Everyone wants a bright and appealing smile, but despite our efforts to attain that ideal smile, some of us still find ourselves battling dental issues like cavities and, maybe the most common drawback of all, misaligned teeth. Although the problem of misaligned teeth could be genetic, it is not incurable.
If you have misaligned or improperly aligned teeth, you could be an excellent candidate for orthodontic treatment to attain the "catchy" smile you deserve. Aside from giving you a smile makeover, orthodontic treatment can help keep several dental and oral problems at bay, for example, dental cavities and gum diseases.
Undoubtedly, orthodontic care can improve your oral health and quality of life, but how will you know which orthodontic treatment is best for your unique dental condition? The best way to find out is by scheduling an initial consultation with a dentist.
Your dentist will examine your unique dental condition to determine whether you should begin wearing clear aligners or metal braces to resolve your teeth misalignment issue. Read on for more helpful information about these two common orthodontic treatment options.
How Dental Braces and Clear Aligners Work
You could benefit from orthodontic treatment if you have crooked, crowded, misaligned, or imperfectly aligned teeth. According to the (AAO) American Association of Orthodontics, about 75 percent of Americans could be excellent candidates for orthodontic treatment to improve their smile appearance and resolve other dental issues.
To resolve this drawback preventing you from attaining your ideal smile, your dentist could recommend wearing metal braces or clear aligners. Wearing metal braces is an "old-fashioned" orthodontic treatment option, but it is still a common and preferred dental appliance for correcting misaligned bites.
Due to the advancement of technology, there are several models of metal braces you can choose depending on your unique needs and interests, including:
- Stainless steel braces.
- Gold-colored braces.
- Tooth-colored ceramic braces.
Regardless of the model you choose, how they function to correct your teeth misalignment issue is still the same. Your orthodontist will permanently attach your preferred braces model or type to the front side of your teeth. Then, he/she will use rubber bands and wires to provide the necessary force that helps move your misaligned teeth back into their ideal position over time.
If your dentist finds you could benefit from wearing metal braces, he/she can attach them to your teeth during your initial consultation or appointment after making your teeth alignment plan. Depending on your teeth alignment plan, your dentist could require you to schedule an appointment every four (4) to six (6) weeks to readjust your braces.
The maximum time you will wear your braces will depend on the severity of your unique dental condition, but typically three years are enough to give you the desired smile appearance.
Conversely, for clear dental aligners or braces, your dentist will create a mold or impression of your teeth, which he/she will use to create a series of custom-made plastic trays designed to fit over your teeth. Typically, you wear clear aligners over your teeth like a mouth guard.
Like metal braces, clear aligners or braces help straighten your teeth by applying controlled pressure on the affected tooth or teeth to move them to their ideal position in your mouth. Naturally, as the teeth move to the ideal position, the pressure will reduce, and the next aligner in the series will take over.
Unlike metal braces, you will not have to visit your dentist or orthodontist's clinic to adjust your clear aligner because this treatment option involves changing your aligner for the next one in line. During your initial consultation, your dentist will provide you with two or three clear aligners if you are an excellent candidate for this orthodontic treatment option.
If these three aligners do not give you the desired teeth alignment, your dentist could provide more tailor-made aligners for the smile makeover you deserve. Generally speaking, correcting your teeth alignment issue using clear aligners could take about twelve (12) months, with each aligner lasting approximately two (2) weeks.
Clear aligners and metal braces are effective remedies for straightening misaligned teeth to improve your smile appearance and oral health. However, most dentists recommend wearing clear aligners for patients with moderate teeth crowding or misalignment.
For severe teeth crowding, metal braces will be ideal and the most effective appliances for correcting your bite as soon as possible.
Pros and Cons of Invisible or Clear Aligners
Wearing clear aligners has pros and cons you ought to know when deciding your ideal orthodontic treatment option to straighten your teeth. Below are some of the advantages and disadvantages of this treatment option, respectively:
Although clear aligners are not suitable for every person, wearing them has several advantages you cannot overlook if you want to straighten or align your permanent teeth. Apart from being invisible, clear aligners have several other pros, such as:
- Easy to maintain your dental and oral hygiene since they are removable.
- No dietary restrictions, meaning you do not have to alter your diet.
- Shorter treatment time.
- Fewer dental visits are needed.
- You can have discreet treatment since they are invisible.
- Greater comfort when wearing them.
Undoubtedly, the advantages of wearing clear aligners outweigh the available disadvantages, for example:
- Some aligners are more costly than metal braces.
- It is unsuitable for every dental case or problem.
- It is unideal for patients who are unready to conform to the dentist's treatment plan, especially young children.
Pros and Cons of Metal Dental Braces
Like clear aligners, metal braces also have their advantages and disadvantages. Below are the advantages and disadvantages of wearing metal braces, respectively:
Although metal dental braces are not aesthetically appealing, they also have numerous advantages. Some of these advantages include the following:
- They are cost-friendly.
- There are several personalized options for patients.
- They are suitable for all dental issues.
- Compliance is not an issue since they are permanent on your teeth.
- They are suitable for all ages, including children.
- They can make it difficult for you to maintain top-notch oral and dental hygiene.
- They are easily noticeable when wearing them.
- They are likely to cause slight discomfort because they can rub your lips and cheeks.
- Some chewy or hard foods like nuts can break the bracket which holds the wire in place.
Factors That Can Help You Make the Best Decision Between Metal Braces and Clear Aligners
Whether to straighten your misaligned or otherwise "imperfect" teeth using metal braces or clear aligners, this decision requires great consideration ahead of time. The following factors can help you weigh up all your options and make an informed decision on the best orthodontic treatment option for your unique dental condition and lifestyle:
Although wearing clear aligners and metal braces has advantages and disadvantages, your dental hygiene should be the top consideration when choosing your ideal orthodontic treatment option. Traditional metal braces are ideal for all dental conditions, but they make it challenging to maintain top-notch oral and dental hygiene.
For that reason, if you decide to correct your teeth misalignment using metal braces, you must be ready to adjust your diet by eliminating various foods like hard candy, popcorn, and bagels which can easily stick in the brackets.
A poor food choice can make it challenging for a brace wearer to maintain top-notch dental and oral hygiene, creating an ideal environment for cavity-causing bacteria to thrive. When that happens, it could be necessary to have them removed early to prevent further damage to your teeth.
However, if you are a clear aligner wearer, maintaining dental and oral hygiene will not be an issue because you can remove them anytime you want to brush or floss your teeth. Typically, you can clean the aligners twice daily or after every meal to remove any possible food particles trapped between them and your teeth.
Does it bother you when other people see or notice that you are wearing braces? If so, you could be an excellent candidate for clear aligners or braces since they are less noticeable than metal ones. Although wearing metal braces is more common in children, even adults can wear them to straighten their misaligned bites or teeth.
However, many adults worry about the stigma often associated with wearing metal dental braces or that they will appear "childish" while wearing them. By contrast, several young adults and teenagers are comfortable wearing traditional metal braces because they treat them as a way of self-expression.
For instance, dentists allow teenagers to choose different rubber band colors to honor or celebrate an upcoming holiday or their favorite sporting activities or teams. While now there are several inconspicuous options (braces that go behind your teeth and tooth-colored brackets), other elements like wires and rubber bands will remain visible.
For that reason, if you are worried about your appearance when you wear braces, clear aligners would be an excellent choice for you. Perhaps the most important advantage of wearing clear aligners over metal braces to achieve your desired smile is that these braces are invisible.
Therefore, unlike metal braces, you can go about your daily life without anyone noticing that you are on an orthodontic treatment plan when wearing clear or invisible aligners.
Unlike metal braces that will remain on your teeth permanently throughout your treatment period, clear aligners are removable and require adequate compliance to achieve the desired results. Although you can remove your clear aligners to eat or brush your teeth, you should have them on again as soon as possible to help position your misaligned teeth back into their ideal position.
Typically, your dentist will require you to wear your clear aligners for not less than twenty-two (22) hours daily to achieve the ultimate result you need for a better smile and improved dental health. Like metal braces, clear aligners can be slightly uncomfortable, especially for young adults, meaning the temptation or urge to remove them will be high.
However, when you do, you should have them back in your teeth as prescribed to achieve the desired results in the shortest time possible. To that end, compliance with the prescribed treatment plan is key if you decide to correct your tooth misalignment issue using clear or invisible aligners.
Aside from being noticeable, traditional braces can also be uncomfortable and obstructive because the wires and brackets are likely to touch your cheeks and lips. Additionally, after each adjustment of your metal braces, you will likely experience soreness in your cheeks for a few days.
On the other hand, for clear braces wearers, there are no dramatic changes whenever they adjust their aligners or braces. While there could be some initial discomfort once you switch to a new set of aligners, this discomfort is easily manageable.
Therefore, if you are unwilling to cope with the possible discomfort caused by traditional metal braces, clear aligners would be an excellent orthodontic treatment remedy for your misaligned teeth.
Clear aligners and metal braces will require you to schedule frequent dental appointments with your orthodontist or dentist. The time you spend at your dentist's clinic is approximately the same for both, though it could be slightly less for patients with metal braces.
Typically, metal braces could require at least two (2) long visits. At the first appointment, your dentist will bond your metal braces to your teeth. Then, at the second appointment, he/she will debond them, and depending on your unique treatment plan, one or two extensive bonding appointments could be necessary during the treatment.
Adjustment dental appointments for metal braces wearers are typically short and could occur anywhere from two (2) to eight (8) weeks apart. However, if there is an issue with your wires or brackets, for example, a breakage, you should schedule an emergency appointment with your dentist to fix the issue.
Conversely, clear aligners only require an extensive first dental appointment and another long last appointment to check and examine your teeth alignment. However, you should be ready to change your plastic trays every one to two weeks to achieve the desired teeth alignment results.
Fortunately, you do not have to schedule an appointment with your dentist whenever you need to change your aligners to improve your teeth' alignment. While clear aligners cannot break, there are chances that you could lose or misplace them, necessitating an emergency dental appointment for a “fresh” or new set.
If you are often busy with your daily activities, your dentist will recommend clear aligners as the ideal orthodontic treatment option for your tooth misalignment issues.
Find a La Puente Orthodontist Near Me
If you are unsure of the best orthodontic treatment option for your tooth misalignment issue, talking to a dentist could help. Although both clear aligners and metal braces can fix your teeth' misalignment, there are factors to consider before you embark on either of these orthodontic treatment options.
Our reputable dentists at La Puente Advanced Dentistry understand that and will help you choose the best orthodontic treatment option to suit your lifestyle and solve your teeth misalignment issue as soon as possible. Call us at 626-626-7075 and let us help you on your teeth alignment journey for the appealing and catchy smile you deserve.