When you think of straight, healthy teeth, you probably think of traditional metal braces.
Metal braces have been around for a long time, have almost no risks, and very few potential side effects. They work for patients of all ages with virtually any kind of tooth misalignment or gap.
With such a stellar reputation, it’s no surprise that metal braces are still the “go-to” option for patients across the age spectrum who want straight teeth. Kids, teens, and adults can all have excellent results when they get braces from a local orthodontist they trust.
According to Humana, about four million people wear braces throughout the United States. Believe it or not, about 25% of them are adults. Adults can benefit from braces just as much as younger people, but it may take a little bit longer for them to see the results in the mirror.
Over the last few years, an interesting alternative has arisen: Clear aligners.
But are clear aligners right for you? And will they work as well as metal braces?
Let’s take a closer look at the similarities, the differences, and the outcomes.
What Are Clear Aligners?
Conventional braces are made up of metal wires and bands that exert gentle pressure on the teeth so they can gradually reposition in a healthier way. Teeth move toward this “treated position” over the course of months. Occasionally, braces need to be checked and adjusted for the right tension level.
Clear aligners perform a similar service, but they do it in a different way.
Clear aligners generally come in a set with one for the top row of teeth (the dental arch) and one for the bottom. Each set of aligners is made using a highly specialized process where three-dimensional images are taken of the teeth. This means every set of aligners is customized to the individual.
Unlike braces, clear aligners don’t need to be adjusted by your Port Orange orthodontist over time. You will still need periodic follow-up appointments to make sure they are getting the desired result, though!
Clear aligners have been around since 1997, and there are now two major competing brands. Over the decades they have been available, aligners have proven an excellent track record with the vast majority of patients. There are only a few severe orthodontic cases where they might not be suitable.
Why Do People Choose Clear Aligners Over Metal Braces?
There are two key differences that make clear aligners preferable over braces in some cases:
First is the look and feel of the aligners. They are designed to be so discreet, that others may never know you have them. This makes them a particularly popular choice with fashion-conscious teens. Many adults also appreciate the option. For all practical purposes, aligners are nearly invisible.
Another issue is convenience. Unlike metal braces, you can remove your clear aligners whenever you wish. This can make it much easier to clean them. You could also remove them for contact sports and other hobbies where they might otherwise get in the way.
That said, most patients will need to have their clear aligners in place for 20 hours or more per day. If you remove your aligners for a long period of time, it may slow down the treatment process. Regular follow-up appointments will help you ensure you are on track from beginning to end.
In extremely rare cases, some patients report a mild allergic reaction to the plastic used in clear aligners. This reaction is a result of contact between the aligners and gums, and it goes away when the aligners are removed. In the unlikely event this affects you, you would usually need to switch to braces.
Given the choice, many people compare clear aligners and braces before making a decision. If you do not qualify for clear aligners due to the nature of your orthodontic dilemma, you’ll find out during your first visit.
How Clear Aligners Are Similar to and Different from Metal Braces
Braces and clear aligners are similar in that they are designed to help treat (and ultimately resolve) all of the same orthodontic problems. Most adults and mature teens will qualify for both, and choosing one or the other is a matter of personal preference.
Clear aligners are generally easier to care for and keep clean than braces. Since you can remove them, it is easy to clear out foodstuffs that might otherwise linger. You also won’t have any issues with broken bands or wires that can lead to a “DIY braces repair” at home.
However, there is one potential drawback with clear aligners. If braces are damaged, they can usually be repaired by your Port Orange orthodontist. On the other hand, a broken set of clear aligners can’t be fixed. A whole new set of clear aligners must be made to replace them.
Because every set of aligners is unique, any cracks, dents, or deformation in the shape cannot be fixed. Luckily, damage to aligners is rare, but it can be a setback! Patients should be careful to use them only as directed. Don’t put them in the dishwasher to clean or the microwave to warm up!
If your aligners get broken, Dr. Beauchamp will manufacture a new pair for you. All of the images of your teeth used in the original set are kept on file, so the process usually only takes a few days. That said, you would need to pay a fee for the replacement set.
Do You Need to Visit Your Orthodontist After Getting Aligners?
No matter whether you choose aligners or braces to straighten teeth, you’ll need to see your orthodontist regularly. Depending on where you are in the process, these appointments may be scheduled anywhere from every two weeks to every six weeks or every two months.
Early on in treatment, follow-up visits tend to be more frequent. Later on, they are spaced more widely apart. Of course, you can always contact the office for help or advice. If you ever feel any discomfort or pain with your orthodontic treatment, you should reach out right away!
You might have heard orthodontic follow-ups referred to as “getting your braces tightened.” That’s not quite what happens, but it’s along the same lines. If you have braces, the appointment focuses on making sure they are still fully intact, sound, and exerting the right pressure in the right places.
If you have clear aligners, your appointment helps ensure that your teeth are responding as expected. The aligners themselves are never changed or adjusted during the treatment period. That helps keep patient costs down and makes the treatment period shorter.
Do Clear Aligners Work as Well as Metal Braces?
Clear aligners work as well as metal braces for almost all patients.
For certain patients, especially older ones who have not received orthodontic care in the past, braces may be necessary for the most severe gaps and misalignments. Many orthodontic concerns can worsen over time without treatment, and braces are proven to be most effective in these extreme cases.
No matter the specific details of your diagnosis, you will usually see results a little bit faster with conventional metal braces than with aligners. This may take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months off your total treatment time, so it can be a factor in your decision.
Aside from these two issues, clear aligners are equal to braces in treatment outcomes. Straightening your teeth can be quick and easy – once your braces or aligners are in place, all the work is done for you. Your teeth naturally and safely become straighter with each passing day.
When you set your initial appointment with Dr. Beauchamp, she will evaluate your situation and let you know whether you qualify for clear aligners and what option might work best for you. It is always up to you whether you pursue treatment, and we are here to help you every step of the way.
What Should I Do if Clear Aligners Aren’t Right for Me?
Clear aligners aren’t an option for the youngest patients, and they might not be suitable for the most severe crooked or gapped teeth. If this is the case for you, hope is not lost. You have an option that blends the best of both worlds: clear braces.
Clear braces are designed and constructed just like conventional braces, but they have the added bonus of reduced visibility. The transparent material used in clear braces is similar to what makes up the most popular aligners. This means they are very discreet but remain just as effective as other braces.
For some patients, this is the perfect option to straighten teeth faster without sacrificing aesthetics.
How Much Do Clear Aligners Cost in Florida?
At Beauchamp Orthodontics, we believe in making high-quality orthodontic care available at affordable prices. There’s no way to know in advance precisely how much clear aligners will cost since it depends on your unique situation. Metal braces are usually the most budget-friendly option.
When you visit your Port Orange orthodontist, we will walk you through your treatment options and the process from start to finish. The sooner you get started on orthodontic treatment, the more effective it is – so we want to help you make an informed decision without all the stress.
Many patients worry about the total cost of treatment and might wait weeks or even months to save up. To help you, Beauchamp Orthodontics offers convenient financing that can help put your preferred treatment in reach sooner. To learn more, simply ask our friendly office staff.
Why It Is Important to Choose a Leading Central Florida Orthodontist?
Choosing the right orthodontist helps you achieve a faster and more comfortable treatment. A highly qualified orthodontist is someone who knows all of the different clear aligner options and how to use them. This requires specialized training including hundreds of hours getting familiar with the equipment used. Only orthodontists certified with clear aligner technologies can offer them. Knowing your orthodontist is in your corner will give you peace of mind!
Contact Beauchamp Orthodontics for the Best Braces and Clear Aligners in Central Florida
The first step to treatment is calling your local orthodontist in Port Orange.
With our same-day braces, you can be on your way to a healthier, more beautiful smile on the same day as your initial appointment. Making that first move often takes the longest – once you start, you’ll soon be able to see the difference whenever you look in the mirror.
Contact us to find out more or set your consultation today.