Aligners vs. Fixed Braces

If a patient needs orthodontry for a slight malocclusion, they are faced with two options: they can either get traditional fixed braces, or they can get a removable appliance. It may be hard to decide which to go with, and I intend to outline the differences between the two to give patients a better idea of which one to choose.

A Comparrison

Fixed braces cannot be removed. This can be a great disadvantage, or an advantage depending on the patient. While these appliances are always visible, and are always present in the mouth, they cannot be lost, as removable appliances, like aligners tend to be. If the patient shows up to their activation sessions, the treatment time is typically shorter with fixed appliances. And of course, serious malocclusions can only be treated by the use of fixed appliances.


Aligners have the advantage or disadvantage of being removable. They need to be worn for at least 20 hours everyday, and with the temptation to just take them out whenever the patient feels like is too great for someone, so the treatment time is typically longer because of this. They also exert less force, which adds to the treatment time. They can also get lost. But as a result of being removable, they can be cleaned easier, so problems such as root resorption or inflammation of the gums and periodontium that is usual with fixed appliances does not occur with this sort of treatment.
Aligners are also reported to be more comfortable by patients, and there are usually less complications involved with wearing a removable orthodontic device. With aligners this is even more true than usual, as there are no brackets or wires that can become undone or cause damage to the mouth, and the plastic it is made out of will not cause any swelling of the gums.


Aligners are typically more expensive than fixed appliances. There are special fixed appliances, like the Incognito™ or Damon orthodontic systems that can be more expensive than aligners, but at typical metal or ceramic fixed brace will be cheaper than getting aligners. The technology involved in making the aligners is reflected in the price, and as only the company can make them, there is less wiggle room for payment.
These are the aspects to consider when choosing which orthodontic appliance to purchase. Sometimes fixed appliances are simply not an option, as many adults just will not, or cannot wear fixed braces. In these cases aligners are the only option to consider, and consider you should,as malocclusions in the bite can cause a greater frequency of cavities, can lead to teteh having to be extracted, not to mention possible jaw and TMJ problems and aches.

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