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Maybe you have seen advertisements or stores that offer new generation clear aligner treatments. If you and your loved ones are interested in the clear aligner treatment, this article should be a must-read.

These new clear aligner treatments (e.g. SmileDirect and CandidCo), unlike the Invisalign or Clear Correct, allow patients to get the aligners without having to go to an orthodontist or a dentist.

This proven technology is more readily available than ever before, and of course, we all want our treatments to be done at our convenience. With our fast-paced, efficient oriented society, these newer aligner treatment concepts are extremely attractive.

So let’s discuss what the advantages and disadvantages are.


The difference between clear aligners and braces


- The impression kits for aligners are delivered to one’s home address. Another option is to go to a store to have a digital impression made.

Less expensive than traditional orthodontic treatment, including Invisalign

- They are typically just under $2000 in NY area whereas the Invisalign and braces are about three to 4 times more expensive. However, we cannot simply state they are all the same therapies. Every case should be.

Ability to take the aligners out during eating and clean them

- They are removable during eating, drinking other than water and during brushing. Compare to traditional braces, the hygienic routine is easier

No metal showing through as traditional braces.

- There are no metal brackets – thus they are more aesthetic and comfortable. Metal braces are bulky while these clear aligners look more natural.

Proven technology

- The clear aligner technology works in many cases, but not 100% of the orthodontic cases, according to Dr. Oh.


Missing Other Dental Diagnosis if one doesn’t have a dentist

- Using this type of aligner services without a proper dental exam (including x-rays) or treatment could cause you to miss any diagnosis of decay and gum disease. Wearing aligners tend to keep plaque longer on the teeth and gums.

“There is significantly more tartar and stain build up in aligner patients when they come in for a routine cleaning and check-up”, according to Dr. Stella Oh.

Dr. Oh states that going to see a dentist for checkup and cleaning is essential if one decides to do these clear aligner therapy.

Not all misaligned teeth can be treated

- Some cases cannot be treated by these aligners services. More advanced cases may need further attention and must be treated by an orthodontist.

The difficulty of monitoring especially if pathology present

- Unlike traditional orthodontic therapy, close attention to overall dental health and movement may not be monitored. This can become a serious problem if one has multiple untreated caries or gum disease.

With clear aligners, the existing dental decay and gum disease can get worse all of sudden(especially without any dental treatment). Loss of tooth structure or gum disease may cause more problems and unpredictable outcome of aligners.

The absence of a dentist in the treatment room with the patient limits the treatment options

Traditional dentist-supervised clear aligner orthodontics like Invisalign typically involves adding composite resin attachments to the teeth to help the aligners shift the teeth.

If the teeth are crowded, there is a procedure to microscopically “sand” in between the teeth to create more room without causing any long term problems to the healthy teeth. That process is called Inter-proximal reduction or IPR and cannot be done without a licensed dentist.

Crowding is one of the most common complaints that lead to orthodontics – and it’s exceedingly hard to treat without IPR or in severe cases, extracting a good tooth, to create enough room to straighten the others. What results can you expect if you try and treat crowding without IPR or extraction? Sub-optimal.


We suggest that you should always have a regular dental checkup and cleaning before considering treatments through these new aligner companies such as SmileDirect and CandidCo.

If there are cavities and filling or crown has to be done, Dr. Stella Oh suggest that those should be done before the impressions are made. Therefore the aligners would fit better and have a better, healthier outcome.

If you have any questions and would like to make an appointment, please contact us.

You also might want to learn more about Invisalign’s Pros and Cons too!

Dr. Stella Oh Dr. Stella Oh is a highly accomplished surgically trained prosthodontist who practices at Madison Avenue Dentists, PC. Dr. Oh provides all levels of dentistry, from routine care to full mouth reconstructions involving dental implant surgeries. She has completed her Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from NYU College of Dentistry and further finished a 3-year prosthodontic residency and 2-year Dental Implant Surgical Fellowship. Furthermore, she has taught at NYU College of Dentistry for numerous years while maintaining a private practice. "Learning should never stop" according to Dr. Oh, "and educating patients about dental care is important." Dr. Oh continuously researches new science and technology in dentistry to improve patient care and the successful outcome of her treatments. She implements a cutting edge scientific approach with an integrative concept in mind. "Mouth is not a separate part of one's body," says Dr. Oh, "but it should consider as an important part of overall health."

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