Crooked, crowded or protruding teeth may seem like only a cosmetic problem, but it can go deeper than that.
Impacted teeth, overbites and other alignment issues can dampen your confidence and make it harder to sleep, speak clearly and chew food.
You’re also vulnerable to tooth loss and decay, as there are more challenges when brushing and flossing teeth.
What’s the solution?
Straighten teeth and fix misalignment with orthodontic treatment, using braces or aligners.
Dental braces used to be the main option, and this has worked wonderfully for many people (especially in complex cases).
However, another fantastic product became available in the late 90s: clear aligners.
How do you know which orthodontic treatment is best for you?
This article looks at the different factors to be considered when making a choice.
But first, let’s explain what both treatments are.
What are braces?
Braces are metal or ceramic-based appliances that are bonded onto teeth by an orthodontist or dentist.
The entire system consists of a metal wire, rubber bands and brackets. These elements work together to apply constant pressure to the teeth – gradually moving them into alignment over time.
Treatment usually lasts for 6 to 24 months, and braces cannot be removed during this time. Follow-up appointments occur every month, to tighten the brackets and check that everything is in order.
Most patients treat their entire mouth, but some choose to only get braces on their lower or upper set of teeth.
What are clear aligners (SureSmile, ClearCorrect, Invisalign, etc)?
Clear aligners such as Suresmile align the teeth into place using transparent, plastic aligners that gently apply constant pressure. These removable trays must be taken out when eating or drinking (the only exception is water). For the best results, patients should wear aligners for at least 22 hours each day, including sleeping.
Treatment duration is usually similar to braces – between 6 to 24 months. Most cases tend to be shorter as aligners are often used to correct front teeth without making major changes to the bite.
Patients visit their dentist each month and receive a new series of aligners, with each set worn for typically two weeks before moving onto the next set to continue moving the teeth.
Most patients treat their entire mouth, but some choose to only get aligners for their lower or upper set of teeth to reduce treatment time.
Who are braces suitable for?
Braces are suitable for all orthodontic problems from the simple to complex, such as intrusions, deep overbites, large gaps and midline discrepancies. As alterations to the braces are readily made, changes to the treatment are easily made.
Braces also require less active management on your part as you don’t have to insert and remove the appliances – this is a better option for people who won’t remember to wear their aligners for 22 hours a day.
For this reason, teenagers usually fare better with braces and even enjoy wearing coloured bands to make a fashion statement.
Who should consider wearing SureSmile?
Suresmile is a fantastic option for people with mild to moderate orthodontic problems who want straighter teeth. Examples of easily treatable issues include slightly crooked teeth, small gaps, and overbites or underbites that aren’t too deep.
If you’re self-conscious about getting braces – opt for Suresmile instead. The discreet transparent aligners are practically invisible, so no one will know you’re wearing them.
Also consider Suresmile if you play contact sports, as there is much lower chance of injury and mouth guards are easier to fit to your mouth without braces.
Clear aligners vs braces cost: how much can I expect to pay?
The treatment cost of SureSmile aligners and braces are similar at Wahroonga Family Dental Centre. Simple alignment cases may cost around $2000-2500 whilst more complex cases around $7000 and up.
Braces: Expect to pay between $5,000 and $8,000 for braces, depending on the duration of your treatment and the type of brackets that you choose. Ceramic braces are usually more expensive than metal.
Is there medical insurance for clear aligners and braces?
If you have private health insurance with comprehensive extras, a portion of your orthodontic treatment may be covered. This depends on your level of cover, so ask your provider.
Daily maintenance of SureSmile aligners vs braces:
SureSmile: Gently brush aligners twice a day with a soft-bristled brush and toothpaste, then rinse with lukewarm water.
When out and about, always rinse your aligners with lukewarm water before putting them back into your mouth.
And brush your teeth between every meal if you can, to prevent plaque from lingering. But remove aligners from your mouth first!
Braces: Brush teeth thoroughly in the morning and night, and floss every day to stop decay from growing between your teeth and around the wires. Flossing under the orthodontic wire can be challenging, but worth it for increased treatment comfort, and a healthy smile.
What feels more comfortable, SureSmile or braces?
Both appliances are comfortable to wear after the initial adjustment phase, however Suresmile wins this comparison. The plastic trays are measured to fit perfectly over your teeth and there’s minimal rubbing against the inside of your mouth.
With braces, some patients occasionally experience discomfort from the brackets rubbing against their inner cheeks and lips, however an application of dental wax is usually enough to stop this from happening.
What shouldn’t I consume when getting orthodontic treatment?
SureSmile: You must remove the trays when consuming any food, and all beverages except for water.
Braces: Stay away from hard or brittle foods such as raw carrots, nuts, tough bread rolls and candy – as one enthusiastic bite could be enough to damage your brackets. And for a few days after getting braces tightened, it’s may be wise to eat only soft foods, as teeth may be sensitive around this time.
Braces vs Clear Aligners Comparison Table
|Treatment Length||6-24 months, depending on individual case||6-24 months, depending on individual case|
|Cleaning||Regular brushing and flossing, routine dentist visits||Regular brushing and flossing, brushing and soaking aligners|
|Maintenance||Regular cleaning and orthodontic visits, avoid certain foods.||Wear 22 hours a day, remove for meals, thorough cleaning or aligners.|
Book a consultation with Wahroonga Dental to discuss your options….
Our friendly team is based in Wahroonga, and we’re committed to providing the best dental care. If you need orthodontic treatment, we will discuss your needs and assess your mouth to determine whether braces or aligners are suitable.
Fill out this form or call us on (02) 9489 2928 to book an appointment.