Summary :

When one goes for orthodontia, they often find themselves at crossroads about what to choose – should they go for aligners or stick to teeth braces. Let’s take this decision off your plate by telling you that your orthodontist will be the one deciding this for you depending on the severity of your case.

What are aligners?


Aligners are transparent, customized mouthpiece that are tightly fitted over your teeth to gradually shift them to achieve the perfect desired position. When one is undergoing an aligner treatment for teeth correction, they receive multiple aligners sets that need to be changed every 2 weeks – this is because your teeth are being corrected & they are adjusting to achieve the correct alignment with your jaw.

Aligners are popularly referred to as invisible braces or invisaligns, however these are mostly medical grade plastic trays devoid of metallic wires and brackets.

What are braces?


Dental braces are a form of the original orthodontic treatment that are used to correct misaligned teeth and close the gaps between. Teeth braces involves the usage of metal brackets, archwire and tiny elastic bands to hold them in place. Traditionally these were metallic in nature but now you can get ceramic braces as well as lingual braces. These correct a person’s bite as well as close gaps and improve overall dental health. Post braces, retainers are to be worn to prevent the chances of a relapse.

Please note that orthodontics is a branch of dentistry that focuses on the correction of mispositioned teeth and jaws, be it braces or aligners the end goal is diagnosing, preventing and fixing the misalignment of bite patterns.

When does one require conventional orthodontic treatment?

Certain cases which can only be corrected by braces are as follows:

  • Severe Crowding: In such cases, the orthodontist may advise the patient to undergo extraction of teeth, usually the premolars, to create space and accommodate the other remaining teeth.
Severe Crowding
  • Blocked-out maxillary canine: Often, children around the age of 12 years, or early teens show the phenomenon of a “blocked out canine”. In this case, the canine, which is the longest tooth in the mouth, erupts and does not have enough space to occupy its position in the upper arch. For this scenario,conventional orthodontic treatment is necessary to provide appropriate forces so that the tooth can be brought down and into its normal position in the upper arch.
  • Severe jaw discrepancies: In cases where there is skeletal malalignment between the upper and lower jaw, the dentist may advise teeth braces along with the use of functional devices. The patient’s smile can be corrected with the help of “camouflage treatment” which is aimed at restoring the function as well as the smile without surgical intervention.
  • Cross bite case: In this case, the lower tooth is in an incorrect position and lies in front of the upper tooth when the patient brings their teeth in full contact. When this condition is witnessed in the front teeth it is referred to as the anterior crossbite and when observed in the back teeth, it is known as posterior crossbite. In such cases, the patient usually requires conventional orthodontic therapy for correction of occlusion and smile.
  • Open bite: In this case the upper and the lower teeth cannot come in full contact, and it usually occurs as a result of tongue thrusting or thumb sucking habits. These cases should be treated at an early age so as to avoid any surgical intervention.
  • Severe Rotation: Sometimes, it is notice that the tooth iscompletely rotated out of position. For such major movements, conventional orthodontic treatment is necessary.
  • Severe Spacing: When the spacing is greater than 6mm per arch, then conventional orthodontic therapy is preferred.
Severe Spacing

When does one require aligners?

The following cases can be corrected with the help of clear aligners to restore both function and aesthetics:

  • Mild crowding: In cases of insufficient space in either of the arches, usually between 0.5mm to 3mm, aligners can be used for correction.
Mild Crowding
  • Mild spacing: If the spaces in each arch are between 3mm-6mm then aligners are ideal for treatment.
Mild Spacing
  • Intrusion: This is typically the apical movement of teeth, into the bone. Anterior teeth requiring up to 2mm of intrusion and posterior teeth requiring up to 1mm of intrusion can be treated with clear aligners.
  • Rotation: About 30 degrees of rotation in incisors, 20 degrees in canines and 15 degrees in premolars can be corrected with clear aligners.
  • Deep bite cases: In this phenomenon, the upper anterior teeth usually overlaps the lower anterior teeth to a great extent. As a result, the lower anterior teeth may touch the back side of the upper front teeth and damage the enamel.

What would an orthodontist recommend to you?

While searching for ‘orthodontics near me’ on google, one anxiously anticipates the future of their teeth. An orthodontist would keep two things in mind – the limitations of each case as well as the patient requirement before formulating the final treatment plan. The goal is to achieve a harmony between function and aesthetics. Accordingly, the dentist may advise either conventional orthodontic treatment or clear aligners to achieve satisfactory results.

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