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Braces vs. Aligners - Which Is the Right Choice?

By Guest Blog Contributor Dr. Michael Kamatovic is an orthodontist with two locations: Niagara Falls and St. Catharines, Ontario Canada.


Most patients seeking orthodontic treatment have one burning question to ask their orthodontist: which orthodontic appliance is best for them? With so many options, there’s no clear-cut answer, and the main decision is between choosing fixed vs. removable appliances or visible vs. clear.


It’s not an easy decision to make, and you shouldn’t make it alone. Dr. Kamatovic is a certified orthodontic specialist (orthodontist) who is there to address your concerns, guide you every step of the way, and explain the limitations of different treatment methods.


Before choosing between traditional braces and clear aligners, you must understand how they both work and what to consider during treatment.


Conventional braces work to straighten teeth through a series of archwires tied into the bonded braces. These wires, along with elastics, coils, and other accessories, exert light pressure, gently moving the teeth into the correct position. Dr. Kamatovic’s role is to apply adequate force and carefully monitor the entire process.


Clear aligners are a relatively new and innovative method of straightening teeth. Based on a virtual setup of the patient’s teeth and bite, Dr. Kamatovic creates a treatment projection and provides a series of clear aligners that will move the teeth in small increments. The fact that they’re removable and nearly invisible makes them an appealing option.





Treatment efficiency


Conventional braces have been around for nearly two centuries, and have evolved into the state-of-the-art appliances they are today. Traditional braces are still used to this day because they’re reliable and predictable.

Clear aligners were first used in simple to moderate cases, but these days, can address even the most challenging tooth movements. The digital approach to treatment planning makes clear aligners precise and effective.



Aesthetics


Clear aligners are made of BPA-free plastic and molded to fit your teeth. The aligners themselves are transparent, but they often require resin attachments bonded on the teeth, making them a little more visible. Improper hygiene could cause clear aligners to turn yellow, but that’s typically not an issue since they need replacing every 1-2 weeks.


Conventional braces are noticeable, particularly the metal ones, but they are much smaller than in the past. With fixed braces, you can choose between colorful metal and clear ones.


Comfort and pain


Orthodontic treatment is often associated with pain and discomfort. Your teeth may be slightly tender, whichever option you decide to go with.


Loose braces or poking wires can cut or irritate the cheeks, and gums can swell from poor hygiene. To assist you, Kamatovic Orthodontics provides in-office and online information.


Clear aligners are smooth and comfortable, although some soreness with every new aligner is to be expected.


Compliance


For any orthodontic treatment to be effective, the force applied to the teeth should be nearly constant. With conventional braces, this is easily achieved because they’re glued to the teeth. However, the patient will still need to be compliant with wearing their elastics and showing up to regular visits.


Clear aligners are removable, and that’s a great advantage, but they won’t work unless worn 22 hours per day. The only breaks allowed are for eating meals and brushing teeth. For forgetful patients or rebellious teenagers, aligners may not be the best option, especially since they can be easily damaged or lost.


Oral health and hygiene


Oral hygiene is an important part of any orthodontic treatment, whether it’s cleaning around the braces and wires, or remembering to brush before re-inserting your aligners. Proper oral hygiene will ensure the best results.



Diet


Brackets are designed to be easily removed from your teeth, but this means that any food that’s hard to chew or sticky can accidentally do the same. While some foods may be restricted, many may just need to be cut up into smaller pieces.


The fun part with clear aligners is that you have a bit more freedom with foods, as long as your aligners are off. But since you need to keep your aligners on for 22 hours, you only have a limited window of time for eating. Frequent snacking is discouraged, and so is drinking anything but water with your clear aligners on.


Guidance


Any orthodontic intervention on your teeth is a serious treatment that we recommend be performed under an orthodontic specialist’s guidance. To be called an orthodontist, you must have graduated from an accredited specialty program. This formal training is often 3 years in duration after dental school.


Choosing reputable clear aligner providers such as Invisalign or Kamatovic Orthodontics’ in-house aligners - Kamaflage - ensures a safe and guided treatment that’s adapted to your particular situation. While assessing your progress, we may ask for additional correction steps - an important aspect that many online aligner services don’t consider.


In summary


● Clear aligners are a good option for responsible, compliant patients who need a highly aesthetic treatment device. Patients need to be diligent with wearing their aligners for 22 hours per day and replacing them according to instructions.

● Conventional braces are best suited for patients that require challenging movements and control. Excellent oral hygiene is crucial, as well as adopting a modified food list.

● We recommend orthodontic treatment that is guided by a specialist. Orthodontists are highly-trained doctors that specialize in proper tooth alignment, correct bite, and facial harmony.

● Please visit kamatovicortho.com for your complimentary consultation.


Dr. Michael Kamatovic is an orthodontist with two locations: Niagara Falls and St. Catharines, Ontario Canada.









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