Should I Get Braces or Clear Aligners?

Should I Get Braces or Clear Aligners?

Traditional braces have been straightening teeth for many years, and they’re still a popular and effective treatment. But long gone are the days when metallic hardware was the only option available. 

Today, you can choose from an array of orthodontic appliance systems, including:

The choices can be overwhelming, which is why our team of experts at LM Orthodontics in McLean, Virginia, has compiled this brief guide to help you compare your options at a glance and decide which is best for you. 

How to choose between braces and clear aligners

Although you can choose from multiple orthodontic treatment systems, they all generally fall into two broad categories: braces and aligners. When it comes to straightening your teeth and correcting your bite, your personal preference plays a big role, but our orthodontic experts may guide your decision based on the types of corrections necessary. 

After your consultation with our team and a full exam, we let you know which treatment options will address your specific alignment issues so you can make a choice that will be both effective and suitable for your lifestyle.


With traditional braces, we adhere metal, plastic, or ceramic brackets to the surface of your teeth. Strong metal wires attach to the brackets to generate constant pressure and move your teeth toward the alignment goal. Rubber bands help align your jaw and guide your bite.

The pros of braces

Braces are a time-honored, proven treatment that have been effectively straightening teeth for many years with the following advantages:

The cons of braces

Even though braces are efficient and effective, they come with a few issues that may dissuade you.

Clear aligners

Clear aligners straighten teeth using a completely different approach than braces. Rather than attaching brackets to your teeth and creating tension with wires, clear aligners are plastic trays that snap over your teeth and gradually guide them into their new positions with progressive trays every two weeks. At LM Orthodontics, we offer two of the leading brands: 3M Clarity Aligners® and Invisalign®

The pros of clear aligners

Clear aligners have revolutionized the field of orthodontics. Here are a few of the reasons they’re so popular:

The cons of clear aligners

If it seems like clear aligners are far superior to braces, take a look at a few of their shortcomings.

Which is right for you?

Braces and clear aligners can both solve a wide range of mild-to-moderate problems, including overcrowding, overbite, and underbite, but braces are better for more severe issues. Clear aligners are perfect for you if you have a relatively minor misalignment problem, and you’re willing and able to commit to keeping them in place.

For children and young teens, braces may be a better option because they require less responsibility, but many of our young patients are more compliant than their adult counterparts, so base your decision on the unique personality and characteristics of your child.

To find out which orthodontic treatment we recommend for your teeth, schedule an appointment at LM Orthodontics today by calling or booking online. 

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