Adolescent Treatment - Braces Are Still Best

The gold standard for starting comprehensive orthodontic treatment (full braces) is when all the permanent teeth are fully erupted (12-13 years old). The best way to fix smiles and bites is still braces. This 24-month system is the only system that can straighten both the teeth and the roots. Straightening the roots creates a stable result with less likelihood of the teeth returning to their original positions. Clear aligners do not straighten roots. Therefore, Dr. Cardot does not recommend clear aligners for comprehensive orthodontic treatment.

Along with braces, there are several new methods of trying to speed up tooth movement. These include making cuts in bones, shining laser lights on the gums, and even vibrating teeth for 20 minutes a day with a special vibration device that patients hold in their mouths. The current literature states that these methods do not work. Therefore, Dr. Cardot does not recommend these new methods.

There are also several companies that promote new products (clear aligners) that claim to replace braces. Other companies have special braces that claim to reduce the amount of time (6 months) in braces. The primary aim of these companies is to keep shareholders happy with a healthy bottom line. To sell their products they, of course, advertise. The current advertising approach is to convince general dentists and consumers (do-it-yourself clear aligners) that it is easy to use their products. Dr. Cardot does not recommend these products because they produce short-term, unstable results, are supported by myths and not by scientific evidence, or are provided by people with minimal training. 

*O'Brien, Kevin. Kevin O'Brien Orthodontic Blog.