Dentistry is constantly evolving and creating new treatment methods to increase the quality of life and enhance patient care. One dental advancement that is growing in popularity is the use of clear aligners. Patients no longer have to settle for braces as their only solution for teeth realignment. Since clear aligners appear to be nearly invisible, it makes sense why the market is progressively expanding. Clear aligners are not only growing in popularity among adults but also for teens. According to the American Association of Orthodontists, patients age 12 to 17 represent more than half of the over two million orthodontic cases in the U.S. each year.
Although aligners were initially marketed towards adults, it didn’t take long for manufacturers to understand that most teens despise the term “brace face.” Clear aligners provide a see-through solution for an appearance-conscious age group. Within the last two years, manufacturers have reported that the volume of teen and tween patients grew faster than adults In 2018, the number of patients with clear aligners rose by 24.2% in North America and 45% internationally. With the school year recently kicking off, some dental offices may be performing back-to-school checkups and exams within the coming weeks. As younger patients are increasingly considering clear aligners, orthodontic offices should be prepared and equipped for this growing trend.
There are many factors patients and professionals will have to consider when choosing metal brackets or clear aligners. Here are a few pros and cons to consider:
|Pros for Clear Aligners
||Cons for Clear Aligners
||Requires more day-to-day maintenance by the patient
|Easily removable for eating/drinking
||Less suitable for complex orthodontic cases
|More comfortable to wear than braces
||More expensive than braces for less serious cases
|Patients can maintain good hygiene easier than braces
||Patients not exempt from tooth discomfort
||Patients can delay treatment due to negligence
Although treatment options are ultimately decided by an oral health professional, it is still remarkable to see how fast dental trends can grow. Clear aligners may not be suitable for all cases, but this invention is revolutionizing orthodontic care.
To help meet the ongoing needs of orthodontic offices, the latest update of Carestream Dental’s CS OrthoTrac software includes new and improved Aligner Tray Management. As more patients elect aligners for orthodontic treatment, the Universal Aligner Tracking tool now allows doctors to successfully track treatment for patients who require up to 80 aligners, regardless of brand or if made in-house. Essentially, more aligner tray management means greater productivity and quicker release time for patients. For more information regarding CS OrthoTrac or the latest version 15 updates, click here.
 Harris, J. W. (2019, Jan 8). No more brace face? Teens increasingly use clear aligners. New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/08/well /family/no-more-brace-face-teens-increasingly-use-clear-aligners.html
 Rabinovich, M. (2019, May 2). Clear aligners versus brackets in adult orthodontics. Dentistry Today. Retrieved from https://www.dentistrytoday.com/news/todays-dental-news/item/4750-clear-aligners-versus-brackets-in-adult-orthodontics