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Aligners vs. Braces

Young teens with traditional braces and clear aligners When you take a peek in the mirror, do you find yourself happy with the alignment of your teeth? Alternatively, instead, do you find yourself feeling discouraged and discontent with the appearance of your smile? If that sounds more like you, then you are not alone; millions of Americans readily admit that they could benefit from orthodontic treatment, and it is not just teenagers that are improving their bite and their smile.

One in five adults is currently in the process of receiving orthodontic treatment with either clear aligners or dental braces. If you have ever considered orthodontic treatment, but wondered what type may be the best for you, we here at First Impressions Orthodontics for Children & Adults are happy to explain the difference between clear dental aligners and traditional dental braces.

What are Traditional Dental Braces?

When most of us think of dental braces, it is traditional braces that we think about. Traditional dental braces consist of a series of metal brackets that are placed directly on the tooth, and they have metal wires that run from bracket to bracket. This helps apply constant pressure on the tooth, allowing the alignment of the teeth to occur. They are continuously worn, which means that they cannot be removed for oral hygiene or eating. They can be very effective against a wide assortment of orthodontic concerns, including serious malocclusion issues like overbite, underbite, open bite, and crossbite.

What are Clear Aligners?

Unlike traditional dental braces, clear aligners are subtler and more discreet. Instead of being made of metal wires and brackets, instead, these aligners use clear thermoplastic trays to adjust your teeth. These work by adjusting the position of your teeth, gradually improving their alignment. Clear aligners do not need to be worn all the time, and can, in fact, be removed for up to two hours per day. They can also help address many different types of orthodontic issues that can be treated by traditional braces.

Which is Best for Me?

Depending on your lifestyle and your goals, you may be a better candidate for either clear aligners or traditional dental braces. While clear aligners can be helpful for milder to moderate orthodontic problems, sometimes traditional braces may be required if the malocclusion is more severe. This can include issues with your back teeth, problems with your incisors (canines), or if you already have a restoration like a fixed dental bridge.

Clear aligners are a great option for professional adults or teenagers who do not want everyone to know they are getting orthodontic treatment. They are also easier to keep clean, and you can remove them for eating, which means that you do not have to avoid your favorite foods while getting orthodontic work done.

Traditional dental braces can also irritate the lips and gums at first, so if you are worried about discomfort, you may prefer clear aligners. However, not everyone is disciplined enough to be a good candidate for clear aligners. Because traditional dental braces remain on your teeth 24/7, they can be more effective and efficient.

If you have more questions about aligners or braces, we would love to discuss them with you further! To learn more about these types of orthodontic treatments, or to set up an appointment with us here at First Impressions Orthodontics for Children & Adults, please give us a call today at (203) 292-9595!

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493 Westport Ave
Norwalk, CT 06851


324 Elm Street
Monroe, CT 06468


1476 Post Road
Fairfield, CT 06824

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