Aligners or Braces

Dr Akshay Gupta
When two things are too different to compare , an attempt to compare them is colloquially referred to in English as “comparing apples and oranges.”
A healthy and balanced smile mirrors good overall health. Crooked or irregular teeth adversely affect oral health and hygiene and many a time are a reason for embarrassment and lack of confidence and may lead to psychological challenges. A beautiful smile and straight teeth are desired by everyone. So let’s compare two different ways to achieve a straight set of teeth , that is Different types of BracesVs Aligners.
Traditionally braces have been successfully used for years to correct the alignment of teeth, in which brackets are bonded over the teeth surface and wire runs over it. Brackets can be of either metal or ceramic. Ceramic brackets are more aesthetic than metal as they are of tooth colour, but even they have a wire running over them, and rubber used to engage the wire tends to turn yellow over time. Self lighting ceramic braces provide comparatively better aesthetics. Braces can also be placed on the inner surface of the tooth rather than on the front surfaces, commonly known as lingual braces. They are totally invisible but have their own limitations .
Aligning the teeth with braces is time tested and has proved to achieve good and desired results since over the years
Benefits of Braces
They can correct extremely complex dental irregularities.
They are cost-effective.
Patients cannot lose them or forget to wear them.
They are durable.
They work for all age group of patients
Drawbacks of braces :
Placement of brackets and wires on the teeth may makebrushingdifficult.
They may not be aesthetically pleasing to everyone.
Diet restrictions during the treatment .
Treatment results depends a lot on patient compliance and competency of your treating doctor.
Aligners are basically a set of two plastic trays , made of BPA free plastics, that snugly fit over the teeth of the upper and lower jaws. They then exert a certain amount of pressure on the desired teeth to getthem positioned at right place .
They remain virtually invisible to others even when the patient smiles or speaks. It is their unmatched aesthetic properties that is making aligners highly popular among adult patients in this era of CAD- CAM technology.
Aligners need to be worn at least 20-22 hours a day to get the full benefit of this treatment. If you don’t wear it, the teeth won’t move and you won’t get the benefits, it’s as simple as that. It sounds simple but patient compliance is major key to the success of Aligner treatment.
Benefits of Aligners
Since they can be removed, there is no restriction on hard and coarse diet.
Good aesthetics as it’s virtually invisible.
Easy to maintain oral hygiene.
Drawbacks of Aligners
Inspite of being machine made , they still need patient compliance and professional supervision/ intervention by your orthodontist.
Comparatively Expensive.
Limited type of tooth irregularities can be corrected.
Professional tips
Having straight teeth can overall benefit your long term health. Getting treatment for your crooked teeth can be a great step to improve your mental and physical health for years to come .It’s alsoagreat way to make sure that your child set up for success in life . Straight teeth improves your digestion, cause fewer cavities , prevent jaw strain , helps to pronounce certain words more clearly, lesser gum disease , less deterioration with age , they let you sleep easily, prevent accidental trauma to front teeth and boosts your self confidence
In this new era , to get all these benefits we tend to look for alternative options because the metal bands, brackets and wires may compromise the aesthetics during the treatment.
While both aligners and braces are safe treatment options and both treatments modalities aim at correcting dental alignment and occlusion issues, they differ in many ways. Clear (or “invisible”) aligners aren’t for everyone. Your orthodontist will help you to choose the best treatment that meets your lifestyle and needs
The purpose of highlighting differences when it comes to clear aligners vs braces is not to make one treatment seem superior or inferior than the other. Both have different applications, and both help patients get a more appealing, aligned smile. While aligners are usually meant to correct mild to moderate dental malocclusions, orthodontic braces fix a number of jaw rotation, crowding, spacing, bite irregularity, and mal-alignment issues. In many cases, braces become a necessity to help patients get a healthy bite.
Regardless of the approach mutually decided by you and your orthodontists to follow , opting for a teeth-straightening solution that best suits your needs and lifestyle is the best gift you can give to yourself or your loved ones.
(The author is Professor & Head Department of Orthodontics Indira Gandhi Government Dental College)