The clear aligner versus metal braces – your orthodontic options

The clear aligner is fast becoming a real contender when exploring orthodontic treatment options. Invisalign Clapham has become well known locally and by operating through local clinics, the biggest provider of aligners can ensure its products are used effectively and with the care that you can only get from your local community dental surgery.invisalign-clapham

The challenges that had to be overcome to develop an aligner which could perform as well as an affordable brace have been many and now we are proud to be an Invisalign Clapham local provider.

A clear aligner straightens teeth, using consistent force and relies on the same principles as a brace, but with a different method of action.


For most, braces are a way of improving their facial aesthetics and there’s nothing wrong with that. Yes, not having a fully closing bite can have some health implications, but they’re fairly minor if the misalignment is minimal. The use of an ‘invisible brace’ allows a patient to enjoy the advantages of orthodontic treatment without the disadvantages of 6 months to 2 years in a brace. So, it is not surprising why so many choose to pursue their treatment with aligners.

Installing a brace and fitting aligners

For the sake of simplicity, we are only going to touch on the basic installation of a standard brace, but there are many brace designs with much more complex interactions. The traditional brace moves teeth via a bracket, which is glued to the front of each tooth. There, the iconic square shape of these are linked together with a stiff, curved rod called an archwire; it is by adjusting the brackets on the archwire that the braces can be used to pull teeth towards one another or push them apart, correcting aesthetic and functional issues.

The installation can take up to an hour and when adjustments are made (the first of which will be immediately after installation), it will be slightly uncomfortable. Soft food is recommended for the next week and the use of over-the-counter painkillers is advised to combat pressure-related sensations.

The Invisalign Clapham aligner fitting is very different; an accurate 3D model needs to be made of your teeth, to begin with. This used to be carried out by sitting for a dental mould which would be used to create a plaster replica, which was then 3D scanned. As 3D scanners have improved in accuracy, it has become possible to scan the inside of a patient’s mouth directly. It is also possible to predict a 3D model from a set of X-rays, which we may also use.

How long do aligners take compared to braces?

There is no fair way to compare the treatments without some knowledge of the case they are being applied to. For orthodontic corrections that involve molars or altering the palate, an aligner would be ineffective and in general, a standard brace is used in such instances to get results quickly. In six months, your teeth will have been moved into an exceptionally good position, but it will have been a bit uncomfortable. Braces cannot be removed but aligners can be; remember, not wearing them consistently results in an extended treatment time. How long you use each aligner is based on how your teeth react to them, so while we will provide an estimated treatment time, we cannot guarantee it.