What is the Difference Between Aligners and Metal Braces?

Posted on January 3, 2023

Did you know you have more choices for braces treatment than ever before? Whether you’re a teen or an adult, your orthodontist may recommend aligners or metal braces for your treatment plan. Let’s review the differences between these two options.

1. Visibility

Traditional metal braces are the most visible braces, as they consist of metal brackets and wires attached to each tooth. In contrast, aligners are made of clear plastic and fit snugly over your teeth. So you can wear aligners without anyone knowing you have them on.

2. Comfort

Metal braces may be uncomfortable at first, due to their size and weight, while aligners are lightweight and barely noticeable when worn. Aligners use plastic as opposed to metal, which reduces the risk of mouth irritation or gum sensitivity. If you experience mouth irritation from metal braces, however, you can use orthodontic wax to soothe it.

3. Treatment Time

Metal braces typically take longer to straighten teeth than aligners. Aligners take about 12 months, but you can see results in as little as 12 weeks. Traditional braces may take up to two years for full treatment. However, metal braces are also able to treat more severe alignment issues.

4. Cleaning

Cleaning is much easier with aligners than with metal braces. You must carefully brush around metal braces to properly clean your teeth and avoid damaging the brackets. According to U.S. News, orthodontic patients only wear their aligners about 22 hours a day. You have to take them out to eat, drink, and brush your teeth. This removability makes it easier to maintain good oral hygiene.

5. Cost

Aligners tend to cost more than traditional metal braces. They require specialized materials and equipment for their fabrication, as well as regular visits to the orthodontist for adjustments. Aligners cost more money, while metal braces will cost you more time.

6. Orthodontist Visits

Expect to see your orthodontist more frequently when using clear aligners like Invisalign. You’ll need to switch out your aligners every couple of weeks. During these visits, your orthodontist will check the fit of your aligners and make any necessary adjustments.

Metal braces and clear aligners both have pros and cons but can do an amazing job clearing up various issues. The best treatment will depend on the extent of your tooth gaps, crowding, and alignment. Visit our orthodontist office today so we can evaluate which treatment is best to give you an ideal smile as soon as possible.

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