How to Decide Between Clear Aligners or Braces

Modern dental care offers many benefits to patients, but one of the most important is the range of options available for popular services like orthodontic care.

In decades past, someone interested in straightening their smile had only one option—traditional metal braces. Today’s orthodontic care has evolved to be more efficient and provide alternative treatment options to better match an individual’s needs.

Children, teens, and adults seeking orthodontic care can now choose between clear aligner systems or traditional metal braces. Although most adults already know which service they prefer, it’s still important to weigh the pros and cons of the clear aligners vs. braces debate.

Clear aligners systems are the most sought-after orthodontic solution.

Most older teens and adults interested in straightening their teeth will want a clear aligner system, like Invisalign or Six Month Smiles. It’s no surprise why.

The major advantage of Invisalign and Six Month Smiles is that you can receive highly effective orthodontic care without anyone else knowing. The clear aligners aren’t entirely invisible, but they are exceptionally transparent. In most cases, people won’t know you’re wearing them unless you happen to tell them your secret.

Teens and adults tend to be more aware of their physical appearance, and it isn’t uncommon for adults to completely forgo orthodontic care because they don’t want to wear braces. Thankfully, we have clear aligner systems that can treat most bite misalignments (known as malocclusion). This option has encouraged teens and adults to pursue orthodontic care when they otherwise may not have.

However, clear aligner systems aren’t for everyone or every smile. Braces are still a very popular option for a reason.

Braces are great for kids because they can’t be removed.

Traditional metal braces are the most frequently recommended orthodontic solution for children, pre-teens, and young teens. The reason why metal braces are great for kids is that they can’t be removed.

Clear aligners are removable, and that’s a benefit of those systems. You can simply pop out the aligner trays before eating or brushing your teeth. You don’t need to change your diet or dental care routine. But, the removability of aligner trays is actually a significant disadvantage for kids.

School-aged children and even some older teens may not be responsible enough to remember to replace their aligners after removing them. Forgetting to replace aligners means the 20- to 22-hour a day recommended wear time may not be followed, resulting in delayed and complicated progress. On the other hand, metal braces won’t be going anywhere, so you can rest assured that your child’s orthodontic progress is right on track.

Metal braces aren’t just for kids, though. Sometimes they are the only solution for treating advanced alignment issues.

Braces are a powerhouse for realigning severe malocclusions.

Clear aligner systems efficiently treat mild to moderate malocclusions, meaning misaligned teeth or a poor bite. The average person who just has some crooked teeth, including some gaps or crowding issues, might get results faster with a clear aligner system than metal braces. But clear aligner systems are usually not an appropriate choice for more severe malocclusions.

A person with extremely crooked teeth, very large gaps, inward or outwardly positioned teeth, or someone with a moderate or severe under- or overbite may not be a candidate for clear aligners. Metal braces may be the only option to repair these problems. If a clear aligner system was used with a less-than-ideal candidate, progress could actually take much longer than with metal braces, or worse, the patient may never be able to achieve proper results.

It’s important to consider this if you’ve had your heart set on Invisalign or Six Months Smiles. Your dentist will only recommend the best possible treatment solution based on what will most effectively treat your malocclusion.

A final look at the pros and cons of clear aligners vs. braces.

That said, here’s a breakdown of the 4 main points to consider when choosing between clear aligners vs. braces.

1. Clear aligners are nearly invisible, while metal braces are very obvious.

Being able to straighten your teeth under the radar and without drastically changing your appearance is especially appealing for older teens, adults, busy professionals, and many more. Today’s modern metal braces are sleeker in appearance, but they remain very obvious whenever you talk or smile.

2. Clear aligners can be removed before eating, while metal braces have some dietary restrictions.

Clear aligners always need to be removed before eating, but the advantage is you can continue eating all the foods you love. In comparison, you will need to be more conscious of what you eat when wearing braces, like avoiding very sticky, crunchy, or chewy foods.

3. Metal braces essentially treat all malocclusions, while clear aligners are more limited in their abilities.

When it comes to bad bites and crooked teeth, metal braces can basically treat it all, even in severe cases. On the other hand, clear aligners can’t treat more severe malocclusions. Additionally, if you have oddly shaped or very small teeth, metal braces may be the only option because clear aligners won’t be able to grip your teeth properly.

4. Clear aligners rely on personal responsibility, while braces offer a hands-off approach.

Clear aligners must be worn 20 to 22 hours daily to stay on track with your project treatment plan. Forgetting to replace aligners can set back this timeline or possibly cause other complications with your orthodontic care plan. Metal braces have the advantage of being completely hands-off, with only your dentist ever adjusting your wires and brackets.

Discover your best orthodontic treatment plan at Ada Smile Place.

Ada Smile Place is the place to visit when you’re ready to begin your journey toward a straighter, healthier smile. Our dentists provide comprehensive dental care services, and we are a Six Month Smiles and Invisalign provider in Ada, OK. Schedule your orthodontic evaluation today by calling or using our online booking portal.