Clear Aligners Versus Conventional Braces

Learn about the differences between these two braces

At the office of Kevin L. Carlton, DDS, MS, PA, our experienced, highly skilled team uses the latest techniques to correct a wide range of orthodontic problems — giving all our patients something to smile about!

Clear aligners have been revolutionizing orthodontic treatments, offering care that is more discreet, comfortable and convenient than ever before. However, despite the fact that clear aligners can effectively straighten many smiles, conventional appliances may be the most appropriate option in care for certain types of malocclusions and complex issues affecting the alignment of the teeth and bite.

Fortunately, over the years conventional orthodontic braces have become more streamlined, less bulky and more efficient. While orthodontic brackets have long been available in stainless steel, they are also fabricated from more cosmetic ceramic materials.

Of course, the most most important benefit conventional braces offer is that they offer the highest level of control and precision when moving the teeth and bite into improved alignment. With conventional appliances large corrections and certain movements of teeth that may not be possible with aligners can be accomplished.  And, with a lower profile than in years past, they are kinder to the tissues, easier to keep clean, and more comfortable all around.

While there may be some initial discomfort when braces are placed or adjusted, it is usually short-lived and easily managed. Most patients become accustomed to their braces — they may even forget they have them on.

Are braces better than clear aligners? Ultimately it comes down to determining what your particular needs are and deciding which option will best meet that need for you.

One of the keys to achieving a beautiful smile with orthodontic treatment is taking proper care of both your teeth and appliances. It is important to be mindful of what you eat, practice good oral hygiene, and avoid any harmful oral habits. Because food and plaque are easily trapped in the tiny spaces between your braces as well as underneath removable appliances or aligners, good oral hygiene is essential. Without regular brushing and flossing your teeth can become decayed or permanently stained, and your gums can become irritated and inflamed. There is also a greater risk of developing a dental infection.

Brushing after every meal, and flossing at least once a day, is the best way to ensure that your teeth and gums remain healthy throughout the course of orthodontic care. We also encourage patients to brush or rinse their teeth as possible after eating snacks. Our office sometimes recommends certain items like a floss threader, a small interdental toothbrush (proxabrush), or an oral irrigator (water pick) to help keep the appliances, and all of the small spaces around the teeth, gums, and braces clean. Above all, throughout the course of orthodontic care, make sure to continue to see your general dentist regularly for routine checkups and care, including a thorough dental cleaning.

If you are wearing a removable retainer or clear aligner, we’ll also provide specific instructions on removing these appliances for short periods of time to brush, floss, and rinse your smile as well as how to safely and effectively clean them.

Not only is it important to keep the braces and your smile clean, but it’s also important to remember to to avoid foods that can increase your risk for cavities or cause damage your braces. While the temptation is always there, stay away from sticky sweets and hard, crunchy foods. Risky behavior and frequent appliance breakage can significantly prolong your treatment and possibly compromise the result. Although, there may be some foods to avoid during treatment, there are still many delicious and satisfying things that you can eat. You must remember, the important thing is to maintain a healthy and well-balanced diet.

At the office of Kevin L. Carlton, DDS, MS, PA, we’re dedicated to providing the highest quality of skilled and compassionate care. For more information on our office and the many services that we provide, give us a call today.