How are Teeth Straightening and Aligning Different?

teeth straightening aligners

Have you ever consulted your orthodontist to get your tooth straightened but had your teeth aligned instead? For some of us, who have grown up in the 80s and 90s, getting braces was as trivial as getting a bicycle. Everyone with a crooked/protruding tooth has done it during the school days to get it out of their way early on. A straight set of teeth was an essential feature to own to be noticed and considered attractive. But, as times have passed people have realized the importance of getting your teeth aligned along with straightening to avoid breakage, to correct your bite and improve your overall oral health. So, let’s try to understand the differences between these two dental terms as both are important to own a good set of teeth. 

What is teeth straightening?

Now, teeth straightening is a procedure that has been around, believe it or not, since the 1800s. Even though they have evolved, today’s metal braces were invented in 1819 by Christophe-Francois Delabarre. Hence, the concept of teeth straightening is as old as electricity or telephone. People seek orthodontic treatment predominantly to make their frontal teeth straight, so straightening is a concept that does not need much explaining. With the straightening procedure, you are rotating and bringing your crooked teeth to align with the rest of your teeth arch, especially the 6 teeth that are visible when you smile. So, straightening is a cosmetic procedure done to give an aesthetic lift to your smile.

OrthoFX Clear aligners, the current favourite of orthodontists, use the same principle as braces while straightening the teeth, without the general inconveniences associated with the traditional metal braces. They apply pressure to the teeth, just the same, and move the teeth into position. Unlike braces, these are not affixed to the teeth and can be removed whenever you want. In the case of clear aligners, you need to change the pair every two weeks or so and each aligner will be different from the one before it so that it continues to do the straightening effectively. 

What is teeth aligning?

A relatively new dental term, teeth aligning is not about the cosmetic correction of your teeth, but about correcting your bite. The alignment of teeth is also called occlusion in dentistry, it refers to the way the upper and lower teeth fit together. Ideally, the upper teeth should be slightly over the lower teeth, and the sharp points of the molars should fit the grooves of the opposite molars for you to have the perfect bite. However, most of us suffer from malocclusion/bad bite. A misaligned jaw can often cause teeth breaks and bruises inside your mouth. Correcting a misaligned jaw is a crucial part of orthodontic treatment as some people even suffer from breathing difficulties, pain and discomfort due to this condition. It can also cause uneven wearing of your teeth. We must get the bite corrected, even if it’s minor, to avoid difficulties in the later stage of life. 

Clear Aligners may work as well as braces in correcting the teeth alignment. They are designed according to the structure of your jaws and teeth placement and may take less time in alignment correction than braces. There are many variables among dental practices and procedures. Research your options before investing in your orthodontic treatment. OrthoFX providers offer a free consultation to see if our aligners can not only straighten your teeth but also may be able to correct your bite efficiently with your doctor.