Orthodontia and Aligners


The terms “braces” and “orthodontics” are used almost interchangeably, but it is important to remember that orthodontics encompasses much more than braces alone. Orthodontists look at the way the teeth are aligned, how they got to their current state, and what needs to happen so that the patient has a proper bite.

Cosmetic dentists are often able to perform some orthodontic work. For example, they may be able to put on traditional braces or they may put on clear aligners. Every procedure is different and costs a different amount of money. In addition, some procedures won’t be right for certain patients, and the treatment length is different depending on the person. Have a conversation with the cosmetic dentist about your needs and what will work for you.

Orthodontics: Clear Aligners

If you want to straighten your teeth, but you’d like to be discreet about it, clear orthodontic aligners might be the right option for you. The aligners are made up of several clear trays that can be put in and out of the mouth. The trays go over the teeth and adjust them. Your dentist will tell you how long you have to have the trays on; for example, the first one is normally worn for a period of fourteen days, twenty hours a day. Treatment is normally complete in less than a year and a half.

Clear orthodontic aligners are not right for everyone. They work best on patients that don’t have serious spacing issues or crowding. They are also appropriate for those that have a mild malocclusion. However, overbites and crossbites usually need a different form of treatment.

Traditional braces have to be worn all the time; they don’t come off the teeth until the orthodontist removes them. The trays, however, can be taken in and out at will, which makes eating, flossing and brushing much easier. In addition, since the trays are clear, they are very inconspicuous, which older patients appreciate.

Aligners can cost more money than braces. Also, the patient must keep up with the trays or they risk paying more money to have them replaced.