Braces Or Clear Aligners: Which One Is Right For Me?

Have you ever wondered if you or your child could benefit from orthodontic treatment? If so, you probably have many questions, and you may not be sure where to turn for answers. Choosing to straighten your smile is a big decision, and you should have all the information you need from trusted resources in order to make the right choice for you and your family. That’s where we come in! 

Here at Nirenblatt Orthodontics, we’re proud to offer free consultations to families throughout the Lowcountry. When you schedule an initial visit with us, you’ll be able to discuss any concerns you have with Dr. Nirenblatt. Our expert team will also be happy to answer any questions you may have about the orthodontic process, including what treatments may be available to you.  

Braces and clear aligners are the treatment options we use most often in our practice, so it can be helpful to know a bit more about them before you take the next step. While these appliances look very different, they work in much the same way. Both are designed to apply gentle but continuous pressure to the teeth, shifting them into the desired positions. Over time, this will bring your teeth and jaw into alignment and improve the appearance of your smile. 

Although these treatment options may be similar in how they straighten the teeth, there are also some major differences between them. Let’s take a closer look at what those are below!  

Traditional braces

Traditional braces have been around in some form or another for centuries! That means they have a very long history of successfully correcting a wide range of orthodontic issues, from simple to complex. As a fixed orthodontic appliance, braces use brackets that are affixed directly to the surface of the teeth with a flexible wire running through them. When combined with tiny elastic bands, these components work together to move the teeth into more optimal positions. 

Modern braces have undergone a pretty impressive makeover in recent years. Their appearance is greatly improved, and they’re also more comfortable and effective than previous versions. Here at Nirenblatt Orthodontics, we offer two different types of braces to fit every patient’s needs: metal braces and clear braces. The treatment time will always vary from case to case, but the average tends to be anywhere from 12-36 months. 

Caring for traditional braces can come with a bit of a learning curve, especially in the beginning. Brushing and flossing around the brackets and wires can be tricky at first, but it will become easier with a little patience and practice. There are also a variety of accessories available to make this process easier! This includes tools like water piks to help rinse those hard-to-reach areas and ortho picks for braces-specific flossing.

Food restrictions are another essential part of oral care with braces. To protect the brackets and wires, patients will need to avoid anything crunchy or sticky, like popcorn, chips, gum, and some candy. It can be frustrating to have these favorites off the menu throughout the treatment process, but it’s only temporary and there are still plenty of orthodontic-approved treats available! 

Patients in traditional braces should expect to visit us every 6-8 weeks or so for follow-up appointments. Dr. Nirenblatt will ensure that everything is progressing according to the treatment plan. He’ll also change the bands attached to the brackets and may choose to replace the wire at this time as well. These adjustment appointments are generally pretty fast, but they’re an essential part of treatment. Attending these regular visits will help ensure the best results in the shortest amount of time possible.  

Braces Or Clear Aligners: Which One Is Right For Me?

Invisalign clear aligners

Instead of brackets and wires, the Invisalign system uses a series of removable clear aligners to straighten smiles. These aligners are known as removable orthodontic appliances, and they’re custom-made to fit snugly but comfortably over a patient’s teeth. Because they’re made of a smooth thermoplastic material, they don’t tend to irritate the gums or cheeks the way braces sometimes can. Most patients adjust to their aligners quickly.

Like braces, the treatment time with Invisalign will vary based on the particular case and how the patient responds. However, the average time in aligners tends to be somewhere between 12-18 months. Invisalign differs from traditional braces in that the treatment time depends in part on patient compliance. Invisalign patients must keep their aligners in for 20-22 hours every day throughout treatment. Each aligner also needs to be switched out for the next in the series every 1-2 weeks. Failure to do so can lead to a longer treatment time and less optimal results.

Because Invisalign aligners are removable, they’re very easy to care for! They’re designed to be taken out before eating and drinking anything other than water, so patients don’t have to worry about food restrictions. Aligners are also removed before brushing and flossing, which makes dental hygiene a much quicker and simpler process. 

Like braces patients, Invisalign patients will have regular follow-ups with Dr. Nirenblatt. These are usually scheduled for every 8-12 weeks. Skipping appointments or missing scheduled aligner changes can quickly undo any progress that’s been made, so it’s important to keep up with these visits.

Dr. Nirenblatt has been using clear aligners since 1999, and he’s personally treated hundreds of patients in that time. He’s even been published on the subject! Unlike some orthodontists, he’s able to use Invisalign to successfully treat severe cases as well as those that are more mild or moderate.  

But that’s not all! Our practice also offers in-house 3D printed aligners for touch-up treatments and special occasions like weddings, graduations, or senior pictures.

Braces Or Clear Aligners: Which One Is Right For Me?

Find the treatment options that fit your family at Nirenblatt Orthodontics

Traditional braces and Invisalign clear aligners each have their own list of pros and cons, but if you’re looking to improve your oral health, both treatments can be a wonderful option! Thanks to our personalized treatment plans, you can trust Dr. Nirenblatt to only recommend the best treatment for your unique smile. 

If you’re in Charleston or Summerville and would like to learn more about our treatment options, get in touch today to schedule your FREE consultation with Dr. Nirenblatt. Our expert team is here to help you find the most effective solution for a healthier, happier smile!