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Braces vs clear aligners

Which method of teeth straightening is best for you?

A professional teeth straightening treatment has many long-term benefits for your oral hygiene and the appearance of your smile. But which method of teeth straightening should you choose: traditional braces, or clear plastic aligners?

Read on to learn more about the differences between braces and clear aligners, including the benefits and drawbacks of each teeth straightening treatment method.


Traditional braces are a highly effective orthodontic treatment, and are usually recommended in cases where there is a lot of straightening work to be done, or where the bite needs substantial correction. Braces are also usually recommended in early adolescence, after adult teeth have emerged, as they are most effective when the teeth and bones are still in development. Typically, braces will be worn for one to three years.

Clear dental aligners, such as Invisalign, make use of plastic trays to gently straighten your teeth and correct irregularities in your bite. They can be just as effective as traditional braces in straightening crooked teeth, closing gaps in the smile, and correcting for underbites and overbites – though they are usually recommended in milder cases of crooked teeth. Clear plastic aligners must be worn for 20 to 22 hours per day, and a typical treatment plan will last for 12 to 18 months.


One of the clear advantages of plastic aligners is their practically invisible appearance. This makes them popular for adult patients who wish to straighten their teeth, without drawing attention to themselves in their professional environment.

However, it is also important to note that traditional bracing technology has also improved in leaps and bounds in recent years. Speak to your dentist about coloured (non-metallic) braces, as well as innovative systems such as SureSmile Braces.

Comfort and removability

Part of what makes traditional braces so effective as an orthodontic treatment is the fact that they are non-removable – providing a constant straightening effect on your teeth. This, combined with sensations of tenderness and sensitivity following the fitment (and subsequent tightening) of braces, can result in short periods of discomfort for some patients.

On the other hand, clear plastic aligners can very easily be removed from the mouth – though this should only be done when eating and brushing teeth. In fact, the ease with which plastic aligners can be removed may lead, for some patients, to compliance issues – which is, of course, not a concern for those wearing traditional braces.

Hygiene and impact on diet

This is another aspect where plastic aligners have the edge over traditional braces.

As aligners should be removed when eating and brushing teeth, they will have no effect on your normal dietary habits and oral hygiene routine. You will need to look after your aligners, ensuring they are regularly cleaned and sanitised.

Braces, on the other hand, will require some dietary concessions and some adjustments to your oral care routine. You may need to avoid sticky, chewy foods (such as toffees and chewing gum), and you will need to follow the oral care routines prescribed by your orthodontist. It is more difficult, though also more important, to prevent the build-up of plaque by maintaining an effective brushing routine when wearing braces.

How can we help?

South East Orthodontics is committed to providing you a straight, healthy-looking smile. More and more adult patients want to get orthodontic treatment, and due to some incredible advancements in the world of orthodontics, we have a range of options to straighten your smile, from SureSmile Braces to Invisalign clear plastic aligners. For more information about our orthodontic treatments, please read more here.

The South East Orthodontics staff are committed to making your treatment seamless and successful. We provide clinical excellence by using the latest orthodontic developments and techniques. To book an appointment, please contact us here.

At South East Orthodontics, you can rest assured that the treatment planned and provided for you and your family is thorough, accurate and individualised to your needs. Our philosophy is to listen carefully to your needs, and to provide you with a personalised treatment plan to ensure long-lasting dental health. For more information about our comprehensive range of orthodontic services, please consult our website.