Braces or Aligners: Which One is Right for Me?

Decisions, Decisions!

At Reichheld Ting Orthodontics, we consider ourselves partners in your orthodontic journey and believe that educating our patients gives them the power to make the best informed decision possible when considering treatment.  These days, our patients have more options than ever when it comes to straightening their teeth and correcting their bite. Many of them compare braces and Invisalign and wonder which is the best for them or their children.

The answer is-it depends! This is why we give free consultations to every prospective patient at our practice so they can know which option will give them the smile of their dreams. At every consultation we review:

  • what current problems there are
  • how orthodontic treatment will change your smile
  • which treatments will best fit for your needs
  • what payment options are available to you
  • differences in popular treatments like metal braces and clear aligners

Let’s delve into the treatments a little bit deeper to get you thinking about the different options.

How they work:

No matter which option you choose, both braces and Invisalign aligners work by applying gentle pressure to your teeth to move them into the correct position over time. By aligning the teeth and jaws, our patients experience beautiful smile esthetics, healthier jaw and occlusal function and improved oral health.

Treatment with Braces

Traditional braces have undergone many changes since they were first developed and RTO is proud to be using some of the most technologically advanced brackets on the market. Our self-ligating braces have small doors to hold the archwire in place. This feature decreases friction, increases comfort, allows us to use lighter forces and, most importantly, can reduce treatment time compared to the standard metal braces that use elastic ties to attach the brackets to the archwire. Our clear ceramic braces also utilize self-ligated doors but dramatically reduce the appearance of braces on your teeth as they are made of a translucent material that is resistant to staining. 

Braces are a great choice for almost every patient and can treat the most difficult malocclusions including overbites, underbites, crossbites, deep bites, crooked teeth, and other alignment concerns. Certain orthodontic problems, such as impacted teeth, can only be treated with braces.

There are many benefits to choosing orthodontic treatment with braces. The biggest advantage to braces over Invisalign clear aligners is that they’re constantly working because they are always in your mouth, adjusting your teeth. No worrying about prolonged treatment times because you didn’t remember to wear your aligner as directed.

The Downside of Braces

While braces are certainly known for getting even the most challenging orthodontic job done, they come with some cons that may affect your choice. Clear brackets make them less visible to others, but there are still brackets on your teeth joined with a wire that are more noticeable than clear aligners. Braces also make brushing and flossing your teeth a bit more challenging to navigate correctly. Luckily, flossing tools like an interdental proxy brush or a Waterpik can help clear debris buildup, and an electric toothbrush can help make brushing more effective.

The most noted disadvantage of choosing braces over clear aligners that many patients report is the temporary food restrictions you will need to follow to prevent damage to the wires and brackets. As soon as your braces come off, you can go back to enjoying these foods, but during your orthodontic treatment with braces, you should avoid:

  • Popcorn
  • Gum, chewy candy and foods
  • Hard candy and foods
  • Crunchy raw vegetables
  • Hard breads and pretzels

Treatment with Clear Aligners

Times have changed for the better-the days of braces as the only tooth straightening option are gone! Clear aligners have emerged as a wonderful way to get that perfect smile. At Reichheld Ting Orthodontics, we are proud to be recognized by Align Technology (the parent company of Invisalign) as Top 1% Diamond Plus Providers. This means that we do more Invisalign than 99% of practices in the United States and have experience treating even the most difficult cases with clear aligners.

Aligners work similarly to braces by applying gentle pressure to move teeth into the desired position for the optimal bite and smile. Aligners take a more modern and personalized approach than metal braces. Our doctors at RTO digitally design and customize a series of plastic trays created for you and only you. There are no metal or ceramic brackets to attach and no wires to tighten. You simply put the clear aligner trays over your teeth and go about your day. Every week, you pop in a new set of aligners until your treatment is complete. 

Clear aligners are virtually invisible since they are created based on your precise digital scans, so the trays themselves mold perfectly to your teeth. Since aligners are a removable treatment device, you get some added perks like not having restrictions on the foods you can eat and no troubling obstacles when brushing and flossing your teeth. Before putting your aligners back in after eating, make sure to brush, or at least rinse, to ensure harmful sugar and bacteria aren’t getting trapped between your teeth and your aligner.

At Reichheld Ting Orthodontics, we treat patients of every age with Invisalign. This includes early treatment in pediatric patients to adults using Invisalign in conjunction with orthognathic surgery. We can also use elastic bands with Invisalign to correct bad bites with the aligners. There are very few cases in our practice that can’t be treated with Invisalign!

The Downside of Clear Aligners

The biggest downside of Invisalign is that clear aligners can only be fully effective when worn precisely as prescribed by your orthodontist. This means getting a full 22 hours per day of aligner wear. For patients that don’t believe they can commit to this level of wear, braces may be a better alternative. Store your aligner in its protective case while eating or brushing, and remember to put them back in after to ensure you are wearing them in a way that doesn’t prolong your treatment and so you don’t lose them. Another negative of Invisalign is the increased plastic usage with this form of treatment. For this reason, RTO has partnered with One Tree Planted to plant trees for every Invisalign case started. This way you can care for your smile and the environment too!

For help with your tough treatment decisions, trust Reichheld Ting Orthodontics.

The choice is pretty easy with Reichheld Ting Orthodontics. Whether you are sure you want to go with braces or clear aligners, our doctors and staff will guide you through all of your orthodontic needs and options with kindness and understanding. We will do everything we can to ensure that you have all the information you need to make the right decision, and get the best care available in an environment that will leave you smiling every time. Schedule your free consultation at our office in Acton, Billerica, Lowell, or Westford, MA, to start your smile journey today!