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What Is the Difference Between Aligners & Traditional Braces?

braces vs alignerA straight and beautiful smile is perhaps the best accessory anyone can possess. If you have teeth that are crooked, gapped or crowded, consider orthodontic solutions at Chatswood Dental Associates. We offer a range of clear aligners which are a popular and discreet option to straighten teeth, as well as Myofunctional appliances designed to help with early intervention for children.

Clear aligners differ significantly in terms of appearance, comfort, and treatment process vs traditional braces.

Align Your Smile Discreetly

Clear aligners, such as Invisalign treatment, are virtually invisible, removable plastic trays that fit snugly over the teeth. They offer a discreet and comfortable alternative to traditional braces, making them an attractive option for image-conscious individuals or those with active lifestyles.

These aligners can be used in various cases, from simple aesthetic improvements to more complex dental issues. At our practice, we personalise the treatment plan for each unique individual, utilising different clear aligner companies to achieve the best possible results.

In addition to Invisalign aligners, we also offer other brands like Truline, ClearCorrect, and Angel Aligners, among others. This allows us to choose the most suitable aligner for each patient’s specific needs.

How Clear Aligners Work

Clear aligners work by gently applying pressure on the teeth, causing them to move gradually. Patients need to wear their aligners for about 22 hours a day, removing them only for eating, drinking, and cleaning their mouths. The process is generally painless, as the teeth are moved slowly over time.

In some cases, we may need to add small tooth-coloured buttons on the teeth to assist with certain movements, or polish between the teeth to create more room for movement. Treatment times can range from three months for simple cases to up to 18 months for more complex situations.

Brace Yourself for a Straighter Smile

girls playing soccer with bracesOn the other hand, traditional braces consist of metal brackets and wires fixed to the teeth, which can be more noticeable and cause discomfort or irritation. However, traditional braces often provide greater control and precision in tooth movement, allowing them to effectively treat a wider range of orthodontic issues.

Additionally, clear aligners typically require higher patient compliance due to their removability, while traditional braces remain in place throughout the treatment, ensuring consistent progress.

How Braces Work

Braces and other orthodontic appliances work by exerting gentle pressure on the teeth carefully. Your dentist will create a customised program that maps out how your treatment will proceed from start to finish. Sometimes a full set of braces is needed from the get-go, and sometimes, it’s more appropriate to work in stages.

The Process for Patients Interested in Clear Aligners

The first step in the clear aligner treatment process is to ensure that the patient’s teeth are healthy. During an initial consultation, we conduct a comprehensive examination, gather records, and possibly take radiographs. We then create a clear aligner proposal using a 3D scan of the patient’s mouth, which is turned into a simulated video of the teeth’s movement.

We use a state-of-the-art intraoral scanner called the TRIOS® scanner to create a detailed, color 3D image of the patient’s teeth. Patients can modify the final simulation, and if changes are desired midway through treatment, we can easily rescan their mouth and create new aligners based on their preferences.

Retainers: Ensuring Long-lasting Results

To maintain the results achieved through clear aligner treatment, patients typically require a fixed retainer—a wire placed behind their teeth—and a removable retainer worn at night. The fixed retainer serves as the primary insurance policy to hold the teeth in place, while the nighttime removable retainer helps ensure stability.

The duration of wearing the removable retainer depends on the complexity of the initial treatment. Generally, patients wear it every night for six months, and then reduce usage to twice a week for the rest of their lives if they wish to ensure their teeth do not shift back.

A Predictable and Malleable Treatment Option

Clear aligners offer patients a predictable outcome with complete control over the treatment direction. They are versatile and can be molded to achieve the desired results, providing an effective and comfortable solution for straightening teeth.

Book a Consultation

Wondering which smile-straightening solution is right for you? The best way to find out is by scheduling a consultation with one of our dentists!

* Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.

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