Which is Better for Teens: Braces or Aligners?

When it comes to straightening your teen’s teeth, there are numerous options available from traditional braces to clear aligners, but how do you choose the right option? The choice you and your teen make will depend on the severity of the condition and personal preferences.

Traditional Braces

Traditional braces consist of brackets that are bonded to each tooth, using a special dental adhesive, and wires to help reposition the teeth. Braces are still the standard of care for treating significant bite problems.  Most younger teens prefer a stainless steel bracket that they can decorate with their favorite colored o-rings that hold the wire to the bracket. We also offer ceramic brackets which are virtually invisible and are the choice of many adult patients and older teens.

Traditional braces straighten the teeth by moving them with the help of a wire and elastics, which look like tiny rubber bands. With these braces, you and your teen must periodically visit your orthodontist  in order to check the progress of the treatment and to have the wires adjusted. We offer SureSmile technology to all our braces patients which is where we scan your teeth with the braces on and design your finishing wires to be customized to your teeth and your perfect smile.  This system is extremely accurate leading to more perfect smiles often in less time.

Traditional braces work best for individuals who have severely crooked teeth or bite misalignments, like crossbites, overbites and underbites.  They also require less self discipline than aligner treatments.

Pros of Traditional Braces

  • Corrects Severely Crooked Teeth and Bite Misalignments
  • Most Affordable Teeth Straightening Option
  • Very Accurate
  • Multiple Bracket Colors Available
  • Does certain types of movements superiorly to aligners

Cons of Traditional Braces

  • Brackets Can Come Off Teeth
  • Certain Foods Must Be Limited or Avoided
  • Requires Strict Oral Hygiene Routine
  • Wire Adjustments Can Lead to Temporary Mouth Pain

Laster Perfect Smile Aligners

Aligners have been available to individuals with crooked teeth since 1997 and involves the use of clear aligners in order to move and straighten teeth. Traditionally, aligners have been approved for use on older teens and adults who need to improve their smiles. Recent advancements in technology have now made this teeth-straightening treatment available to all teens.

Aligners are extremely popular because they are virtually invisible, which means they do not alter your appearance. They are also removable and do not require any dietary adjustments. Individuals with clear aligners wear each aligner for up to two weeks before changing to a new aligner.  Duration of treatment and overall success of treatment with aligners depends very much on how well the patients wears their aligners and follows the protocol prescribed by the doctor.

For easier aligner cases we also offer the option of Laster Perfect Smile clear aligners which are designed by Dr. Laster and made in our Raleigh lab.  This aligner system tends to be less expensive than name brand aligners.

Pros of Aligners

  • Can Be Removed
  • Custom Fitted for the Individual
  • Fewer Dental Appointments Needed
  • Nearly Invisible When Worn
  • No Dietary Changes Needed

Cons of Aligners

  • Cannot Be Used to Treat Severe Cases
  • Sometimes More Costly Than Traditional Braces
  • Must Be Worn at Least 22 Hours Per Day
  • Teeth Must Be Thoroughly Brushed and Flossed Before Inserting Aligners
  • Treatment duration can be longer than braces especially if not worn the required 22 hours/day

Deciding Between Traditional Braces or Aligners

In your initial consult Dr. Laster and his treatment coordinator will thoroughly discuss pros and cons for different treatment options based on your specific goals and circumstances.  Often he can show you cases similar to your and discuss what he likes and doesn’t like about certain treatment modalities.

In general, if your teenager does not have severely crooked or twisted teeth and their bite is not severely misaligned then clear aligners may be an option.  Some teens prefer these since they are nearly invisible and removable. However, it is important to note that the aligners must be worn for at least 22 hours a day. If they are not worn for the prescribed amount of time, the treatment times can be significantly increased.

If your teen has extremely crooked teeth or a bad crossbite, overbite or underbite, traditional braces may be a better option. If your teen may not be diligent enough to wear the aligners 22 hours a day then braces are definitely the best option.   If your teen is worried about their appearance, he or she may want to consider ceramic braces, which can provide a better aesthetic while still effectively straightening the teeth and improving your child’s smile. In general braces give a better result faster for cases where the bite is off while Laster Perfect Smile provides superior esthetics and works great on less complex cases.

For more information on traditional braces and clear aligners and to schedule an appointment with Dr. Laster, contact us today.

At Laster Orthodontics, we help families develop healthy, life-changing smiles using customized treatments, cutting-edge technologies, and caring relationships. Our individualized treatment plans help our patients achieve their perfect smile in the quickest, most painless way possible by utilizing a wide range of options from traditional braces to Propel accelerated treatment to Dr. Laster’s in-house aligner program, Laster Perfect Smile. With three locations throughout the Triangle Area, we create life-changing smiles every day.