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How to Choose Between Clear Aligners & Braces

Stressed about whether to choose clear aligners or traditional braces? Our dentists in Burnaby share some things to consider, including cosmetic factors. 

Choosing Between Clear Aligners & Braces

For orthodontic treatment, you may have a tough choice on your hands: clear aligners such as Invisalign or braces? Fortunately, we can help you out. In this post, we'll share a few things to consider while you think about which option is for you. 

Clear Aligners

Custom-made to fit your smile, transparent clear aligners are removable orthodontic appliances built from clear plastic material. They forgo brackets and wires that accompany braces and therefore feature a lower profile appearance. 

Your dentist will develop an individually customized treatment plan for you to help you achieve your smile goals. With Invisalign, you'll typically spend less time in your dentist's office during treatment than with braces, since you may not need as many appointments or checkups. This is because clear aligners do not require regular adjustments as braces do. You will see your dentist briefly every 4 to 6 weeks, where they will review your progress and general oral health, answer any questions you may have, and adjust treatment as needed. 

Invisalign may line up with the cost of braces or be slightly more expensive, depending on your specific treatment plan. A casual observer will have difficulty seeing them on your teeth, and you won't have any food and drink restrictions — you'll be able to enjoy all your favourites. 

That said, patients must wear clear aligners for 22 hours every day , removing them to eat and drink anything other than water. Self-discipline, commitment to treatment and scheduling meals to fit within the 2 hours allotted for meal times every day is key. 


Traditional Metal Braces

These are the most common type of braces. Made entirely out of metal and supported by elastics, metal braces have received numerous upgrades in recent decades thanks to advancements in orthodontic technology.

Over time, braces apply continuous pressure to your teeth, slowly shifting them into their new, corrected positions. As this pressure is applied and the teeth move, the bone changes shape to accommodate their new positions. 

Brackets today are more streamlined than those used in years past. Now, you’ll run less risk of the inside of your cheeks or lips growing irritated by a bracket, as the brackets have gotten smaller and more comfortable. However, some people are still reluctant choose metal braces because of their appearance.

Clear Braces

Many patients choose clear braces as they are better able to blend in with their smile. They are not actually transparent; the brackets are constructed from tooth-coloured ceramic. 

Clear braces come with a caveat: while they are a compromise between metal braces and clear aligners when it comes to appearance, they are actually more brittle and larger in size than the traditional metal braces you may have seen.

They also tend to be more costly. Therefore, they are commonly used only on upper front (your most visible) teeth to save on costs.

Keep in mind that your gums may feel sensitive with these, as the larger ceramic brackets can make it more challenging to clean around the brackets, leading to receding or swollen gums should your toothbrush not reach the gum line and enamel. 

Are you considering whether braces or clear aligners are the best choice for you? Contact our Burnaby dentists to book an appointment today. 

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