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Traditional Braces vs. Clear Aligners

Aligners or braces? Which is right for you?

When it comes to the question of whether to get clear aligners or braces, it used to be much easier as many forms of tooth correction were beyond the scope of aligner dentistry.

These days, however, the two fields are closer in performance and as such the question is somewhat more difficult to answer.

The advancements in the biomaterials used for aligners are just one area in which aligner dentistry is rapidly improving.

To get the best for your teeth we would in the first instance advise a consultation with your dentist. Many horror stories have resulted from people taking things into their own hands and ordering quick-fix products that do more harm than good in the long run.

In this article we will identify some of the key differences and why it's important to speak to someone fully qualified in this field.

Everyone would choose to look their best while having their teeth corrected, and while aligner technology these days is vastly improved it cannot do everything that braces can.

You’ve seen the adverts, the perfect smile, the 6 months on the virtual calendar or whatever sales device is used to convey speed, but in truth some things can’t be rushed and your teeth are no exception.

There is an optimal time frame for each dental correction to occur and this will vary significantly from case to case and often for non-obvious reasons unseen to the eye.

The aligner advantage is clear

Clear Aligners these days perform exceptionally well in the right circumstances when conditions are right, so when might this be?

Clear Aligners are best suited to non-severe dental issues such as slightly rotated teeth, or slightly crooked or crowded teeth.

The more commercially obvious reason for choosing aligners over braces is cosmetic, they are invisible and so look better aesthetically, but they do have some other strong advantages too.

They are removable so you can choose when to wear them or not such as when dining out or socialising. Key of course is to put them back in again straight away afterwards.

Eating especially can be a difficult time for traditional braces, foods such as sweets and some hard vegetables can not only be hard to eat but can also damage braces by bending or snapping the wires.

Another significant advantage of aligners over braces is tooth cleaning, the wires on braces get in the way and require different angles not optimal for thorough tooth cleaning or flossing. This in turn can lead to a buildup of bacterial issues and result in tooth decay, inflammation and worsening oral health.

Braces can also irritate many areas of the mouth such as cheeks and gums, while aligners are made of smooth plastic so do not have the same impact.

This means fewer oral lesions in patients that wear aligners instead of braces.

Clear Aligner

The conclusion

We can see that clear aligners do have multiple advantages over traditional braces and there is no catch to this.

The first important step though when considering any dental adjustment is to consult with a qualified and experienced dentist. They will be able to tell you whether clear aligners are suitable for your teeth, the comparative results you could expect vs braces, and outline a realistic and workable treatment plan.

As an average assessment, most clear aligner cases will take between 12 and 18 months but as mentioned this can vary greatly and you must be prepared for this.

The result also depends very much on the patient, clear aligners need to be worn almost all the time to fulfil a specified treatment plan, this means between 20-22 hours per day in most cases and must be strictly followed.

For a full list of clear aligner services we provide or if you have any other concerns or queries raised by this article please ask us for further information.

Here at Life Dental and Wellbeing, we strive to be a leading source of advice and therapy as well as excelling in our own field of dentistry.

Should you have any enquiries about any of the above, or indeed any dental health queries, our expert team will have the answer or be able to point you in the right direction, so please call us on 01392 278843, or email us at and we’ll get back to you with an answer as soon as we can.

Wishing you a good day and happy oral health.

Rebekah Pearson
Rebekah Pearson
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