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Whats the difference between braces and orthodontic aligners like Invisalign?

Traditional braces and orthodontic aligners are both effective methods for straightening teeth and correcting bite issues, but they differ in several ways, including their appearance, treatment process, and maintenance. Here's a breakdown of their differences:

Traditional Braces:

Traditional braces with white ceramic brackets

  1. Appearance: Traditional braces consist of metal or white ceramic brackets that are bonded to the teeth and connected by wires. They can be visible when you smile or talk (but the white ceramic brackets less so)

  2. Materials: Typically made of metal brackets and wires, although ceramic or clear brackets are available for a less noticeable appearance.

  3. Treatment Process: The dentist adjusts the braces periodically by tightening the wires to gradually move the teeth into the desired position.

  4. Maintenance: Requires regular check-ups and adjustments by the orthodontist. Special care is needed to clean around the brackets and wires to prevent plaque buildup and staining.

  5. Duration: Treatment usually takes 18 months to 3 years, depending on the complexity of the case.

  6. Effectiveness: Can treat a wide range of dental issues, including severe misalignment and complex bite problems.

  7. Cost: Cost varies depending on the treatment plan and location, but traditional braces tend to be less expensive than some alternative options.

Clear Aligners:

Clear aligners are a series of removable appliances
  1. Appearance: Aligners are clear, plastic trays that fit snugly over the teeth. They are virtually invisible when worn.

  2. Materials: Made from BPA-free plastic that is custom-made for each patient using 3D imaging technology.

  3. Treatment Process: Patients receive a series of aligners to wear sequentially, with each set slightly adjusted to move the teeth closer to the desired position. Aligners are typically changed every 1-2 weeks.

  4. Maintenance: Easy to clean by brushing and rinsing. Aligners should be removed when eating or drinking anything other than water and should be worn for at least 20-22 hours per day.

  5. Duration: Treatment duration varies based on the complexity of the case, but it generally ranges from 6 months to 2 years.

  6. Effectiveness: Best suited for mild to moderate dental issues, such as crowding or spacing between teeth, and minor bite problems.

  7. Cost: Aligner treatment can be more expensive than traditional braces, depending on the brand and length of treatment.


Invisalign teeth straightening dentist Newcastle
Dr Sarah Wood can discuss different teeth straightening options
  • Appearance: Traditional braces are visible, while aligners are virtually invisible.

  • Materials: Braces use metal or ceramic brackets and wires, while aligners are made of clear plastic.

  • Treatment Process: Braces require periodic adjustments, while aligners involve changing to a new set every 1-2 weeks.

  • Maintenance: Braces require special care to clean around the brackets and wires, while aligners are easier to clean but require discipline in wearing them.

  • Duration: Braces often require longer treatment times compared to aligners.

  • Effectiveness: Both can be effective, but braces can treat a wider range of dental issues.

  • Cost: Aligners can be more expensive than braces.

The choice between traditional braces and orthodontic aligners depends on individual needs, preferences, and the recommendation of the dentist. More information can be seen at

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