Clear aligners versus traditional braces: 4 benefits for adult orthodontic patients

Patients today have a decision to make when they decide to undergo orthodontic treatment—choosing between clear aligners and traditional braces. Jenny R. Maple, DDS, MS, says clear aligners offer several benefits and are an effective alternative to bracket and wire orthodontics, especially for adults. She shares the top four reasons her adult patients prefer clear aligners over traditional braces.

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1609maple01Patients today have a decision to make when they decide to undergo orthodontic treatment—choosing between clear aligners and traditional braces. Jenny R. Maple, DDS, MS, says clear aligners offer several benefits and are an effective alternative to bracket and wire orthodontics, especially for adults.


Patients in our dental practice find they have a decision to make when they decide to undergo orthodontic treatment—choosing between clear aligners and traditional braces. Many of our adult patients are unaware that there is an alternative to traditional braces. Clear aligners—such as Invisalign—are an effective alternative with several benefits compared to traditional braces, especially for adults. Here are the top four reasons why adults in our practice prefer clear aligners over traditional braces.

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1. Visibility

The main reason why adult patients in our practice choose clear aligners is that they appear invisible. This helps conceal the fact that the patient is undergoing orthodontic treatment, which can be embarrassing for some adults. Clear aligners also help hide existing gaps, another esthetic benefit.

Many of our adolescent patients also prefer clear aligners for the same reason, especially high school- and college-age patients. However, some of our younger patients still choose traditional braces, because they can customize the elastics on the brackets. Popular choices for these are school colors or the colors of their favorite sports team. The ability to customize the look of traditional braces allows young patients to express themselves while straightening their smile.

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2. Removability

Unlike traditional braces, our patients love having the ability to remove their clear aligners when they eat and brush their teeth. This allows them to continue their usual hygiene routine of brushing and flossing.

Not only do clear aligners make cleaning easy, but they offer patients the freedom to eat what they want and brush their teeth normally. Patients no longer have to keep a list of restricted food items that may cause traditional brackets to come loose and require additional orthodontic visits.

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3. Health benefits

Many patients who have traditional braces find it difficult to properly take care of their teeth, because they either had poor oral hygiene to start with and do not make adjustments to their cleaning routines while wearing braces, or they fall into poor oral hygiene habits once their brackets are placed.

Oftentimes, patients will develop calcium deposits on the front of their teeth following orthodontic treatment. These deposits are visible when the braces are removed and require the patient either to have cosmetic work done or live with white spots on their teeth.

Poor hygiene habits with traditional braces also may result in swollen gums that can become problematic if the patient neglects to perform good oral hygiene. Swollen gums can then lead to gingivitis, which if left untreated can lead to lifelong health problems.

Clear aligners were first used only on simple orthodontic cases, such as slightly crowded teeth, but now they’re used for even the most advanced orthodontic cases. Not only do we find that clear aligners take away the social stigma of orthodontics, but they also tend to be more efficient when it comes to patients’ oral health.

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4. Impressionless scanning

One of the best ways I can be more clinically efficient and reduce the discomfort my patients experience is through the combined use of clear aligners and impressionless scanning. Impressionless scanning is becoming more widely used in dentistry, which is one reason why many of our patients opt for clear aligners.

I use the iTero digital scanning system in my practice. It creates a 3-D digital scan of a patient’s teeth quickly, comfortably, and accurately. This reduces the time that patients have to be in the chair with mouth extenders and putty in their mouth, which is a benefit they really appreciate when they choose clear aligners.

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Clear aligners are a great alternative to bracket and wire orthodontics. Everyone has different reasons why they need orthodontic treatment, and clear aligner technology has now advanced to meet these patient needs as a popular option for orthodontic treatment.

JennyrmapleddsmsJenny R. Maple, DDS, MS, a native of Toledo, Ohio, is a graduate of The Ohio State University Graduate Orthodontic Program, where she received her master’s degree and certificate in orthodontics. She also completed her dental training at OSU and graduated summa cum laude. Dr. Maple received several awards and honors during her dental education and began treating patients in her community shortly after graduation in 2003. You may contact her through her website at Maple Orthodontics.


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