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When considering braces, you may be weighing the pros and cons of traditional braces and the clear “aligners” available by mail order. At face value, clear Mail Order Aligners may sound like the less expensive way to go. But a closer look at your choices may get you thinking that getting the right orthodontic treatment, delivered by a qualified orthodontic professional, an Orthodontist, is what you really need to attain a beautiful, straight smile in the long run.

The process of getting traditional braces starts with clearance by a general dentist, who checks for cavities and any gum issues, and then a consultation and evaluation by a trained orthodontist. The orthodontist will determine any teeth straightening challenges you may have, estimate the length of time you’ll need to reach your goal, and develop a treatment plan. They will take impressions of your upper and lower teeth to make a working model, which will serve as a guide for the placement of traditional braces. Orthodontists have two to three years of additional training in an Orthodontic residency program, which makes them the most qualified person to evaluate and deliver Orthodontic Care face to face with the patient.

The fact is, traditional braces aren’t so traditional anymore. Besides the commonplace metal braces our parents may have worn, braces are now available in gold brackets and are much more compact than traditional braces. Clear brackets are another option; they appear to blend into the surrounding teeth, giving a very subtle appearance. All traditional braces are securely attached so that they will constantly guide your teeth into their proper alignment throughout your treatment.

Any way you decide, traditional braces have a high probability of delivering the smile you want, treat a wide range of teeth straightening complications, and are under direct supervision of a trained orthodontist at every step of the process. The orthodontist checks progress during your visits on a regular basis (every 4-6 weeks) and makes any adjustments as needed.

Mail Order Aligners, on the other hand, are very limited in the results they produce. They aren’t appropriate for everyone and can only a treat a few very basic cases. Patients must take their own impressions, allow them to harden, and then mail them to the aligner company. There are no in-office visits; in fact, there is very little, if any, supervision of your treatment by a Board-certified orthodontist. Contact is “virtual” on an as-needed basis by staff with varying degrees of experience. If aligners are lost, precious treatment time is interrupted while waiting for replacements, which can add additional costs and negatively affect the outcome of treatment.

Before considering Mail Order Aligners, it’s important to meet with an expert first. Orthodontic consultations with a Board Certified or Board Eligible Orthodontist at Western Dental and Brident are free, so it doesn’t hurt to make an appointment to get all the facts.

And, when you consider that every Western Dental and Brident office is a complete “dental home” that includes hygiene, periodontics, general dentistry and a comprehensive range of dental specialties, you just may decide that starting your teeth-straightening journey there will be the best investment you can make for a lifetime of smiles.

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