When it comes to orthodontic treatment, patients visiting our Dental 266 clinic may be surprised to learn that they have a choice between a clear aligner vs braces. In fact, some people are even unaware that such a choice exists resigning themselves to the fact that they will be wearing fixed, metal braces for the duration of their teeth straightening procedure.
On the contrary, clear aligners such as Invisalign® are an effective way to straighten teeth and come with several key benefits that fixed metal braces don’t. With this in mind, let’s dive straight in and take a closer look…
One advantage of a clear aligner vs braces is that they are made from a clear and flexible BPA-Free thermoplastic, designed to fit over the teeth – a bit like a mouthguard. Inevitably this enables patients undergoing treatment to conceal the fact that they need teeth straightening in the first place. While older kids and younger teens may prefer fully customisable ‘bracket and wire style’ braces allowing them to express their individuality, many adults don’t really like the thought of sporting a ‘metal smile.’
Clear aligners allow a patient to go about their orthodontic treatment discreetly. So discreetly in fact, that no one ever needs to know that you’re wearing them – unless of course, you choose to tell them.
Unlike traditional teeth straightening where one fixed brace is worn continually for the duration of the treatment, clear aligners are designed to be easily removable. Not only are they custom made to be changed sequentially every 1-2 weeks but conditions of the treatment state that every time you eat or drink anything other than water, they need to be removed.
So what does this mean for you?
In essence, it means that patients can continue to eat what they want – when you wear fixed braces, for example, you need to avoid anything crunchy or sticky. Alternatively, with clear aligners patients don’t have this problem. They are free to adopt whatever diet they like.
In addition, anyone who has undergone orthodontic treatment using fixed braces in the past will know that keeping your teeth free from plaque can be a real problem. Food particles can easily become lodged behind the brackets, making teeth difficult to clean. No such problem with clear aligners – people are free to brush their teeth as they would normally.
With conventional orthodontic treatment, patients tend to have a love/hate relationship with their braces, getting to know them intimately. Because they remain permanently fixed for the duration, they are with you everywhere you go. Got a wedding to attend or a night out? Don’t forget, you’ll be wearing your braces. Got travel plans? Then guess what? Your braces will be coming too.
In reality, when you undergo teeth straightening treatments with conventional braces, you are to a certain extent governed by them. They tend to dictate what you do, where you go, and what you eat.
Now consider clear aligners…
We’ve already mentioned that each aligner is designed to be taken out easily and, as a result, you are free to remove them whenever you like. In reality, this means that if you have an important meeting, function, or a date, you can decide whether you wear them or not. In other words, you remain in control, not your braces in control of you.
There is however a caveat that goes alongside that…
In order for clear aligners to be fully effective, they need to be worn for approximately 22 hours a day depending upon the brand. If they are removed for any more time than this, it will start to impinge heavily on your treatment, even getting to the stage where your teeth may start to drift back to their original position again.
But before you say, ‘well that’s only 2 hours’, remember that each aligner will still need to be removed every time you consume food or drink and that can eat into your allotted time depending upon how quickly you eat your meals.
Ease-ability (of virtual scanning)
Let’s face it, getting conventional orthodontic treatment can be messy, particularly when it comes to impression taking. Typically, patients are asked to open wide while extenders and an alginate type material is thrust into the mouth. This isn’t a pleasant experience for most people but for patients with a low gag reflex, the process can be particularly traumatic. Add to this the fact that it isn’t always 100% accurate the first time and therefore it may need to be done again – and it probably isn’t the best start to your teeth straightening journey.
One key benefit of opting for a clear aligner vs braces is that the impression taking element of the process is fully digitised. This means instead of enduring a mouthful of alginate, clear aligner patients are presented with an intra-oral scanner. This is a clever wand-like instrument that when passed quickly over the inside of your mouth virtually scans its contents giving our dentist a perfectly accurate 3D representation of your mouth. This reduces the time patients need to spend in the chair allowing for a more comfortable experience all round.
As you can see, the benefits of clear aligner treatment vs braces are numerous and are one of the reasons why more and more people are opting for teeth straightening with contemporary clear aligners.
If you are considering straightening up your smile, but don’t like the thought of wearing fixed braces, come and talk to the team about clear aligner treatment. To make an appointment call Dental 266 on 02 9051 0600 or book online. We’ll ensure that you get the right treatment for you.