Teeth Straightening Which Is Best Clear Aligners Or Metal Braces

Teeth straightening, known professionally as orthodontic treatment, is a specialty field in dentistry that is concerned with the diagnosis, prevention, and correction of malpositioned teeth and jaws, and misaligned bite patterns. In some cases, it also addresses the modification of facial growth, known as dentofacial orthopedics. Here’s an extensive and informative overview of what teeth straightening involves, its causes, and the various treatments available, particularly drawing from Australian resources.

Definition and Purpose

Orthodontic treatment aims to correct various dental issues:

  • Crooked or crowded teeth
  • Incorrect biting patterns (malocclusion)
  • Severe misalignment of teeth and/or jaws
  • The impact of past habits such as thumb sucking on the position of teeth and jaw development

These conditions can lead to more complex health issues, such as sleep apnoea, or cause uneven wear of the teeth​1​.

When to Seek Treatment

The Australian Society of Orthodontists recommends that children have an orthodontic assessment between the ages of 7 and 10, allowing for early intervention if necessary. While orthodontic treatment is commonly associated with children and teenagers, adults can also undergo teeth straightening procedures​1​.

Treatment Options

Metal Braces: Traditional metal braces have been used for a century and remain popular for their effectiveness. They consist of brackets attached to the teeth, connected by wires which are periodically tightened to guide the teeth into the desired position​1​.

Ceramic Braces: These operate on the same principle as metal braces but are made from tooth-coloured ceramic materials, making them less noticeable​2​​1​.

Lingual Braces: Similar to traditional braces, but the brackets and wires are placed on the inside surfaces of the teeth, rendering them virtually invisible from the outside​1​.

Clear Aligners: Clear aligners are custom-made, thin plastic trays worn over the teeth. Known by various brand names, they are less visible than braces and can be removed for eating and cleaning. It’s important to wear them consistently, except when eating or drinking anything other than water​1​.

DIY and Direct-to-Consumer Options

The Australian Dental Association warns against direct-to-consumer orthodontic treatments which do not involve in-person visits to a professional. These treatments can cause permanent damage to teeth, gums, and jaw joints. It’s crucial to have a thorough pre-treatment assessment and ongoing supervision by a registered orthodontist​1​.

Oral Hygiene with Orthodontic Appliances

Proper oral hygiene becomes even more critical when wearing braces or aligners. Braces wearers should brush after every meal to remove food trapped around brackets. Interdental brushes or floss threaders can help clean between the teeth and orthodontic appliances​1​.

For those using clear aligners, it’s important to clean the trays with antibacterial soap and rinse with warm water twice a day to maintain oral hygiene​3​.


Teeth straightening is more than cosmetic—it is a vital dental treatment that corrects significant oral health issues. It is a comprehensive process that requires professional diagnosis, a variety of treatment options tailored to individual needs, and rigorous oral hygiene practices. Seeking treatment from registered Australian orthodontists ensures that patients receive safe, effective, and supervised care, with a range of options from traditional braces to less visible clear aligners. Remember, early assessment, particularly in children, can lead to better outcomes and less invasive treatments in the future.


At Dentists In Annerley, QLD, Australia, we pride ourselves on setting the highest standard of patient care, ensuring an experience that fuses comfort with unmatched dental health services. Our clinic acts as an oasis for advanced periodontal treatments, performed with precision and a delicate touch to guarantee the best oral health outcomes for our patients. Centrally located for Annerley residents and those from surrounding suburbs, we invite individuals from Woolloongabba, Greenslopes, Fairfield, Yeronga, Moorooka, Tarragindi, Holland Park, West End, Highgate Hill, Dutton Park, Coorparoo, Carina Heights, Mount Gravatt, East Brisbane, and Stones Corner to partake in exceptional dental care. Our dedication to oral health is solid, with a personalized approach to periodontal care that is aimed at enhancing both the resilience and aesthetics of our patients’ smiles.

In the bustling environment of Annerley and its nearby areas, Dentists In Annerley emerges as a haven of dental health and well-being. We address a broad range of dental needs, from routine examinations and cleanings to emergency dental treatments, all the while utilizing modern CEREC technology for immediate ceramic restorations. Our broad suite of services spans root canal therapies, wisdom tooth extractions, and the creation of tailored veneers, crowns, and implants, in addition to specializing in periodontics, pediatric dentistry, and orthodontic aligners. Our facility is equipped with contemporary X-ray machinery, ensuring an expedient and accurate diagnostic and treatment journey. We have meticulously designed every aspect of our practice to optimize the efficiency, thoroughness, and comfort of your visit.

The guiding principle at Dentists In Annerley is the belief that exemplary dental care should be within reach for everyone. We are committed to offering a comprehensive variety of dental services that cater to the varied dental concerns of our patients. From preventive maintenance to the craftsmanship of cosmetic dentistry, and the detailed care required for complex dental treatments, our team at Dentists In Annerley is steadfast in their quest for dental excellence. This dedication is apparent in our gentle demeanor and the detailed attention we apply in each treatment, ensuring every patient leaves with a smile that is as radiant in appearance as it is in health.

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Frequently Ask Questions

  • Orthodontic treatment is a branch of dentistry focusing on diagnosing, preventing, and correcting malpositioned teeth and jaws, as well as misaligned bite patterns. It’s not just about cosmetic improvement but also about improving oral function and health. Orthodontists are specialized dentists who deliver these treatments​1​.
  • The Australian Society of Orthodontists recommends that children have an orthodontic assessment between the ages of 7 and 10. This allows for early detection of potential issues and timely intervention if necessary​1​.
  • Yes, adults can benefit from orthodontic treatment. There is no age limit to correcting teeth alignment, and treatments can resolve issues not addressed during childhood or those that develop in adulthood​1​.
  • Signs you might need braces include crooked or crowded teeth, gaps between teeth, jaw misalignment, biting difficulties, and past habits like thumb sucking that have affected dental development​1​.
  • Traditional metal braces straighten teeth through brackets attached to each tooth, connected by wires. Over time, the orthodontist tightens these wires to gradually move the teeth into the desired position​1​.
  • Ceramic braces are as effective as metal braces in teeth straightening. They function similarly but are made from tooth-coloured materials, making them less noticeable​1​.
  • Clear aligners are custom-made, removable plastic trays that fit over the teeth. Unlike traditional braces, they are less visible and can be taken out for eating and cleaning. However, they must be worn consistently for the best results​1​.
  • The duration of teeth straightening varies significantly depending on the individual’s needs, the type of treatment, and the severity of the dental issues. It can range from a few months to several years​1​.
  • Yes, after braces are removed, wearing a retainer is typically necessary to maintain the new position of your teeth. The duration for which you must wear a retainer will depend on your specific case​1​.
  • Yes, teeth can be straightened without traditional braces using clear aligners, which are an alternative orthodontic treatment method. However, not all dental conditions are suitable for clear aligners, and a consultation with an orthodontist is necessary to determine the best treatment option​1​.
  • Orthodontic treatments are generally safe when performed by a qualified orthodontist. However, there are potential risks such as discomfort, tooth decay due to difficulty in maintaining oral hygiene, gum disease, and, in rare cases, root resorption where the tooth root shortens during treatment. Ensuring good oral hygiene and following the orthodontist’s instructions can mitigate most risks​1​.
  • The frequency of orthodontic visits can vary depending on the specific treatment plan. Typically, patients with braces need to see their orthodontist every 4 to 8 weeks for adjustments. Clear aligner treatment may require less frequent visits, but regular check-ups are essential to monitor progress and make any necessary adjustments​1​.
  • With braces, you can eat most of your usual foods, but you should avoid hard, sticky, or chewy foods that can damage the braces. Foods like popcorn, nuts, and hard candies should be avoided. It’s also recommended to cut down on sugary foods and drinks to prevent tooth decay​1​.
  • When you have braces, it’s important to brush your teeth after every meal to prevent food from getting trapped around the brackets. Using a soft-bristled brush or an electric toothbrush can help. Additionally, using floss threaders or interdental brushes can aid in cleaning between the teeth and around the brackets​2​​3​.
  • Yes, you can still play sports and musical instruments with braces. However, it’s recommended to wear a mouthguard when playing sports to protect your braces and teeth from damage. For wind instruments, it may take some adjustment, but protective orthodontic wax can help​1​.
  • Lingual braces are similar to traditional braces but are attached to the backside of the teeth, making them invisible from the front. They can be a good option for those who prefer a more discreet orthodontic treatment​1​.
  • The cost of teeth straightening in Australia varies widely depending on the type of treatment and the duration it is needed. Metal braces can range from AUD 5,000 to 9,000, while clear aligners can cost between AUD 6,500 and 9,000. It’s best to consult with an orthodontist for a detailed quote​1​.
  • Dental insurance in Australia may cover part of the cost of orthodontic treatment. However, coverage and the amount reimbursed can vary greatly among insurance providers and individual policies. Patients should check with their insurance provider for specific details​1​.
  • The Australian Dental Association strongly advises against DIY orthodontic treatments that do not involve in-person visits to an orthodontist. These treatments can lead to permanent damage to the teeth, gums, and jaw joints​1​.
  • Yes, teeth straightening can correct bite issues. Orthodontic treatment not only aligns teeth but can also correct improper bite patterns, such as overbites, underbites, and crossbites, improving both the function and aesthetics of the teeth and jaws​1​.
  • Untreated dental misalignment can lead to a range of issues such as difficulty in cleaning teeth, which increases the risk of tooth decay and gum disease. It can also cause abnormal wear of tooth surfaces, discomfort in the jaw, and potentially lead to more complex dental issues later in life​1​.
  • There is no upper age limit for teeth straightening treatments. Orthodontic treatment can be performed on children, adolescents, and adults. However, the Australian Society of Orthodontists recommends children have an orthodontic assessment between the ages of 7 – 10 years​1​.

The main types of braces include traditional metal braces, ceramic braces which are less visible, and lingual braces which are attached to the inside surface of the teeth. Clear aligners are also a popular alternative to traditional braces​1​.

  • Clear aligners are custom-made, thin plastic trays that fit over the teeth. They apply pressure to gradually move the teeth into the desired position. Aligners should be worn continuously, except when eating or drinking anything other than water. Care must be taken to prevent trapping harmful liquids against the teeth​1​.
  • The Australian Dental Association does not recommend DIY teeth straightening methods, which involve treatments without in-person dental visits. Such approaches can lead to permanent damage to teeth, gums, and jaw joints. It’s advised to seek treatment that includes a thorough assessment and ongoing supervision by a qualified dentist or orthodontist​1​.
  • Dental trauma, such as cracked or loose teeth, should be addressed by a dentist as soon as possible. If a tooth is knocked out, it’s important not to try to reinsert a baby tooth, while a knocked-out adult tooth should be kept moist (in milk or saliva) and taken to the dentist immediately. A custom-made mouthguard should be worn during sports to prevent such injuries​2​.
  • The Australian Dental Association and Sports Medicine Australia advocate for a ‘no mouthguard, no play’ policy. Sports clubs are encouraged to make wearing mouthguards mandatory for players to reduce the risk of dental injuries​3​.
  • For individuals with braces, it’s recommended to brush after every meal to prevent food from getting trapped. The use of a floss threader or interdental brushes can assist with cleaning between the teeth and around the orthodontic brackets​1​​4​.
  • Clear aligners should be cleaned regularly with antibacterial liquid soap and a spare toothbrush, then rinsed with warm water. It’s essential to maintain normal brushing and flossing of the teeth as well​5​.
  • Yes, besides affecting the appearance, misaligned teeth can lead to difficulties in cleaning, abnormal wear, discomfort in the jaw, and can contribute to gum disease and tooth decay. Orthodontic treatment aims not only to improve the aesthetics but also to correct bite issues and prevent related health problems​1​.