Dear Dr Bronsky,
My son is a teenager and is likely going to need orthodontic treatment in the near future. Looking around at my options, I still don’t know what would be the best choice for my son: metal braces or Invisalign Teen. As an experienced orthodontist, what would you recommend for my son?
-Concerned Father in the Upper East Side
Dear Concerned Father in the Upper East Side,
In the past, we weren’t lucky enough to have this concern. Our only option used to be standard braces (and they were bigger and bulkier than they are now!). Thankfully though, advanced orthodontic technology has given us many options to choose from when it comes to straightening teeth. Each of these forms of orthodontic treatment that you mentioned is a great choice and has its own benefits.
Metal braces are the traditional form of orthodontic treatment that people are most familiar with. As the standard for orthodontics, these are a proven and effective form of treatment that’s especially helpful when dealing with more complicated orthodontic problems. Modern braces are made of stainless steel and are very durable. They’re also cemented into a patient’s mouth, meaning that there’s no need to worry about remembering to wear the braces.
On the downside, because braces are cemented in a patient’s mouth, your teenager will have to refrain from eating certain foods – namely, hard foods and sticky foods. Braces have the potential of breaking and these foods will only exacerbate that possibility.
One of the major differences between metal braces and Invisalign Teen is that Invisalign Teen offers a virtually discreet form of orthodontic treatment. Instead of highly visible brackets and wires, Invisalign Teen features clear aligners, making it a perfect choice for a teenager who’s worried about how he’ll look while wearing braces. In addition, because the aligners are removable, it makes cleaning as simple as ever and there’s no need to forgo certain foods. As long as they’re worn 22 hours a day, treatment will progress just as planned.
Invisalign Teen also features compliance indicators, a revolutionary new concept that lets you know whether your child is actually wearing the aligners as required. However, it doesn’t force the patient to wear the aligners the required amount – that decision is up to him. If you believe that your teenager may not have the desire to wear the aligners for 22 hours a day, it may not be the choice for him.
While it’s important to learn and understand the ins and outs of each orthodontic treatment, ultimately, the best thing you can do is bring your son into your local TriBeCa and Upper East Side orthodontist. We can help determine if one form of treatment is much more appropriate than the other while going over costs, treatment time, and other necessities that are unique to each patient.