Should I Choose Braces or Clear Aligners?

Front view of Sarko Dental

Having crooked teeth or a misaligned bite (malocclusion) affects a person's appearance. These orthodontic issues can also put patients at an increased risk of developing oral health problems such as tooth decay, cavities, periodontal disease, bruxism, and temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD). 

For these reasons, we often recommend orthodontic treatment for patients with crooked teeth or malocclusion. The two most common treatment options for straightening a patient's teeth and correcting their bite are clear aligners and traditional braces. 

What Are Clear Aligners?

Clear aligners (also often referred to by their brand names, Invisalign or ClearCorrect) are an orthodontic treatment alternative to traditional braces. They consist of a custom-designed set of clear aligner trays that are designed to fit snuggly, yet comfortably, over the teeth. Each set of trays is graduated and designed to gently shift the teeth into the desired positions, with each set moving the teeth just fractions of millimeters. 

The Benefits of Clear Aligners

Clear aligners offer a variety of treatment benefits:

  • Clear aligners are almost invisible when they are being worn, making them a discreet treatment option. 
  • They can be removed during meals, which means you can continue enjoying your favorite foods during treatment. 
  • They can be removed for brushing and flossing, which means you can continue your regular oral hygiene routine without needing to adjust to using different tools. 

What Are the Drawbacks of Clear Aligners?

While clear aligners are an excellent treatment option for many patients, they are not right for everyone. Clear aligners are not suitable for addressing more moderate to severe orthodontic problems. Additionally, they are removable which makes the success of the treatment highly dependent on the patient themselves. As a result, they are only appropriate for patients who will responsibly and closely follow the prescribed treatment program. 

What Are Braces?

Traditional braces use a system of brackets, wires, and rubber bands to address orthodontic problems by gradually shifting the teeth into the desired locations. 

The Benefits of Braces

The benefits of traditional braces include:

  • Can successfully treat moderate, severe, and complex orthodontic issues. 
  • Treatment success is dependent on the dental care provider and not so much on the patient's ability to follow treatment protocol. 
  • Modern braces are now available in tooth-colored and clear options which provide a more discreet and subtle treatment experience.  

What Are the Drawbacks of Traditional Braces?

While they are powerful orthodontic tools, braces do have some drawbacks:

  • Patients need to avoid eating sticky or hard foods during their treatment to avoid damaging their braces. 
  • Braces require more frequent dental visits for adjustments and treatment progress monitoring. 
  • Braces also require special cleaning tools to maintain oral hygiene throughout treatment. 
  • After removal, braces can leave marks on the surfaces of the teeth that require correction. 

Invisalign Cost vs. Braces Cost

It can be difficult to compare the cost of treatment with Invisalign or ClearCorrect to braces because the cost of treatment greatly depends on the patient's treatment needs (i.e. complexity and length of treatment), rather than the type of treatment chosen.

Additionally, costs also depend on insurance coverage. As long as orthodontic treatment is not purely cosmetic, insurance plans tend to include some coverage for braces or clear aligners for correcting health-related orthodontic problems. 

Our dentist can talk with you about the anticipated costs and provide you with an estimate for these types of treatments to help you make the decision that's best for you. 

Which Treatment Is Right for You? Important Considerations

Deciding whether orthodontic treatment with braces or clear aligners is right for you, the following factors are the most important to consider. 

  • Treatment Needs - More complex or severe alignment issues cannot always be adequately addressed with clear aligners. If your case is more complex, then braces might be better able to deliver the results you desire, making them the right treatment option for you. 
  • Age - Orthodontic treatment with clear aligners is not recommended for patients under the age of 16, and it is only recommended for highly responsible young adults. The age restriction/recommendation exists because clear aligners must be worn for at least 22 hours each day for the treatment to be successful. The ability to easily remove clear aligners often makes it difficult for younger patients to follow the treatment plan. 
  • Lifestyle - The goal of both clear aligners and braces is to straighten teeth and correct malocclusion. The primary difference exists in the lifestyle benefits that clear aligners can offer over braces. So, when choosing which treatment is right for you, it's important to consider these benefits and how important they are to you. 

Smile Makeovers With Our Scottsdale Cosmetic Dentist

Our cosmetic dentist in Scottsdale provides a wide array of treatment options designed to improve the look, health, and function of your smile. To learn more about the benefits of straightening your smile and correcting your bite with clear aligners or braces, we welcome you to contact Sarko Dental Associates to request a consultation with one of our restorative and cosmetic dentists today.

Call (480) 951-2782 or request an appointment online to set up your first visit. We’ll be in touch soon.