With so many different kinds of adult orthodontics to choose from, and all of them promising to be the best thing ever invented, it can be difficult for patients to find out which tooth straightening method is the best one for their particular circumstance. In this article, I wish to speak about the difference between aligners and traditional fixed braces, as the difference between the two is stark enough that contrasting them may clear up a lot of the issues at play.
Aligners are transparent plastic trays that go over your teeth, kind of like a highly specialized and incredibly intricately textured tooth guard. They are a newer invention, and have many great qualities to them that set them apart from traditional fixed braces.
- Hygiene: Because they are removable, they are much easier to clean, and the teeth underneath it are also much easier to clean. This leads to a more hygienic treatment option
- Comfort:Aligners are reportedly more comfortable and cause less speech impediments and are not painful when they are activated
- Aesthetic:Since they are completely transparent,aligners are a more aesthetic option then fixed braces, as they are completely invisible in the mouth.
Fixed or traditional braces are what you think of when you think braces: brackets adhered to the tooth surfaces that are connected by a wire that goes through them. Here are their advantages:
- Function: Traditional braces are better at handling orthodontic issues, and handle them quicker, meaning less treatment time
- Stability:The fact that fixed braces are fixed is their greatest advantage and disadvantage. The advantage is that you cannot lose them, take them out for more hours than is recommended, and you are getting treatment 24/7
- Moves all teeth:When small tooth surfaces need to be moved, aligners just aren’t an option, as there is too little tooth surface to latch on to. With a bracket adhered to the tooth surface, no tooth is too small to be moved.
- Price: Traditional metal braces are always cheaper than aligners
Certain problems simply cannot be fixed with aligners, and require the force and power that fixed braces have. While slight movements of the tooth can be realigned with aligners, when teeth need to be rotated, or moved significantly, the only option is to go with fixed braces. Luckily there are tooth coloured ceramic braces and sapphire crystal brackets, which are almost completely invisible, and many cases can be solved with lingual braces, which are completely undetectable.