Clear aligners and braces are two of the most popular options patients explore when looking to correct alignment issues. Both options work by slowly pushing the patient's teeth to a better alignment by applying a constant force on them.
The aim of teeth straightening treatments is to improve the positioning of poorly-positioned teeth, to improve the patient's bite and to enhance the appearance of their smile.
Poor teeth alignment causes more problems than simply ruining the way a person's smile looks. It also increases their risk of tooth decay and gum disease, which, in turn, increases the person's risk of health conditions like diabetes and heart disease. Other problems that poorly-aligned teeth can lead to include:
- Inflammation in the gums
- Issues with the temporomandibular joints
- Fractured teeth
Fixing teeth alignment with clear aligners or braces
Let us take a closer look at the two popular options that can be used to straighten teeth.
1. Metal braces
Metal braces have been used to improve the alignment of teeth for over a century. While these devices can ruin the appearance of the smile, they remain the most effective way to deal with severe teeth alignment issues. Metal braces can be used to fix orthodontic problems that clear aligners cannot fix, such as jaw malpositioning.
Unlike clear aligners, braces are made up of metal wires and brackets that are attached to the patient's teeth. The wires are used to connect all the brackets together. Additionally, they apply pressure to the teeth. The tighter the wires are the more force that is applied to the patient's teeth.
Braces will have to be adjusted many times over the course of the patient's treatment. The patient will be required to visit their dentist every six weeks so their progress can be monitored and the wires can be adjusted. The biggest downsides associated with metal braces include:
- Braces get in the way of oral hygiene and meals
- The metal brackets and wires can lead to cut and scrapes to soft tissues in the mouth
- Braces are impossible to miss when a person has them
- Braces take some time to get used to
2. Clear aligners
Clear aligners provide a subtler approach to straightening teeth. It involves using transparent aligner trays to improve the alignment of the patient's teeth. These trays are not noticeable when worn, which allows the patient to undergo teeth straightening without compromising their smile.
Treatment with clear aligners involves using multiple sets of trays to move the patient's teeth to the target position. Reasons patients choose clear aligners over braces include:
- Treatment is discreet
- Clear aligners are less likely to irritate soft tissues
- The aligners are removable
- The patient will be more comfortable with clear aligners, as opposed to braces
Adult patients often prefer clear aligners to braces because of all of the benefits stated above. Treatment tends to be much easier and more convenient with clear aligners.
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Want to know more about clear aligners and braces? Working with a general dentist to determine the course of treatment is the best place to start.
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