Are Clear Aligners Better than Metal Braces?
Clear aligners and metal braces both work towards a common goal – to straighten misaligned, ill-spaced teeth and/or bite correction. While both the appliances follow the same basic principles of shifting teeth by applying gentle pressure on them, a few differences give one a slight edge over the other. Based on a number of parameters, we have listed the pros and cons of both to help you make an informed decision for your orthodontic treatment.
Metal braces: Made of wires and brackets that are affixed to your teeth, metal braces are visible when you smile or talk. It can have an impact on the overall appearance and can lead to social awkwardness.
Clear Aligners: These are transparent trays that are customized for your teeth and are almost invisible. Using clear aligners as treatment can boost self-confidence as you don’t have to be conscious about your smile during social interactions.
MB: Metal braces and wires take some time to adjust to after the doctor places them on your teeth. They can cause some irritation to the inside of your lips and cheeks for the duration of treatment from the edges of the brackets or wires. They will give you wax to help alleviate the discomfort. Otherwise you will feel some tightness when you have your wires changed every 6-8 weeks.
CA: Wearing clear aligners can lead to minor initial discomfort the first day after changing into a new set every week. OrthoFX applies a gentle but effective pressure with our flexible polymer material (FXTetra) as they gradually move your teeth into their ideal position stage by stage.
MB: Once placed, metal braces will be worn for duration of the treatment period. Only your treating doctor is licensed to remove the brackets. One benefit is that braces cannot misplaced or lost like a retainer. They are working to correct your smile 24 hours a day as the wire is working.
CA: Aligners can be easily removed several times daily. However, in order to be effective, they must be worn for 20-22 hours a day for best results. Similar to a retainer, the aligners can be misplaced . With one week wear at a time, many times patients can move to the next aligner, or OrthoFX can make a replacement free of charge.
MB: Maintaining good oral hygiene is more effort with metal brackets, especially brushing and flossing. You have to be diligent as brushes work their way through the wires to remove plaque and buildup. There are also dietary restrictions to avoid damaging the brackets (hard and sticky foods) as well as the need to keep the area of the teeth clean to avoid plaque and tartar buildup.
CA: Maintaining oral hygiene with clear aligners is much simpler as they can be easily removed for brushing or flossing and access to the teeth and gums. Because the aligners can be removed, there is not any restrictions on foods you can eat, although it’s always best to brush before re-inserting the aligners in your mouth to avoid decay.
Time and Cost
MB: Depending on the complexity of the case, it can take 8-24 months (average) to correct orthodontic issues with metal braces, but the overall cost can be fairly affordable, especially if you have orthodontic insurance benefits in your dental plan.
CA: Research shows that clear aligners can have more effective results depending on the case type in a shorter treatment duration time. However, the overall cost of treatment with clear aligners may come at a premium over other treatment options due to the cost of the aligners from the manufacturer. The good news is clear aligners from OrthoFX do qualify for orthodontic insurance coverage with your treating doctor and other benefits, for example if you have a health saving account. We can research your benefits for your with our highly skilled concierge team at OrthoFX.
Final Treatment Outcome
MB: These are traditionally preferred to treat severe cases of malocclusion that go beyond just teeth repositioning. Examples may include bite correction or a severe crowding. There may be an opportunity to do a combination treatment with braces first, then clear aligners for the second half of treatment.
CA: These are mostly used to treat cases of mild-to-moderate crowding and spacing,deep bite, overbite and excessive overjet to achieve perfect alignment and corrected bite. Each patient presents different set of issues to be addressed.
We hope the above data points provide valuable information of how clear aligners and metal braces work, along with their advantages and disadvantages. But your orthodontist and dental professional is the best person to advise you in this regard. Above all else, they are the experts to guide you on the best solution for your case safely.
To learn more and how to get started, call the experts at OrthoFX Monday thru Friday
9AM PST – 5PM PST at 415-936-0006 or go to OrthoFX.com to book a complimentary virtual consult appointment with a local doctor.