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No more 'brace face' thanks to advances in orthodontics

Posted at 10:13 AM, Jan 16, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-16 10:14:05-05

Wearing braces as a child or teenager might seem like a rite of passage, but advances in orthodontics may be making the "brace face" a thing of the past.

When 17-year-old Tyler Glover decided to come Dr. Jared Corbridge for a straighter smile one thing was clear, Tyler wanted clear alignment.

Teenagers like Tyler, make up the fastest growing group using clear alignment for a straighter smile.

The American Association of Orthodontics says 4.3 million children and teens passed on the traditional wire braces for the clearer option in 2016.

Dr. Corbridge says, "Patients love it, they get to eat what they want visually, aesthetically it looks great and there's less discomfort."

He says for him, the clear alignment gives him more control.

3-D scans allow him to create trays based on where he wants the teeth to go.

Patients get a new tray every week, which could help with a potential downside to the process - trays that get lost or tossed out with lunch leftovers.

"The main barrier to teens doing invisalign is parents saying I don't trust my child," says Dr. Cobridge.

He adds that children have to stay on top of their oral hygiene to keep their mouth healthy as possible while the clear alignment works over a period of months.

It's a commitment Tyler's willing to make, "No one can really tell... Only my friends know I have them, people I talk to wouldn't look at my mouth and guess I have them."

The average cost of clear alignment is slightly more than wire braces.

There are clear aligners for children as young as 6, but some doctors reportedly feel that the jury is still out on whether they're the best option for children who still have baby teeth.