Answering Common Questions About Standard Braces and Clear Removable Aligners

When parents believe a child needs orthodontic treatment, they may schedule an appointment on their own, but usually they are referred by the family dentist or pediatric dental practitioner. Some parents are already bringing the child to a practice such as Tioga Dental & Orthodontics, represented at the website If so, there is no need to go anywhere else, since this type of clinic offers both general and orthodontic dental care. The child’s medical history and dental records are already on file, making the situation convenient. X-rays have probably already been taken so the orthodontist can review the dental structure in detail and create a plan of action.

Adults and responsible teenagers may be candidates for clear removable aligners that move crooked teeth into better placement or that move teeth to fill gaps between them. Orthodontists generally recommend that younger patients wear standard braces instead and then continue wearing a retainer at night after the braces are removed. Standard braces typically are worn for one or two years, although children with significant bite problems may need to have the braces longer.

Why do orthodontists prefer children to wear the non-removable metal brackets and bands instead of removable aligners? One main reason is that kids are more likely to leave the aligners out. They may not like the way the devices feel when they’re trying to sleep, for example. The less time someone wears these devices each day, the longer it will take for the desired effects to be achieved. In addition, standard braces are better for resolving complicated problems and for gradually moving the back teeth.

After the orthodontic treatment has achieved the desired goal, the retainer should be worn for a minimum of a year, although orthodontists strongly recommend wearing it for a much longer time frame than that. Without the retainer, teeth may gradually start to shift out of alignment once more. Adults who have worn aligners to straighten their teeth also should continue wearing the retainer while sleeping. All patients may want to obtain a new retainer on occasion as recommended by the family dentist and consider it part of a lifetime’s dental care.