Braces vs Aligners: What’s The Best for You During COVID-19

Now is a great time to start with either braces or aligners. We find that many patients are starting treatment right now, during the COVID-19 pandemic. These disruptive times have given patients a moment to consider how modern orthodontics can give them a smile they always wanted. Many of our new patients during COVID have mentioned that their schedule has opened up, and they are at home more now, so they feel more comfortable pursuing treatment.


Deciding to start modern orthodontic treatment is an excellent first step. However, when deciding which modern orthodontic treatment to choose, there are few other considerations. The treatment plan options have different advantages and drawbacks. Not only that, the treatments have limitations to what they can do.


We have assembled some general information below on the pros and cons of two of the most popular forms of modern orthodontic treatment, traditional braces and clear aligners. We recommend discussing these options with your orthodontist during your initial consultation to make the best decisions for you and the smile you always wanted to have.


The Pros and Cons of Traditional Braces


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When you think of orthodontics, you likely picture traditional braces. Traditional braces are fixed appliances that use bands, brackets, and wires to straighten your teeth. In this treatment, the bands wrap around the teeth, and the brackets affixed to the front of the tooth. Then, we thread archwires through the brackets and attach them to the bands. All of these work together to move the teeth into proper position over time.


There are a few great things about traditional braces. Braces can treat complex cases, a vital fact for people who need more than a cosmetic fix for their smiles, like misalignments in their jaw or bite. Also, traditional braces can close gaps and align teeth quickly. Moreover, braces are always there doing the work without you having to do anything, with your orthodontist managing the outcome. Perhaps most importantly, they are cost-effective, especially when compared to clear aligner therapy.


The drawbacks of braces are well known. They are noticeable. Even though brackets have improved materials and colors, they are still visible—and many people don’t want other people to know they are wearing braces. Traditional braces can also be uncomfortable to wear at first and difficult to fix if a bracket comes off or a wire breaks. Plus, there are certain foods you should avoid when you are wearing braces to prevent brackets coming off or wire breaks.


These drawbacks are definite concerns; however, COVID-19 has provided an excellent benefit: facemasks. Many patients are at home more during the pandemic, and when they go out, they wear a mask, which means people don’t see the braces—except their own family or people with whom they live.


The Pros and Cons of Clear Aligners


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The robust marketing efforts of clear aligner companies have brought clear aligners into public awareness for our practice. Many of our patients are interested in them because of their numerous advantages over traditional braces, namely their esthetics. Unlike most braces, clear aligners are practically invisible, so most people don’t know you are wearing braces. Also, there are no dietary restrictions. You can eat anything you want; remove the clear aligner tray, eat, clean your teeth, and then replace it. Clear aligners make it easier to maintain your oral healthcare. Unlike braces, which have wires that interfere with flossing, you can remove your trays and clean your teeth like you would without participating in modern orthodontic treatment. They also don’t interfere with how you speak or have as much physical discomfort as you do with braces.


However, despite all these great benefits of clear aligners, there are still cons to this treatment option. They can’t treat all cases; for starters, clear aligners are best for esthetic cases and those patients with minor to moderate bite issues. Also, they only work if you remember to wear them. If you don’t wear them enough or fail to follow your treatment plan’s guidelines and schedule, it can prolong your treatment time. Finally, even though competition in the clear aligner market brought the price down considerably in recent years, clear aligners cost slightly more than traditional braces.


The COVID-19 pandemic has emphasized an additional benefit for patients as well. With aligners, we typically see our patients once every two or three months, so it’s convenient for them that they don’t have to have an in-person visit as often. Also, there are now many virtual modalities to monitor their treatment from home if patients don’t want to come in for checks. (If this option appeals to you, please ask your orthodontist about options for virtual care.)


Whether you choose braces or clear aligners, improving your smile or the smile of someone you love can still happen even during the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic might even present an improved environment for your modern orthodontic treatment, from the perspective of your time and attention. There are pros and cons to the different kinds of modern orthodontic treatments you can choose, but the results you can achieve fall definitely in the “pros” column.


To schedule your free consultation today, call the Bloom Orthodontics office in Long Beach at 562-421-8883.


Bloom Orthodontics in Long Beach has a long history of improving our patients’ smiles. We provide modern orthodontic treatments delivered with old fashioned excellence in patient experience. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram.