Braces or Clear Aligners – which is the right choice for you?
By Dr Daniel De Angelis – Adelaide’s Leading Specialist Orthodontist
As a Specialist Orthodontist, it’s my job to advise and guide my patients with regards to their orthodontic treatment and there are two ways we can get there – using braces or clear aligners such as Invisalign® and Spark. We specialise in both braces and clear aligners. It really is a personal choice for patients to choose which is the right choice for them (and I can certainly help them decide!).
It often comes down to your own personal preference, and how compliant you think you’ll be. Thanks to their invisible appearance, clear aligners are becoming increasingly popular among teenagers and adults. We now offer Spark clear aligners and braces at the same price. Braces are also really popular with teenagers, probably more than ever before! If you are contemplating orthodontic treatment options, how do you choose which one is the right choice for you?
We hope this blog helps you decide! Read on to learn all the facts about braces versus clear aligners.
What are clear aligners?
Clear aligners are a transparent, plastic form of dental braces used to gently adjust and straighten teeth. They are virtually invisible and can be removed for eating, drinking and brushing teeth. They look like a clear plastic thin mouthguard.
Clear aligners such as Invisalign® and Spark use attachments to achieve the best results. Attachments are placed on the teeth to keep the clear aligners anchored to your teeth so they can be guided into their correct positions.
As a Specialist Orthodontist, I specialise in both Invisalign® and Spark clear aligners and we always offer both options to our patients who then decide which is the right choice for them.
Invisalign® Clear Aligners
Invisalign® clear aligners are custom-made, removable aligners designed using SmartForce® technology. They are clinically proven to be effective for minor teeth straightening through to moderate and severe malocclusions. They can be used to treat simple and complex orthodontic cases as well.
Spark Clear Aligners
Spark clear aligners are also custom-made but with a material that may result in faster treatment results. They are the clearest aligner, and their custom trays are trimmed and polished for enhanced comfort.
What are braces?
Dental braces are wire-based orthodontic devices that align and straighten teeth. Braces also help correct misaligned jaws and malocclusions. Many people get braces while in their early teenage years, but adults can also benefit from wearing braces.
Metal braces are the most common orthodontic treatments on the market, and they are extremely effective in straightening smiles and correcting poor bites.
They consist of stainless-steel brackets and thin wire bands, which can be any colour you choose. And while they have been available for over 100 years, they have evolved to be less invasive and more successful.
Just like metal braces, ceramic braces are made from wire. They function in the same way and are very effective in treating misaligned teeth and jaws.
But instead of stainless steel and coloured bands, ceramic braces consist of a tooth-coloured porcelain material and clear brackets. This makes ceramic braces almost invisible and a popular choice with adults and teenagers concerned about the appearance of metal braces.
Appearance and Comfort
Clear aligners are thin and completely transparent, so people won’t even notice that you’re wearing them.
Aligners are also far more comfortable than braces. They are completely smooth and don’t have tracks or wires that knick or cut your gums and lips. You may experience a little discomfort or tenderness as your teeth begin to move but this generally disappears after a day or two.
Braces, on the other hand, are more noticeable than clear aligners – even the porcelain ones.
Everybody experiences braces differently. There may be some discomfort as your body adjusts to the new pressure on your teeth. You may also feel your new braces rubbing against your inner cheek. This should all disappear in a few days.
Using painkillers and orthodontic wax helps to relieve any discomfort until you get used to your new braces. I’m always happy to help my patients who are experiencing any aches or pains.
Braces are fixed permanently to the teeth, so it’s essential to watch what you eat to avoid damaging them.
Following orthodontic appointments or adjustments, your braces may leave you feeling tender. Try eating soft food like soup, bananas or pasta. I recommend limiting hard and crunchy foods like apples, carrots, or crunchy bread.
Unlike braces, clear aligners are removable. This means your diet isn’t affected – simply take out your aligners every time you eat and put them back in when you finish your meal. And you won’t need to pick at your teeth to remove food.
Because aligners aren’t permanently fixed to your teeth, they can be cleaned with a toothbrush and a denture cleaner, making oral hygiene a breeze.
You have a couple of options with appointments.
I can monitor the progress of your clear aligners and braces remotely with Dental Monitoring which I have been using with my patients for 6 years. The Dental Monitoring app allows me to check in on your progress much more closely, and without you having to come in and see me as regularly. Without DM you’ll see me every 6 weeks, with DM you’ll see me every 12 weeks (or more if I need you to come in because I’ve identified an issue on DM).
Rest assured less in-clinic appointments does not compromise your orthodontic treatment! DM actually enables me to monitor your teeth more closely than ever before as I’m able to pick up any issues straight away, rather than just at your 6 weekly appointments.
Fewer visits to our orthodontic clinic means more time doing the things you’ll rather be doing – like spending time with friends and family. It means taking less time off work or school to attend orthodontic appointments. It gives you much more freedom, yet the confidence and trust that you know I am closely monitoring your treatment progress!
Other benefits of the DM app include:
- You can have orthodontic treatment anywhere – whether you’re working remotely, travelling, or just busy!
- No disruption to your weekly routine
- Faster treatment
- More precise results
The DM app can be used for both clear aligner and braces patients. If there are any issues during your treatment though, you can always come in and see me in person.
Braces and clear aligners are both effective at treating malocclusions and straightening teeth. A malocclusion is when your teeth don’t correctly meet when you bite together. An uneven bite can put pressure on your jaw, leading to chronic headaches. Having a malocclusion can also impact your oral health and affect your self-confidence.
Braces are a very effective orthodontic treatment for children and adults. They correct malocclusions, including underbites, overbites, open bites, deep bites, cross bites, and crooked teeth. In addition to straightening, braces can improve dental health, because they correct crowding which makes it difficult to brush and clean teeth, and can also work to correct gaps in teeth.
Clear aligners can treat both minor and severe malocclusions in a gentle yet effective way.
I find that some patients have been told that aligners cannot transform their smile, or they worry that their case is too challenging. That simply isn’t true! They just need the right specialist, like myself, to get the smile they’ve always dreamt of.
As a very experienced Specialist Orthodontist I have treated severe malocclusions with clear aligners (and still do with my current patients). I was one of the first providers of Invisalign® in Australia, and I’ve been providing patients with this treatment for the past 18 years (so it’s nothing new to me to treat patients that present with simple and complex cases with clear aligners!). Trust is important and that is certainly something I can offer as one of the most experienced Specialist Orthodontists in Adelaide.
The effectiveness of clear aligner treatment also depends on the patient. Aligners need to be worn between 22 to 23 hours a day to be effective and only removed when eating and drinking. The more a patient wears their aligners, the more effective it will be!
Being compliant with your clear aligners also keeps your treatment time on time. Taking your aligners out besides eating and drinking will extend your treatment time.
Braces are permanently fixed to the teeth, so they cannot be removed. You can’t forget to wear them, lose them, or take them out for social events. They’re a great option for those who aren’t motivated to wear aligners correctly, or for children who may lack the discipline to wear them for 22 hours a day. This may mean a straighter smile in less time, and less nagging from Mum and Dad!
Your Initial Consultation
The best way to work out which treatment might be right for you is to come in and see me and my team for an initial (no obligation) consultation.
Our orthodontic consultations are $175 which include a personalised treatment plan by myself as well as X-rays, scans and photos.
If you decide to go ahead with treatment, the cost of the initial consult is taken off the cost of the retention phase of your treatment. If you have private health insurance, you may also be able to claim some of the cost of your initial consult, depending on your level of cover.
Online Booking 24/7
Making a booking online is easy, do it from the comfort of your home, car, workplace or wherever it suits you! Choose from either our St Peters, Modbury or West clinics or choose an online consultation with me via Zoom – without leaving your home
Your Specialist Orthodontist in Adelaide
If you have any questions about braces or clear aligners, please feel free to contact us here or reach us on 133 862.
Our orthodontic practice is located in three Adelaide locations:
- St Peters
- West Lakes