Most people have heard of them; braces and aligners.
When it comes to straightening teeth, these two options are the most popular among patients who want to achieve a beautiful and healthy smile. Both orthodontic options have advantages and potential complications, and your choice should depend on your particular needs and preferences and what your dentist or orthodontic team thinks.
Of course, while most people would instinctively prefer aligners, braces offer many benefits too, and here, this article compares both treatments to help you see which one is right for you.
What each option can treat
Traditional braces are the oldest and most well-known option for straightening teeth. They use metal brackets and wires that can be attached to the teeth and tightened over time to shift them into the desired position. The braces are visible and can be a bit uncomfortable, especially in the first few weeks of wearing them. However, they are highly effective for correcting even the most severe orthodontic issues, such as crooked teeth, overbite, underbite, and overcrowding. Invisible aligners, also known as clear aligners or Invisalign London, are a newer alternative to traditional braces. They are made of clear plastic and custom-fit to the patient’s teeth. These aligners shift the teeth into the desired position by applying gentle pressure. They are virtually invisible and can be removed for eating, brushing, and flossing. However, they may not be suitable for treating complex orthodontic problems, and they require strict compliance from the patient to wear them for at least 22 hours a day.
Which one is more comfortable?
When it comes to comfort, invisible aligners are generally more comfortable than traditional braces. Aligners do not have any wires or brackets that can irritate the inside of the mouth or cause discomfort. They are also simpler to clean and maintain, as they can be removed for brushing and flossing. However, they require more discipline from the patient, as they need to be worn consistently to achieve the desired results. Traditional braces, on the other hand, may cause some discomfort and soreness in the first few weeks of wearing them. The brackets and wires can also trap food particles, making it harder to clean the teeth properly. However, they do not require as much discipline as invisible aligners, as they are fixed in place and cannot be removed by the patient.
In terms of treatment time, both traditional braces and invisible aligners can take anywhere from several months to a few years to complete, depending on the severity of the case. However, as the braces are treating a more complicated case, they will inevitably take longer and usually require around three years to work. Aligners, on the other hand, will typically work in about 3 to 6 months for most people.
For adults undertaking orthodontic treatment, the cost is a huge factor.
When it comes to cost, traditional braces are generally more affordable than invisible aligners, even if they are being fitted privately. However, this can vary depending on the individual case and the location of the dentist. Additionally, some insurance health plans in the UK may cover a portion of the cost for traditional braces and invisible aligners. Also, almost all dental clinics that offer both braces and aligners can provide you with payment plans or financing to help you break down the cost.