Invisible aligners versus traditional orthodontic treatment

The normal route of the treatment pathway in dentistry is that an ailment’s severity is assessed, diagnosed and then treatment options are presented; this not only applies to standard dental care, but also to cosmetic dentistry too.This careful observation by a highly qualified and regulated professional is a far better option than muddling your way through dentistry via online articles and this article should not be seen as replacement for professional advice. That said, this article explores one of the most common issues that dental patients face over dilemmas when considering orthodontic treatment; clear aligner based care versus traditional metal braces.

How orthodontic treatment works
dentist cleaning braces

As for the basic premise for orthodontic treatment itself; the principle of orthodontistry is that tooth location is not fixed. Not only is the location of teeth in motion throughout everyday life, but by consistently applying a push or pull force, a tooth location can be altered. This is done with an appliance, like a brace and is achieved so slowly, it cannot be perceived day by day. But over the weeks and months, surprising qualities of movement can occur, not only in the placement of the teeth, but also in their rotation, or how straight they are compared to their neighbours.

Aligners compared to braces

An aligner is in fact a thin plastic tray that is worn over the teeth like a closely fitted translucent gum shield and it applies force across the entire surface of the tooth. Compared to the way that braces transmit force through their brackets onto the front surface of each tooth, aligners can be more graceful with the way that they push or pull teeth, rotate and realign them. This allows less overall force to be used and patients often find them more comfortable.

They have a lower impact on the patient’s overall appearance; they’re transparent and are easier to clean, and it is strongly recommended to remove them to eat and drink.

Effectiveness of aligners versus braces

The effectiveness of aligners as orthodontic tools was one of the first barriers to their adoption back in the 90s, as there was significant doubt whether aligners were up to the task. Over the last 25 years in clinical use, aligners have proven themselves time and time again to be effective on a wide range of orthodontic challenges. They are limited in the maximum quantity of force that they can apply; clear aligners store energy in the elastic design of the aligner itself. This has a lower total strength than the steel or titanium archwire or traditional brace. This limits clear aligners’ relative effectiveness when it comes to moving large multi-rooted teeth.

Cost of treatment

Treatment costs vary from provider to provider, but in general, treatment with braces will always be cheaper for those below the age 18 due to the way NHS funding is distributed in dentistry. The competitive edge of aligners makes itself apparent when it comes to adult care, with the vast majority of treatments, particularly those focused aesthetically on the front 8 teeth, being cheaper and more conveniently corrected using clear aligners. This, compared with a reduction in adjustment or check-up trips to the clinic makes Invisalign London popular among working adults.

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