If you’ve been considering options for teeth alignment or occlusion issues, you’ve undoubtedly already come across some information about clear aligners. Clear aligners such as Invisalign offer an alternative to traditional orthodontic options such as metal or ceramic braces. This technology has numerous advantages, although it may not be the right option for every patient.

The best way to determine the right treatment for your teeth is to consult with an experienced dentist. However, you may find it comforting to understand a bit about these procedures before your consultation. Learn three ways clear aligners differ from traditional braces and whether these features may be ideal for your needs.

1. Restrictions on Food and Drink

One of the more interesting features of clear aligners is that you can remove them yourself. In fact, you will need to remove them several times throughout the day. Eating with your aligners installed can cause various issues, such as promoting bacterial growth from trapped food. As a result, you’ll need to remove your aligners when you eat or drink anything other than water.

Fortunately, this limitation shouldn’t place too many restrictions on your lifestyle. Although you may initially have difficulty removing your aligners, you’ll quickly discover a technique that works for you. Once you become comfortable with this procedure, taking your aligners out when you want to eat or drink shouldn’t be a major issue.

On the other hand, you won’t be able to remove or adjust traditional braces on your own. You won’t have any dietary restrictions when you use them, but they can trap food or sugary beverages against your teeth. Your dentist may recommend avoiding certain types of food and drink or, at a minimum, scheduling more frequent professional tooth cleanings while you have your braces.

2. Number of Dental Visits

Orthodontic treatment isn’t a one-size-fits-all procedure, nor is it something your dentist can accomplish all at once. Your teeth require a unique treatment plan and gradual adjustments to ensure a successful result. This approach means you’ll go through multiple trays throughout your treatment with aligners. With traditional braces, you’ll need periodic dentist visits to check, adjust, and tighten.

These differences mean that, in theory, you’ll need more visits for a traditional orthodontic treatment than you will with clear aligners. The time between visits will depend on your unique treatment, but it’s typically once every month or two. You’ll usually experience the most discomfort following these visits since the tighter braces exert more force on your teeth.

With aligners, you may receive all of your trays at once. As your treatment proceeds, you can step up to the next tray following a schedule without requiring a visit. However, in practice, many dentists will still want to track your overall progress. Although you’ll probably have fewer visits with aligners, you shouldn’t expect only to see your dentist at the beginning and end of your treatment.

3. Discomfort and Pain

Discomfort and pain are usually among the top concerns of anyone undergoing a dental procedure. Unfortunately, orthodontic procedures are never completely pain-free. Since these procedures must exert some force on your teeth, achieving desirable results within a reasonable timeframe often involves some discomfort.

The good news is that evidence strongly suggests that most patients find clear aligners far less uncomfortable than traditional orthodontic treatments. Aligners work in smaller steps, so they put less force on your teeth than traditional braces. As a result, there’s typically less discomfort, even when upgrading to a new tray. On the other hand, traditional braces can be uncomfortable after adjustment.

While some patients may still require traditional braces, clear aligners are a superior choice for many cases. e.s.i. Healthy Dentistry has experience working with Invisalign technology and can help you achieve a better smile with minimal discomfort and inconvenience. Contact us today to schedule your appointment!