Clear Aligners vs. Traditional Braces
Why do I need straighter teeth?
Having straight teeth goes far beyond simply correcting the appearance of your smile. When the bite/teeth are misaligned, it leads to excessive and imbalanced wear on the surfaces of the teeth, tooth decay, gum disease, and difficulty chewing. Over time and without treatment, misalignment of the bite can cause headaches/migraines, pain from the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), neck and shoulder pain, issues with speech, injuries to the soft tissues of the mouth, chipped teeth, and even a breakdown of the bones supporting the teeth. The good news is there are orthodontic options for correcting bite alignment.
What are traditional braces?
Traditional braces are applied with brackets attached directly to the surface of the teeth. Those brackets are then connected by wires that help move teeth into the desired position. Small rubber-bands help hold the wires. The brackets can be made of metal or out of a clear or tooth-colored ceramic, porcelain, or plastic material. The wires are periodically tightened by a dentist or orthodontist to encourage the teeth to move gradually towards the desired position. Once the braces have restored optimal alignment, the brackets and wires are removed from the tooth surface. But, until that time, they stay permanently affixed to your teeth
How long will I have to wear traditional braces?
The length of treatment varies from person to person. Treatment with traditional braces is usually around 18 months to two years but could be as little as a year or up to three years in some cases. To keep the teeth in this new position, the patient will need to wear a retainer every day, which is a removable appliance used to help hold the teeth in the right place.
What are clear aligner trays?
Aligner trays are clear, removable trays that fit over the teeth to help them gradually move into place. Invisalign® is a popular clear aligner tray brand offered by many dental professionals. Many people prefer the aligner trays due to the convenience of being able to remove them when needed, and since they are hardly noticeable when worn. To get the desired result, digital scans are used to create a series of personalized aligner trays – each putting targeted pressure on the teeth with the goal of moving them towards the final desired position and restoring the bite. Your dentist will also place small white “attachments” on specific teeth to help with movement. These are small bumps of white filling material that will be removed when your treatment is complete.
How long will I have to wear clear aligner trays?
The patient will switch to a new aligner tray at home every 7 days. Some more complex cases may require 14 days for each aligner. The total treatment time depends on the amount of correction needed, but the average time for clear aligner trays could be as short as six months on up to 18 months or more. Because the clear aligners are removable, they do require ongoing commitment to the treatment plan to see results. Aligner trays may not be a good idea for someone who isn’t sure they will remember to wear them 24 hours a day minus meals and cleaning.
What about at-home aligner tray kits?
At-home alignment kits generally offer a one-size fits all approach- this means each individual case is not directly supervised by a licensed dentist or orthodontist. This is very risky and not worth any advertised cost-savings. Self-administered treatment does not provide the same level of oversight as having a dentist or orthodontist follow your treatment who has taken x-rays and accounted for any dental restorations you may already have. With supervised orthodontics, your personal provider can make necessary adjustments at each visit to ensure the safety and efficacy of your treatment plan. With at-home kits, this does not happen. Often, the result can be permanent, irreversible, and expensive damage to your teeth and jaw. Thus, direct-to-consumer orthodontic treatments are not recommended by experts from Today’s Dental, the American Association of Orthodontists, or the American Dental Association.
Can adults get braces or aligner trays?
Yes! While it used to be more common to see kids and teens undergoing orthodontic treatment, adults can benefit greatly from orthodontics. In fact, about 1 in 3 orthodontic patients today are adults. Things like natural aging, dental disease, untreated bruxism (teeth grinding), and age-related changes in facial structure can cause the bite to become misaligned. However, it is never too late for orthodontic treatment. The primary difference between treating kids and adults is it may take a little longer for adults to achieve the desired results. No matter the age, it is important to correct a misaligned bite to restore optimal dental health.
Will dental insurance cover the cost of braces or clear aligners?
The answer to this question depends on each person’s individual coverage. Many dental plans cover some of the cost of orthodontic treatment for children and teens. For adults, the amount of coverage varies greatly from plan to plan – with some offering no orthodontic coverage at all for adults. Thankfully, many dentists and orthodontists offer payment or financing alternatives to make it more affordable to have orthodontic treatment.
What is the least expensive orthodontic treatment option?
The primary factor in determining the cost of orthodontic treatment is the amount of correction needed. Whether you opt for traditional braces or clear aligners, more complicated correction needs will usually result in higher costs, whereas simple correction may be less expensive. There are many options when considering orthodontic treatment. A dentist or orthodontist will be able to assess the type and amount of correction needed and whether a patient needs traditional braces or aligner trays. For more information on the types of available treatments, here is a helpful list of FAQs about orthodontics. Call Today’s Dental today to set up an appointment to discuss your options.