Aligner System or Braces…..Which Is Best?


Clear Aligners

These are clear trays that fit around your teeth to move them. Many patients like them because they are “invisible”. Also,they can be removed so one is able to brush and floss easier. These are designed digitally. Impressions or scans of the teeth are taken, pictures of your face and teeth and x-rays of your teeth are taken.  

Pictures of your face and teeth are needed to see how to help design a better profile of the face and smile.  Radiographs are taken to evaluate bone levels around the teeth, any lesions present and check for any decay present  that may be needed to be taken care of prior to movement of the teeth. Then your dentist designs the movement of the teeth to be made.

Once the case is designed, the patient comes back in and has buttons placed. These are like brackets that are in traditional orthodontics, however they are made with composite resin to match your tooth shade. These aligners are worn at least 21-22 hours a day and changed approximately 10-14 days, depending on the difficulty of the movements needed and  what your dentist feels is best. You are monitored approximately every two months. Clear aligners have advanced tremendously and now can do more movements than before.  However, clear aligners can’t do some teeth movements as well as traditional aligners. Your dentist can advise you to what is best.


Online Aligner Systems

Traditionally, aligner systems require the patient to visit their orthodontist’s office for their initial consultations as well as for progress checks when picking up their next set of trays during treatment. At-home aligner systems like SmileDirectClub designed an aligner system that completely eliminates the need for in-office visits, providing patients with the ability to complete the entirety of their treatment from the comfort of home.


This method is typically advised against by dental professionals, as it can be risky to carry out orthodontic treatment without the direct supervision of a professional. Radiographs are not taken and many problems are not detected. Bone levels, lesions and decay has to be monitored prior to movement for risk of loss of tooth. Certain movements can’t be done without analyzing the bone.


Traditional Orthodontics

For many patients, traditional orthodontics is best. The strength of wires allow the orthodontist to move teeth and help expand the bone where needed.  This is usually better for growing children as the wires can help guide the facial features and smile line  Traditional orthodontics uses brackets, wires and sometimes elastics to help in movement of the teeth.  Again, radiographs and pictures are used to help in the design of the teeth movement Braces on the teeth makes it more difficult to brush and floss. However, your hygienist can help you with technique and tools to help maintain your mouth hygiene. Many people do not like the “metal” look of braces. Now if that is a concern, white ceramic brackets are now available to help with the look 

Finding the Best Aligner System for You

Everyone is different; the system that works best for one person may not work for another. The system that you choose will be dependent on your orthodontic treatment plan and your personal preference.

Here at Willow Glen Dental Specialists, we are proud to provide both Invisalign and ClearCorrect in San Jose. For more information, check out our site or give us a call at (408) 478-9081.

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