Which Is Better, Braces or Aligners?

Compare braces and clear aligners as part of your orthodontic treatment considerations.

Once you decide to start Orthodontic Treatment, it is like Rock ‘n Roll; once you hear it, you want music. Braces and Clear aligners might defy your previous conceptions about orthodontics; once you see your teeth getting aligned, you’ll want your braces or aligners to work even more quickly. In fact, we bet most patients get so excited they have no trouble complying with all recommendations, even regarding dietary restrictions. Can you believe it?

But far from this atypical comparison, orthodontic treatment is pretty important for many reasons:

  • It helps prevent unwanted teeth wearing that could end up in cracks and potentially lose dental pieces.
  • Food residues accumulate between crooked teeth, as entrenched spaces make brushing and flossing challenging. These difficulties might result in tooth decay, cavities, or gum disease.
  • Bite dysfunctionality from jaw displacements might produce headaches and other problems, including speech problems like slurring or whistling from crossbites and underbites.
  • Other overall health problems derived from misaligned teeth include sleep apnea, gastrointestinal problems from improper mastication, and poor nutrient absorption from non-optimal chewing cycles to produce bolus.
  • From a financial perspective, these problems might require costly oral health corrective treatment.

So, with this brief introduction, we have the certainty you now know orthodontic treatment is imperative. Now, it is time to get an orthodontic treatment plan and start with it.

What Is Orthodontic Treatment Planning?

Google Orthodontist Near Me, and on your first orthodontic visit, Dr. Leemin will evaluate your oral structure, which includes identifying teeth misalignments, jaw displacements, and their relation with the symmetry of your craniofacial structure to define the malocclusion severity, level, and treatment scope.

Dr. Leemin is an American Board of Orthodontics – ABO certified orthodontic specialist that has thousand of experience hours that enables her immediately identify a malocclusion type and define a corrective procedure that involves recommending orthodontic braces or clear aligners.

Professional planning includes a course of action that allows Dr. Leemin to make a customized strategy to approximate a treatment length and post-treatment considerations. A huge deal of an orthodontic treatment strategy has to do with defining the malocclusion and its severity which will allow Dr. Leemin to make the most optimum recommendation for action and the type of orthodontic appliances required for your case.

What Are the Types of Orthodontic Braces?

It is now time to choose between braces and clear aligners. But before we do so, let’s dig in a bit more into what each system entails with an overview of its main characteristics.

Traditional Metal Braces

Can you believe orthodontists used to wrap teeth in metal bands and attach brackets to them? Well, that was before the seventies. Orthodontic treatment at the time was lengthy and painful, and discreteness wasn’t a strength either.

The good news is braces evolved to having NASA Research and Development materials like NiTi memory metal wires with high flexibility. It now includes brackets that are smaller and have fewer nooks and crannies, reducing food particle accumulation compared with their older counterparts that, in addition, exerted less traction and were less efficient.

However, the most remarkable advantage is that trained orthodontists recommend traditional metal braces for severe malocclusion cases. And still, traditional braces’ conspicuousness is a weighty factor in the patient’s mind. But rest assured, Dr. Leemin will work you through the best option that balances both worlds.

Clear Ceramic Braces

One of the most distinguishable demands of patients is having an orthodontic system that is less noticeable. In contrast to traditional braces, monocrystalline (transparent) and polycrystalline oxide (translucent), both ceramic options compose clear braces.

What are the benefits? Dr. Leemin evaluates your teeth’ shade of braces and helps you choose the perfect blend. Indeed ceramics composite is a formidable option for patients looking for a discrete option to conventional braces made of steel. However, ceramic braces are not as sturdy as metal braces and are more susceptible to breaking easier, which could affect treatment length.

Lingual Braces

What could be better than getting your teeth straight and having nothing to show, not even clear braces, in your mouth? Lingual braces do that work and do it well. These metallic braces have the same advantages as traditional braces, but the trick is they are cemented to the back of your teeth.

The persons that conceived this idea first introduced it in 1975. Craven Kurz and Jim Mulick from UCLA, just a few years after the first use of zinc polycarboxylate in 1968, the first composite to bond braces to teeth.

Almost five decades later, lingual braces evolved in their components, force distribution, and efficiency. However, lingual braces require practicing a quite meticulous dental hygiene ritual that is even more detailed than that of traditional braces because of its difficult access for brushes and complicated flossing routine.

What Are the Types of Clear Aligners?

During the nineties, a breakthrough revolution in orthodontics paved the road for a more comfy solution with fewer restrictions for getting teeth straight. A brilliant idea developed by an orthodontic patient consisted of using a 3D map of the active orthodontic phase and using sets of the retaining phase to align teeth by stages. The results were what we know today as Invisalign.

Invisalign is a worldwide renowned brand system of clear aligners that provide exceptional benefits for patients with malocclusion. After Invisalign, a few companies used some of their concepts with some twists, like offering self-taken images and in-mail clear aligners for patients.

So, the clear aligners market can be split into two main categories. In Office and In Mail Clear Aligners. Let’s analyze its characteristics as follows:

In-Office Clear Aligners

Invisalign is the leader of the Clear Aligners market, characterized by offering a system with something we described in the first lines of this article: Planned Orthodontics. A customized plan includes structuring a treatment time frame with control follow-ups that enables the professional to make adjustments to obtain optimal results.

Professional controls are essential to avoid delays and prevent some deviations from the final objective. For Instance, not all patients react the same to therapy or treatment. Sometimes, the periodontal ligament below the tooth might move slower than expected, and the professional might need to make little adjustments to get a beautiful smile.

The Invisalign system includes technological advancements like intraoral scanning with the iTero intraoral scan. This non-invasive 3D imagery device allows the orthodontist to have a precise model of the patient’s mouth. Furthermore, Itero is accompanied by ClinCheck, a software that enables the practitioner to project a result after treatment completion.

In-Mail Clear Aligners

If you accompanied us through this interesting and educating article, you might have noticed orthodontics evolved from “traumatic” and less efficient forms of straightening teeth to offering many plausible advantages like efficiency, discreteness, and comfort.

However, in the journey of trying to make things easier and less pricy for patients, some companies started offering in-mail clear aligners that include a format called “teledentistry” and send patients a package that allows them to take their own impressions.

Moving teeth is a serious matter, which is why orthodontists spend almost eleven years learning about the biomechanical processes to move teeth safer and understand the correct tolerances of the human body to strain.

An exhaustive evaluation and planning, along with criterion controls, guarantee patients they won’t suffer a fracture, a lesson of the ligaments, an ineffective treatment with an unperfect occlusion, and even losing one or more dental pieces.

With this, an intense debate arose that included a posture from the American Dental Association – ADA and the American Board of Orthodontists about these systems’ suitability for patients. But, to summarize, a final assertion for patients is that in-mail clear alignments systems do not involve a dentist or an orthodontist and are not safe for use by patients.

Advantages of Clear Aligners

In addition, we include some of the most salient advantages of Invisalign Clear Aligners:


Invisalign provides exceptional traction that allows faster and safer teeth displacements. In some mild cases, treatment might be as short as six months.

Furthermore, to reach high levels of efficiency, professional controls are indispensable to attain a beautiful smile.


Invisalign clear thermoplastic trays include SmarTrack technology that offers high transparency and discreteness.


Clear aligners are detachable. This enables patients to remove the trays before eating and drinking and practice their normal oral hygiene routine.

Patients wearing Invisalign have to keep a few easy-to-follow indications to maintain their appliances free of bacteria and pathogens.


Another advantage of SmartTrack materials composite is the snug adaptation to the dental arches and polished profiles that perfectly match the gummy line and exerting gentle pressure on your teeth.

Which Is Better, Braces or Aligners?

Based on the advantages/disadvantages of trade-offs like braces (for treating severe malocclusion) and Invisalign (over in-mail clear aligners) and the sum of its benefits. At Hillsdale Ortho Portland, our final verdict is that traditional metal braces and Invisalign are advantageous based on the plan and orthodontic priorities of patients.

So, if you want to initiate this journey full of plans and strategies, and you are asking where are the best Orthodontic Offices Near Me, check here and schedule an appointment at Hillsdale Orthodontics. Dr. Leemin will guide you through the best alternatives that suit your malocclusion needs so that you can get a planned, beautiful smile.


Picture of Dr. Alix J. Leemin DMD, MS

Dr. Alix J. Leemin DMD, MS

As a nutty overachiever, Dr. Leemin never lost sight of her childhood dreams of becoming a smartypants orthodontist. After graduating from Stanford University with a Bachelor of Arts with Honors, she embarked on her career in dentistry at the University of Pennsylvania, where she graduated #1 in her class. Feeling just a little too ambitious, she then completed 2.5 years of additional training at OHSU to become an orthodontic specialist.

Stanford University – Bachelor of Arts with Honors
Univ. of Pennsylvania – Doctor of Dental Medicine
Oregon Health & Science Univ. – Master of Science
Oregon Health & Science Univ. – Certificate in Orthodontics

Picture of Dr. Alix J. Leemin DMD, MS

Dr. Alix J. Leemin DMD, MS

As a nutty overachiever, Dr. Leemin never lost sight of her childhood dreams of becoming a smartypants orthodontist. After graduating from Stanford University with a Bachelor of Arts with Honors, she embarked on her career in dentistry at the University of Pennsylvania, where she graduated #1 in her class. Feeling just a little too ambitious, she then completed 2.5 years of additional training at OHSU to become an orthodontic specialist.

Stanford University
Bachelor of Arts with Honors
Univ. of Pennsylvania
Doctor of Dental Medicine
Oregon Health & Science Univ.
Master of Science
Oregon Health & Science Univ.
Certificate in Orthodontics

We’re not going far, but we’re SO excited to expand our office into a bigger, better space this June!

Closed June 13th-20th
Reopening June 24th
New address: 1501 SW Sunset Blvd. Portland, OR 97239

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