Many people consider the field of orthodontics to be mostly geared toward younger children, but there are numerous teenagers and adults who are living with crooked teeth, improper bites or alignment issues. It is very common, or even fashionable, for kids to sport metal braces, and choosing bright-colored rubber bands or uniquely shaped brackets is…
Teeth Straightening: Are Clear Aligners Considered Orthodontics?
Many people struggle with misaligned teeth that may call for orthodontics treatment. While on the surface level it may seem like a purely cosmetic issue, teeth that do not line up properly can lead to other complications for patients' dental health down the road. One obstacle that prevents many people from receiving the benefits of getting their teeth straightened by traditional orthodontics can be the perceived drawbacks of braces. However, there are alternatives nowadays, one of the most notable being clear aligners.
Why consider clear aligners?
Before considering clear aligners, it is important to understand the basics of what they are and whether they are an adequate substitute for traditional braces.
Are clear aligners a type of orthodontics?
While requiring different processes from both the dentist and the patient than traditional braces, clear aligners are still considered orthodontics. These aligners use the same concept as wire braces, gradually guiding teeth back into proper alignment over extended amounts of time. As with braces, clear aligners must be made to fit each individual's unique tooth structure, which requires regular appointments with a dentist and ordering of specialized aligners that the patient use.
Rather than going in for appointments to get braces adjusted, patients continue to keep their teeth moving to the proper alignment by switching out the aligners approximately once every two weeks. While the patient can continue to switch out aligners on their own, the dentist must remain involved during this process and regular checkups are important to make sure the procedure is going well. The end result should be the same as that of traditional braces, a corrected alignment of top and bottom teeth for a comfortable bite and beautiful smile.
What are the benefits of clear aligners?
Oftentimes, patients may feel some insecurity about wearing wire braces, especially adults or older teens. Clear aligners are barely noticeable on the teeth, making them a good option for adults who want to maintain their current appearance. Clear aligners may also be less intrusive than wire braces, as they can be removed before eating or drinking and so do not come with the eating restrictions that wire braces have. As with braces, the cost of using aligners for orthodontics can vary depending on the brand of aligners used and how long they need to be worn to straighten patients' teeth.
How do you choose the appropriate orthodontics option?
While it is important for any patient to consult a dentist before making a decision, a large part of the choice between clear aligners and braces is personal preference. While wire braces may be better for some patients, it is a good idea to consider the different options out there. Patients should keep in mind that if they choose clear aligners, it will be up to them to remember to wear them and switch them out during the appropriate times. As long as patients can commit to wearing them for the prescribed amount of time each day, aligners can be a great alternative to braces.
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