Braces or aligners – what’s best for me?
Both braces and aligners are designed to straighten and move teeth to improve your bite and your smile. Is one more effective than the other? How do you know what’s best for you?
Braces have been around for a long time and have changed a huge amount over the years. They are now more discreet and more comfortable than they once were, however, the principle remains the same.
Small metal or porcelain brackets are glued to the front of your teeth and connected by wires and tiny rubber bands. The tightness of the wire can be adjusted to shift teeth over time and according to a predetermined plan. Once the braces are in place, they are not generally removed until your treatment is complete.
When you have braces, you need to visit your orthodontist approximately every six to eight weeks to have your progress monitored and adjustments made. The length of time you need to wear your braces varies from person to person, but it’s not uncommon to wear them for two years.
Learning about aligners
Aligners are a more recent invention, but their success is very well proven. Made from smooth, comfortable, clear plastic they are almost invisible.
Your aligners are moulded to fit perfectly over your teeth and, like braces, are designed to shift your teeth over time and according to a pre-determined plan. As your teeth move, your old aligners are exchanged for new ones to keep your teeth moving. On average, you will change your aligners every two weeks and visit your orthodontist very six to eight weeks.
Unlike braces, aligners can be removed for cleaning. However, they should be worn 24 hours a day, including while you are sleeping.
The length of time you need to continue wearing your aligners depends upon how rapidly your teeth respond to treatment. However, aligners are typically worn for six to 18 months.
Your orthodontist is the best person to advise whether braces or aligners will suit you best. A comprehensive examination, including x-rays, will help inform your decision. Typically, the cost of braces versus the cost of aligners is similar. However, some dental issues are more easily corrected with the use of braces while others are suited to the use of aligners.