clear aligners

Braces are the mainstay of orthodontic treatment and have been around for many years. Clear aligners (one brand is Invisalign) have come on the scene much more recently. Both can be a highly effective means of moving teeth, but there are pros and cons.

It’s important to note that clear aligners are not appropriate for use in complex orthodontic cases, so they are not always an option. If they are an option, one nice thing about clear aligners is that they’re more esthetic than braces. A feature that is both a pro and a con of clear aligners is that they are removable. Let me explain; the fact that they are removable makes eating, brushing and flossing easier, which are the pros. The con is that clear aligners only move teeth effectively when they are worn 22+ hours/day, for the duration of treatment. This means that in order to achieve an excellent result, a patient must be extremely diligent with aligner wear for as long as two years!  

Braces, on the other hand, come with eating restrictions and tend to trap food. For the type of patient who may frequently “forget” to wear their aligners, however, braces are a great option because they are glued onto the teeth.  I generally prefer treating adults with clear aligners, but they are a viable option for responsible teens, as well.  Total treatment time with braces and aligners is usually about the same.  Neither is faster or slower.  

There are various positives and negatives for both clear aligners and braces. Which is best for each individual depends on the details of the case as well as desires of the patient. Let your orthodontist be your guide as to which modality fits you best.  Your amazing smile awaits!



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