If you’re wondering what type of orthodontic treatment to choose to straighten your teeth, you might ask yourself, “What’s better, clear aligners or braces?” or “Do clear aligners work as well as braces do?”. Unfortunately, there is no one way to best answer these questions as everyone's smile and case is uniquely different.
There are, however, many advantages of clear aligners over conventional braces and they are an effective solution for most individuals. With advances in technology and materials, patients are now able to undergo orthodontic treatment that is less forceful, more discrete and comfortable than ever before. We're here to shed some light on 8 major benefits of clear aligner treatment to help you determine the best course of action to suit your needs.
#1 - Discreet
The number one selling point for clear aligner treatment, is that they can hardly be seen. As the name suggests, clear aligners are practically invisible, removable "trays", that are made of a clear, smooth BPA-free plastic that’s comfortable to wear and won't irritate your cheeks and gums like conventional metal braces often do. Custom-made to closely fit your teeth, the aligners apply gentle forces on your teeth in key areas to safely and gradually shift teeth into a more ideal position. Able to treat a variety of misalignment issues, clear aligners are the perfect discreet alternative to straighten teeth.
#2 - Removable
Because they are removable, aligners offer patients much more flexibility compared to braces which are permanently attached to your teeth until removed. Although they should be worn for at least 20-22 hours a day, they can be removed for eating, drinking, brushing your teeth, and for special occasions like a wedding, a first date, or even an interview or photo shoot. As long as these occasions are the exception rather than the rule. Remember, aligners can only work for as long as they are worn. So ensure you wear them for the prescribed amount of time or else it could extend treatment duration, or worse, deviate from your treatment plan and derail the progress you've made.
#3 - Comfortable
Although moving teeth from one position to another can cause slight discomfort, clear aligners can be more comfortable than conventional braces because there are no uncomfortable metal brackets or wires scraping the inside of the mouth and lips. And for added comfort, OrthoAlign clear aligners are designed with smooth, scalloped edges that make them comfortable to wear even while you sleep.
#4 - No Food Restrictions
Another reason why patients find clear aligners such an appealing alternative to conventional braces is they don't have to make any adjustments to their diet whatsoever. Many people think they need to avoid certain food or drinks like coffee, tea, or wine. However, aligners are designed to be removable, which offer patients the added benefit of freedom that traditional braces lack. That means no food restrictions and maintaining oral hygiene is much easier. Just ensure that you make it a habit to remove your aligners when eating or drinking, and wear them as soon as you’re done in order to keep up with your treatment plan.
#5 - Easily Maintain Oral Hygiene
Maintaining good oral hygiene with braces can become a tedious and laborious process, and if not done well, can increase the risk of inflammation and gingivitis. One of the many advantages of clear aligners is that they can easily be removed, so you're able to brush and floss normally without the added struggle of metal wires and brackets getting in the way.
#6 - Treat A Variety of Cases
Depending on each individual's case and orthodontic issues they are looking to resolve, aligners can be a great treatment choice for many adults and teens with mild to moderate malocclusion. Clear aligner therapy can treat a variety of cases such as crowding, spacing, overbites, underbites, crossbites, open bites and crooked teeth. In fact, due to the many advancements in dental technology and aligner materials, some orthodontist who used to treat patients with conventional braces, now favour treating their patients with clear aligners whenever possible.
#7 - Fewer Clinic Visits
Before you begin treatment, your doctor will provide you your treatment plan designed using high-tech software and 3D images of your teeth. Depending on the diagnosis, treatment duration can sometimes last as long as braces, if not faster. However, the frequency of dental visits with clear aligner therapy is greatly reduced as there are no wires to change out, or brackets to attach, tighten or repair. The few in-office checkups you do have can then be dedicated to ensuring your treatment is progressing as planned and to collect your next set(s) of aligners.
Clear Aligner Pro Tip: The American Association of Orthodontists recommends you carefully consider an aligner treatment that involves a doctor’s diagnosis, customised treatment plan, and regular visits with a skilled orthodontist versus a mail-order product that does not involve orthodontist supervision.
#8 - Real-Time Results
Being able to compare and witness the changes in your smile as it's happening can be really motivating for some people. So why not track your progress in real-time by documenting your smile journey! We recommend using the TrayMinder App (available on both Android and iOS). Created by an experienced orthodontist and recommended by other clear aligner users and orthodontists, TrayMinder helps notify you to wear your aligners, equipping you with a timer to track your daily wear time and statistics. Have fun documenting your smile journey right within the app iteslf! Take weekly photos of your smile, from an angle that shows the alignment of your teeth, and observe how much straighter they become as time goes by. You can literally watch your new smile taking shape!
Both braces and aligners have their advantages and disadvantages. But regardless of your choice, all patients should maintain good oral hygiene by brushing and flossing every day, and wear a retainer at the end of treatment to ensure your investment yields the best possible outcome for a lifetime.
To get started on your own smile journey, locate an OrthoAlign provider in your area to discuss treatment possibilities and receive professional advice and support tailored to you.
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