Q: [Teens & Tweens] My teen is trying to talk us into opting for Invisalign instead of traditional braces. I’m just not sure he will actually keep them in his mouth. The fact that it is removable just makes me think he’ll be using any excuse — basketball, dates, food/snacks, sax practice, etc. — to avoid wearing them and it will just be a waste of time and money. Should I insist on traditional braces?
A: There is no simple answer to the ‘clear aligners vs. braces’ debate. Ultimately, it depends on individual expectations and one’s desired result. Consider these pros and cons when making an informed decision.
Clear aligners are best suited for minor amounts of simple tooth movement. They are less visible and removable, making them aesthetically suitable for even the most discerning patient. There are still drawbacks to clear aligners, most important of which are the final results of treatment. They cannot correct a bad bite and if one or more teeth do not ‘track’ properly, the next aligner may not fit properly. Additionally, they need to be worn 22 hours per day, 7 days a week, for 2-3 weeks before moving on to the next sequenced aligner.
Traditional braces are the gold standard when it comes to orthodontic problems that can be corrected using fixed appliances. Typically, braces are worn for 12-24 months with adjustments being made every 6-8 weeks. Fixed braces can correct the most severe orthodontic problems and provide better outcomes for a beautiful end result. The downside to traditional braces is they can be viewed as unaesthetic. Also, some patients have challenges keeping them clean, as brushing and flossing with braces is cumbersome. Finally, braces may occasionally develop areas of discomfort from poking wires or broken brackets.
Clear braces are a hybrid of the two for an option to have the best of both worlds. They are made from a synthetic sapphire crystal, making them clear. When properly adhered to the teeth, they provide a high-level of orthodontic benefits. They’re aesthetic, functional, and comfortable to wear – presenting an awesome choice to those seeking an aesthetic option to traditional silver brackets.
Please, remember to always consult an experienced dental provider before making any decision related to oral healthcare.
Dr. Badii is the Co-Founder and President of Smile Wide Dental. He is a Diplomate of the American Board of Orthodontics, and is an active member who serves on many local, state, and national dental and orthodontic societies. For more information, please contact Smile Wide at 844-Smile-74 or visit www.SmileWideDental.com