Since clear aligners hit the market with Invisalign®, braces have been swept under the rug as the inferior option. While many people prefer the look and feel of invisible trays, there’s a reason dentists continue to offer braces. Clear aligners aren’t always the most effective solution, and some problems can only be solved with traditional orthodontics.
At ChapmanSmiles Orthodontics in Happy Valley, Clackamas, Oregon, orthodontist Dr. Gary Chapman can evaluate your teeth, jaw, and mouth and let you know if traditional braces or clear aligners are the better option.
Understanding the difference
Clear aligners and braces work in similar ways, and aim to achieve the same thing. They’re both used to correct orthodontic issues, such as:
- Misaligned/crooked teeth
- Gapped teeth
- Open bite
The primary difference between braces and aligners is how they look, not how they work. While dental braces shift and straighten your teeth using wires, clear aligners use removable trays. These trays are continually adjusted and replaced, similar to how your dentist would tighten your braces.
Benefits of clear aligners
Clear aligners exploded in popularity years ago, and they continue to be an effective, popular alternative to braces. Instead of getting a mouthful of wires and brackets, you can simply slip in an invisible tray. Clear aligners come with many advantages, including:
- Removability, so you can eat and brush normally
- Fewer adjustments and in-office visits
- Less intense and more comfortable
- Discreet appearance, so you or your child can maintain confidence
Aligners used to be limited to people with mild orthodontic issues, but the treatment has improved over the years. While severe cases should still be treated with braces, there’s a good chance you can benefit from aligner options like Invisalign and Spark™.
However, there are many other reasons to choose braces over clear aligners, especially when the patient is younger.
When braces are better
It’s common knowledge that children aren’t the most reliable when it comes to teeth, and they often forget things. If your child needs braces, you might be wondering if clear aligners really are the better option.
While the “invisible” aspect of Invisalign and Spark are the main draw, especially for teenagers, younger kids might not be prepared for the responsibility. The aligners need to stay in for at least 22 hours per day, making it a big thing to ask of a child.
The removability of clear aligners is considered a benefit, but it can also be a drawback. A child might forget to take them out while eating, or forget to put them back in afterward. The clear trays can be easily lost or damaged, requiring replacement.
Braces might not be the most attractive option, but there’s a reason they continue to be the standard in orthodontics. They’re also cheaper, and can address severe issues that clear aligners can’t.
To learn more and decide which is better for you (or your child), schedule a consultation with Dr. Chapman to discuss your options. You can get in touch by calling 503-336-1883, or request an appointment online.