Traditional Expanders and Clear Aligners (What Is the Difference?)
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A beautiful smile can bolster a person’s confidence while also improving their appearance. Whether you suffer from misaligned teeth, an overbite, or a range of other orthodontic problems, there are a large number of treatment solutions that can be used to straighten your teeth and provide you with a beautiful smile. The most common of these treatments include traditional expanders and clear aligners. The former of which is typically referred to as braces. Making a decision between these two teeth straightening solutions can be difficult unless you know exactly what you’re looking for as well as the benefits of each option.
Main Differences Between Traditional Expanders and Clear Aligners
The primary difference between these two orthodontic treatments is in the materials that are used to make them. The brackets and wires that are used with the more traditional orthodontic solution are made from such metals as titanium and stainless steel. Along with the metallic aspect of this treatment, you’ll also be given tiny rubber bands. These are used to provide additional tightening throughout the treatment process. On the other hand, the clear aligner treatment known as Invisalign makes use of a durable plastic material for the creation of the aligners.
Along with the fact that an expander is made from metal, it’s also a type of treatment that’s completely visible when being worn. Which means that the brackets and wires can’t be hidden throughout the duration of your treatment. Since clear aligners are made from plastic, they are practically invisible, which should help keep your confidence high while wearing them. The metallic brackets with traditional teeth straightening solutions are glued directly to your teeth and can’t be removed until the treatment has been completed.
Instead of using brackets that are connected with wires, Invisalign makes use of plastic trays. These trays are placed around your teeth and can be removed whenever you want. However, it’s essential that you wear these aligners for around 23 hours each day if you want your treatment to remain on schedule. If you remove the aligners too often, it’s possible that the aligners won’t move your teeth as much as they are supposed to. Even with these time restrictions, you’ll benefit greatly from being able to remove the trays when brushing your teeth or eating.
The issue with metal brackets is that the food particles from what you eat can get stuck within the wires. This can make them difficult to clean and can heighten your risk of dental issues like cavities. When wearing braces, you’ll also have some food restrictions that you don’t have with clear aligners. These food restrictions include sticky foods, hard foods, and chewy foods. All of which should be mostly removed from your diet. You’ll also need to avoid or heavily reduce your sugar intake in order to minimize the amount of plaque buildup that occurs throughout the teeth straightening process.
As for the actual process used to straighten your teeth, both orthodontic options move teeth in the same way. The metal brackets will need to be tightened every month or so in order to keep the movements on schedule. When using clear aligners, you’ll be required to replace one set of aligners with another every two weeks. Your teeth will also be straightened at a similar pace no matter which of the two solutions you choose.
Clear aligners are commonly said to have a shorter treatment time than traditional brackets. However, the shorter treatment time is caused by clear aligners primarily being used for mild to moderate orthodontic problems. On the other hand, metal brackets can be used to straighten even the most severe of issues.
Problems That Can Be Treated By These Orthodontic Solutions
The metal brackets that are used with braces are designed to treat all kinds of orthodontic issues. These include severe problems that have caused substantial issues with the appearance of your teeth. The problems that can be treated with brackets include:
- Very crooked teeth that are awkwardly positioned in the mouth
- Large tooth gaps
- Twisted teeth that need substantial rotations in order to be moved to their proper position
- Serious overbite issues
- High amounts of tooth crowding, which is a problem that’s corrected by expanding the jaw
- Protruding teeth
While clear aligners can be used to correct most of the issues that can be fixed with metal brackets, they are unable to be used for some of the more severe jaw-related orthodontic problems. A number of the movements that Invisalign make include:
- Slight or moderate corrections for crooked teeth
- The reduction of small gaps between your teeth
- Small rotations for somewhat twisted teeth
- The expansion of space between teeth that are crowded
- The correction of slight underbite and overbite problems
Now that you know more about the types of corrections that both of these treatments can provide, you can make a more informed decision about which treatment is right for you.
Which Treatment Option Should I Select?
Both of these orthodontic solutions are considered to be highly effective at straightening teeth. If your problem is more severe and would require substantial movements, you may want to think about obtaining traditional expanders. However, if your main goal when having your teeth straightened is to select an option that will straighten your teeth without adversely affecting your appearance, you should consider clear aligners.
Since the aligners are practically invisible, you’ll be able to go to school or work without issue. If you’re unsure about which of these treatment options is right for your needs, your orthodontist will be able to provide you with an informed recommendation based on what they know about the status of your teeth.
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Traditional Expanders and Clear Aligners (What Is the Difference?)
Dr Nease graduated as Valedictorian from Cocke County (TN) High School in 1988 and graduated from the University of Tennessee (Go Vols!) in 1992. He then attended the University of Tennessee College of Dentistry in Memphis, TN, where he earned his Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree as Valedictorian of his graduating class in 1996. He remained at the University of Tennessee College of Dentistry for his orthodontic training, and received his Master of Dental Science (MDS) degree in June of 1999. He immediately joined the practice of Dr. Phil Higginbotham in Spartanburg, beginning a wonderful professional relationship and friendship that endures today.