Clear Aligners - How are They Different From Metal Braces

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While crooked teeth do give people a unique smile, some people would still want to get their smile fixed. Most people opt for getting braces during their teenage years but some people choose to fix the misalignment or gaps between their teeth later in life. Dental treatments for this are typically available in the form of metal braces, you can choose to get clear aligners that have become quite popular these days.

Do you know what exactly aligners are? They are a series of customised, tight-fitting mouthpieces that are worn over the teeth. Most people choose clear aligners because they aren’t visible like metal braces. While these invisible teeth aligners sound great, they aren’t meant for everyone. You need to consult your orthodontist to decide which would be the best dental procedure for you. Let’s find out more about invisible aligners so that you’ll have all the necessary information needed to make an informed decision.

Clear aligners vs metal braces

  • Metal braces are the most common teeth-straightening treatments available. They consist of brackets that are fixed to your teeth, and there are tiny slots in the brackets through which a wire passes. The wire is made of stainless steel and is connected to the brackets by small rubber bands. These wires exert a constant yet gentle force to ensure that your teeth are properly aligned.

  • Clear aligners, as the name indicates, are clear trays that are customised to fit your teeth perfectly. What makes this type of dental aligner a convenient choice is that it is removable. You’ll have the freedom of taking them out and putting them back, and you can even move your teeth with constant and gentle pressure, just like you do with regular braces.

  • While metal braces come in handy in treating severely crowded teeth, they make it difficult to brush and floss your teeth. This can increase the risk of tooth decay and plaque buildup. Clear aligners, on the other hand, do not interfere with brushing or flossing. To make the task easier, you can try Oral-B ProHealth Smartflex Manual Toothbrush. This toothbrush has been clinically proven to remove plaque than a regular toothbrush owing to its CrissCross bristles. These bristles are angled at 16 degrees to remove plaque from the right angle, and its Power Tip Bristles clean areas that are difficult to reach. So, get yourself a toothbrush that works gently on your enamel and gums, and gives you clean and healthy teeth and gums.

How do clear aligners work?

Once you consult with your orthodontist and you decide to get clear aligners, you will have to use several versions of these dental aligners to move your teeth throughout the course of the treatment. Clear aligners are made of acrylic material or clear plastic and are created to fit snugly over your teeth.

They work similarly to the traditional braces, sans the metal wires that are placed in the mouth or the metal brackets that are stuck to your teeth. These aligners are created from digital scans or moulds of your teeth. A series of clear plastic mouthpieces are created to fit your teeth and put gentle pressure on them to move them into a proper dental alignment.

You can wear each set of mouthpieces for one or two weeks and replace it with another set that is designed to bring your teeth to different positions. Another factor that contributes to ensuring that these clear aligners work is that you have to wear them as prescribed by your orthodontist.

Benefits of clear aligners

  • Aesthetically appealing:

    One of the major reasons why people choose not to go for metal braces is that they are visible and can make them conscious. So, clear aligners are better suited in such situations since they are less visible, and without the many wires and brackets that are a part of the traditional braces’ structure.

  • Easy to remove:

    The best part about using clear aligners is that they are quite easy to remove. You can do it on your own, without going to your orthodontist.

  • Easy to clean:

    Since you can easily remove the clear aligners, it won’t interfere with your dental hygiene routine of brushing and flossing your teeth. You won’t have to worry about food getting stuck in the brackets or the wire, and eventually causing tooth decay. Moreover, since you can remove the braces, they won’t get in your way and you can eat whatever you want.

  • Lesser chances of potential problems:

    With clear aligners, the chances of potential problems are lesser as compared to the traditional braces. You won’t have to deal with situations like broken brackets or wires, which leads to an emergency visit to the orthodontist.

Precautions while using clear aligners

While clear aligners are quite adept at helping your teeth align properly, and make it easier for you to practice good oral hygiene, ensure that you follow these precautions for a hassle-free experience.

  • To ensure that your teeth align the right way, you have to wear the aligners for 20 to 22 hours every day. While you might be tempted to take it off now and then, it won’t be as effective as it’s supposed to be.

  • To avoid cavities, you have to remove your clear aligners every time you eat or drink something. Food can get stuck in the aligners, and this causes bacteria to grow along the gumline and teeth. Moreover, there are chances of liquid seeping into the aligners and staining it and your teeth.

Clear aligners are a great option for those who do not have severe crowding issues or a complicated bite. These dental aligners are best suited for those who wish for less complicated dental treatments that are barely visible. Consult your orthodontist/dentist and consider the overall aspects of this dental treatment before you make your decision. In the meantime, continue taking proper dental care with the help of advanced dental products from Oral-B

Frequently-asked questions

  1. Which conditions can be treated with clear aligners?

    Clear aligners can be used to treat conditions like gapped teeth, underbites, overbites, and crowded teeth. Unlike the metal braces that use wires and brackets to put pressure on the teeth to make them move, clear aligners are customised to exert gentle and constant pressure to move the teeth.

  2. How long does it take to straighten teeth using clear aligners?

    The time taken to straighten your teeth using clear aligners depends mostly on how much the teeth need to be moved or rotated. In case the teeth are too crooked or the bite is too severe, it takes longer for the teeth to align. While the treatment usually takes between 10 to 24 months, if you are an adult who has braces, these invisible aligners take around 10 weeks to align your teeth.

  3. Why are clear aligners a better option than braces?

    While metal braces were used to treat dental issues, clear aligners are a better option since they allow you more freedom when it comes to eating and drinking anything of your choice. These aligners are easy to remove and make it easier for you to brush and floss, and thereby avoid tooth decay and other dental issues. They function like metal braces but without the hassles of brackets and wires, and let’s not forget, they are almost invisible!