs and should be considered carefully. Let's dive deeper into aligners vs. braces to help you navigate the difference between two of the most common teeth straightening options and decide which option is best for your needs.
A breakdown of braces
When you're looking for a teeth straightening method, braces are the most traditional option. Usually made from metal, though sometimes ceramic, braces rely on brackets that are attached to each individual tooth and a wire to bind them together. Over time, and with the help of a doctor, that wire will be adjusted periodically in order to help move the teeth to their new position.
Benefits of braces
Here are some notable benefits of braces:
- You don't have to think about them: With braces, you can eat and drink without having to remove them. Also, there is no chance of forgetting to put them back in, which can help you avoid losing valuable teeth straightening time. Not to mention, they're not something that you can lose upon removal like aligners.
- Cost-effective: Braces are generally considered more affordable than aligners, though it depends on your needs (if you have a complicated dental case, both options will cost more than a simpler treatment plan). Additionally, braces may be more available and readily offered by doctors in your area than aligners.
Drawbacks of braces
Braces also come with several drawbacks, including:
- Cosmetics: One of the top complaints among people who wear braces is the fact that they're hard, if not impossible, to conceal. This can be troubling for those concerned with their appearance, particularly when it comes to adult braces. While there are options like ceramic braces to help reduce the appearance, they're not as inconspicuous as aligners.
- Difficult to clean: It's hard to get around the fact that metal braces can be difficult to clean. They require a more regimented cleaning routine and special tools like flossers to help keep up hygiene. If your teeth and braces are not properly cleaned, your teeth may be in worse condition upon removal, even if straighter.
A breakdown of aligners
Aligners are similar to braces in that they help to move your teeth to their final position. However, aligners are made of clear plastic that is custom molded to fit your teeth. Every few weeks, the aligner trays will be swapped out for a new pair that continue to shift the teeth slightly.
Benefits of aligners
Here are some advantages aligners offer:
- Cosmetics: One of the greatest draws of aligners is the fact that clear aligners can look the same as teeth. If you're in a customer-facing role or simply want the teeth straightening process to be less obvious than traditional braces, aligners make for a great choice.
- Freedom to eat anything: We've all heard the classic no-no's when it comes to what you can and cannot eat with traditional braces. But with aligners, that fear is eliminated. You can take out your aligners and enjoy whatever it is you're craving - popcorn, gum, you name it.
Drawbacks of aligners
Here are some drawbacks of aligners:
- Must be removed for eating: For chronic snackers or slow coffee drinkers, having to remove the aligners constantly can be a burden. That's because, with aligners, you're always supposed to remove them when eating and drinking, both to protect from staining and damage to the trays. It can be a hassle to sneak off to the restroom or remove those aligners every meal, whereas braces are in all the time.
- Not suitable for all cases: In the instance that you have severe dental issues, such as jaw issues causing an open bite, aligners may not be the best choice for you. That's because aligners are usually used to treat less complex needs, and other complicated measures you might need (spacers, rubber bands, etc.) may mean braces are best.
How to decide which is right for you
The decision that is right for you comes down to your lifestyle, needs, and which straightening tool is best for your teeth. If you're someone who has a more advanced case, traditional braces may be the best option. But if your budget is bigger and you need something that offers a relatively undetectable look, aligners might be perfect! Speaking with a qualified orthodontics team can help to compare those options for your unique case.