Invisalign versus Braces
Benefits of Looking Attractive
Invisible Braces or iBraces
Cosmetic Dentistry & Braces
Early Treatment for Children
Orthodontics for Adults
Braces - Pain & Broken Wires
Cost for Braces - Prices
Herbst Appliance & HeadGear
Orthodontists and Dentistry
Retreatment & Relapse
Orthodontic Retainers
Tooth Whitening & Bleaching
Dental Hygiene & Prevention
Sport Mouth Guards & Braces
Evidence Based Dentistry
Night Guard & Tooth Grinding
Braces, Cold Sores & Ulcers
Electric Toothbrushes -Yes/No
About Our Team & Dr. Supan
Friends of
Evidence Based Dentistry

Overview for -- Your Inside Guide to Braces, Invisalign, and More.

This site provides information about Braces and clear aligners including the popular Invisalign Appliances.  Many patients looking at getting Braces are faced with a Pandora's Box of questions ranging from costs, to what sort of Doctor should actually be  providing the orthodontic treatment. For Dermatology questions such as acne, skin care, and other issues, please also visit  and

So What are the Hot Topics Most Often Asked About in 2012?

Invisalign Appliances
Invisible Braces
Clear Braces
Invisalign Cost
Childrens Braces ; Childrens Treatment
Teenage Braces ; Teenage Treatment
Adult Braces ; Adult Treatment
Early Treatment ; Interceptive Treatment
Orthodontic Braces
Evidence Based Dentistry

Braces or Invisalign ? A Fabulous Smile by any Standard !

What a Beautiful Smile !  Smiles like this can be attained  with Braces, but sometimes traditional braces can be avoided by using Invisalign or other types of  clear style aligners. In addition,  invisible braces also known as inside braces, lingual braces,  or  " ibraces " can be used.

The Invisalign system is a series of clear aligners used to straighten teeth. The Invisalign aligners are made after the orthodontist takes impressions of your teeth and sends them to a lab.  The lab makes the Invisalign aligners custom made clear aligners especially for you using computerized technology.  After a couple of weeks the clear Invisalign aligners arrive at the office of your orthodontist and the first set of Invisalign aligners are tried on your teeth.

The Invisalign aligners are clear and are barely visible to others compared to metal orthodontic Braces with brackets and wires.  With the guidance of your orthodontist, you move to the next set of Invisalign aligners usually after about 3 weeks.  The number of Invisalign aligners will depend on the individual patient and the orthodontic problem.    The Invisalign aligners are generally fairly comfortable.  There can be some discomfort or mild Pain when a new Invisalign aligner is placed as it exerts pressure on the teeth to move them.  Unlike traditional metal orthodontic Braces, there are no brackets to come off or wires to break and poke.   

You may have seen ads for removable clear aligners ( such as Invisalign ).  You will need to discuss your situation with your Orthodontist to see if your smile can be corrected with Invisalign clear aligners.  If you do not want to wear traditional metal Braces, other options also include ceramic clear Braces or perhaps inside invisible Braces worn on the backs of the teeth so that they are essentially “invisible”.  

An upper Invisalign Appliance This is used as an Indexing Template for the placement of attachments when needed.

The model shows the Upper Invisalign Appliance fully seated in place and barely noticeable. The Lower Invisalign Appliance is intentionally pulled up a little to allow better visualization.

Close up view on the model of he Upper Invisalign Appliance fully seated in place.

There are some disadvantages of Invisalign to consider.  The disadvantages of Invisalign may include:

Not everyone is a candidate for Invisalign.  The Invisalign system is for adults  and cannot be used if baby teeth remain. Children and younger teenagers will require the more traditional orthodontic Braces with metal brackets and wires.

Also the Invisalign system is designed for only certain tooth movements.  Your Orthodontist will need to determine if you are a candidate for Invisalign or if you would be better treated with metal Braces or Clear Ceramic Braces.   Major tooth movements, skeletal discrepancies, and extensive crown and bridge treatment can influence whether Invisalign is the right choice for you. It may not be.

The cost of Invisalign can sometimes be significantly more than with metal Braces.  The computerized custom clear Invisalign Aligners will result in a lab bill for your orthodontist which is passed on to you in the form of your treatment fee. With traditional orthodontic Braces there is the cost of the brackets and wires, but no such lab bill for your Orthodontist to cover.  

The Invisalign Aligners are removable and require motivation to be worn consistently. You will need to decide if you have the self discipline to wear the Invisalign Aligners or if you would be better off with non-removable clear Ceramic Braces or Invisible Braces which are hidden on the back of your teeth.  

Since the Invisalign Aligners are removable they can  be misplaced. Lost Invisalign Aligners may result in an extra charge by your Orthodontist and may delay treatment until your new custom made Invisalign Aligners are replaced.   Traditional Braces allow for colors of elastics to be placed on the metal brackets.  Some people have fun choosing and changing their colors. For example they choose team colors for football games, or orange and black for Halloween.  Invisalign aligners do not involve such traditional colored elastics.  

Some patients may experience difficulty adjusting to the feel of the Invisalign Aligners in their mouth.  Before spending the cost of the Invisalign treatment, you should decide if you are a patient person who can give some time to adjusting to the new feel of the Invisalign Aligners on your teeth.   A few patients may experience some gum irritation with the Invisalign Aligners.  You should contact your Orthodontist to discuss the problem if you are having pain of your teeth or gums with Invisalign  

If you clean your Invisalign Aligners with denture cleaner be sure to discuss any allergies with your Orthodontist first.  According to the American Association of Orthodontists web site:  

“The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has received at least 73 reports of adverse events, including one death, related to the use of denture cleansers.  Allergic reactions and misuse of the denture cleansers are the leading causes of the adverse events.   Most denture cleansers include the ingredient persulfate, a known allergen.  Literature and research suggest persulfate is responsible for the reported allergic reactions.   In addition, the FDA has also received reports of severe adverse events, including at least one death, resulting from misuse of the product.  Some patients have gargled or swallowed their denture cleanser, which has resulted in abdominal pain, vomiting, seizures, hypotension and difficulty breathing.”

It should be noted that Invisalign specifically mentions that denture cleansers should not be used. They specify that certain appliance cleansers  ( which only they sell ) should be used. These Invisalign brand cleansers in and of themselves are relatively  expensive ( just under $ 100 USD) in comparison to traditional cleansers used  for orthodontic retainers and dentures.

In case the Invisalign should not work out for you, then  the other options to consider are Invisible Braces, sometimes  also called " iBraces  ", which are hidden Braces on the back of the teeth, or Clear Braces sometimes also called Ceramic Braces.   Of course, small metal Braces are also always available as well.

Happy Invisalign Patient

It is important to read and think critically.  Just as one would not necessarily accept and believe everything seen on a television commercial,  one needs to be careful about the claims and information about Braces and Invisalign available at many websites as well.

Just a  quick word about all these websites devoted to Braces, Invisalign, and Orthodontic treatment.  

Websites are designed for different purposes. Some provide entertainment such as gaming, while others allow you to buy or sell things. The purpose for is to educate and provide clear, unbiased, uncensored information. With so much available on the internet, it is important to critically read and think about all that information. Finding and establishing the facts may not be as easy as you think.  


It seems that "Facts" about Braces are available in many different styles and flavors.

In 1964 Marshall McLuhan wrote:   " Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man " and coined the now famous phrase "The medium is the message."  Internet websites are now the ultimate medium, but McLuhan's message  from 1964 is still true.   To explain the point, he used the example of a light bulb and compared it to a television or a newspaper. A TV has content, as does a magazine or newspaper, but a light bulb is a medium with no content.  Nevertheless, it can light up the night, changing an environment so that people can now see things which previously were invisible in complete darkness. A light bulb can create a new environment just by its presence. Moreover, the type of  light bulb, or medium, can affect how we see and perceive  things.  A high power light bulb may allow you to see far more than a weaker one. A white bulb will show a red flower to be  red, where as a red light bulb will make a red flower appear very differently. 

And so it is with internet webpages.  I have listed  Ten Key Factors which I hope will help you when browsing health care related web sites which focus on Orthodontic care, including braces and Invisalign.    

Don't be guilty of  "MacThinking", and no I am not referring to the Apple MacIntosh.

1.      Does a Braces or Orthodontic Manufacturer own or run the Website ?    

Is it a company which is reviewing or describing its own products?  For example, it should not be a surprise if just about everything you read about "ABC Orthodontic Braces" on their own  company website is positive. Companies are in business to sell products and make money, and their focused approach is understandable.  If one searches Google for the term " Braces " many of the top ranking web pages turn out to be slick corporate sponsored productions. The consumer therefore may or may not be receiving truthful and unbiased information. Be aware of this and understand the limitations and scope of the information you are getting. 

 2.      Is the Website there just to make Money ?  

I have seen websites with moderate amounts of information on Braces but laced with intense advertising. Links require one to sit through a short pop up advertisement before getting to the targeted material. Such sites often are not run by companies or doctors, but by entrepeneurs, and the information may be old and dated, and not cutting edge.

3.      Is this a Doctor's Personal Website ?  

This may or may not be a good thing. On certain search engines such as Google or Yahoo, if one types in a keyword such as Braces or Invisalign, sponsored links will come up. Doctors will often pay Google for example to place their "advertisement website" at the top under the "sponsored category". Such websites often have the primary mission of driving patients to a doctor's office.  While there is nothing wrong with this, the information presented is often simply cut and paste generic information developed for the doctor by website developers. Others may simply link to an Orthodontic Manufacturer's website. Some doctors' websites use cut and paste information simply supplied by Mega Orthodontic Company A or Mega Orthodontic Company B.  Many other such websites feature generic clinical pictures of smiling children, and a website for a doctor in Los Angeles may end up sharing the same pictures as another website for a doctor in New York. 

 4.      Who is the Doctor and what is he/she trying to say or do ?  

In the Orthodontic industry, many companies use  ( and pay or reimburse ) doctors for being spokespersons for their Braces and other  products.  This is similar to Tiger Woods promoting  Nike sporting goods. There is nothing wrong with this, but understand where the person is coming from. A doctor who gives raving testimonials about a certain type or brand of Braces but he or she  may not have an unbiased point of  view.  That doctor may in fact be receiving endorsement money from a manufacturer to lecture on these products or promote their virtues on their own website.  

5.      Who is the Doctor and what are their Qualifications ?  

When it comes to offering Orthodontic treatment, not all doctors are the same. For the General Dentists offering Orthodontics, some have pursued additional coursework, and attained fellowships in such organizations as the Academy of General Dentistry.  Other General Dentists, because they are legally permitted to perform orthodontics,   also offer orthodontic services without necessarily having the experience and depth of clinical training of other more widely trained General Dentists or Orthodontic Specialists ( Orthodontists ).  The websites may or may not clearly spell out how well trained the doctor is, and additional questions may be helpful. Does the website  clearly spell out whether the Doctor is a General Dentist or an Orthodontic Specialist (Orthodontist) ?  Be cautious. Dentistry in 2008 is now very complex, and no one doctor, specialist or generalist, is able to know and do it all. Draw your own conclusions about the hype and overstatement of  many of these supposed  " Super-Doctors".

6.      Clinical Data and Testimonials.  

It has been said that the Devil can quote Scripture for his own purposes. Moreover, saying so does not necessarily make it so. If a product is " Doctor Recommended ",  just what does that mean ? Research involving human subjects is very difficult and often involves  limited  numbers of trial subjects. A "finding" may not be statistically significant, although clinical versus statistical significance is an area that can also be endlessly discussed.  

7.      Does the Product, Service, or Treatment Apply to Me ?  

Be careful that in the heat of marketing that you are not being sold something that you do not need, or which may not be effective in treating your condition. Orthodontic related appliances such as those to treat sleep apnea, snoring, TMJ symptoms, headaches, and more may or may not be effective.  Surgical or other more profound medical intervention may be needed. Invisalign, for example,  may be an excellent choice for some Orthodontic patients, but not for others.  

8.      Are you being "Oversold" or experiencing " Bait and Switch " ?  

Yes, American television and media advertising have promoted BMW automobiles as "The Ultimate Driving Machine", but do you really need a BMW ? If you live in the city you may not need a car at all. Clear braces or Invisalign may sound great, but other Orthodontic alternatives may in fact be more appropriate for your particular situation. In many  circumstances Orthodontic treatment likely is the most desirable solution for an "Orthodontic problem" . However, some websites would have you believe that cosmetic dentistry  which they call " Instant Orthodontics" to "fill the gaps and correct the crowding" with cosmetic dentistry is the best solution. This instant solution may come at the grave expense of having to reduce the size and shaper of teeth by drilling and grinding into sound healthy tooth enamel. Carefully analyze the pros and cons. 

9.      Are you looking for a General Dentist or an Orthodontist ?

Don't be Misguided.   Many people use websites to locate a General Dentist or dental specialist (Orthodontist). Understand that many doctors pay not so small sums of money to place themselves highly on the sponsored sections of  certain internet website search engines.   All Orthodontists are dentists. Not all dentists are Orthodontists. All Dermatologists are physicians for example, but not all physicians are Dermatologists. The choice of where you want to obtain your skin care or orthodontic care is up to you.  You can choose to go to a General Practitioner or a Specialist. The important thing is that you know the difference and what you are getting.

10.    Information Changes Quickly and so should a Website.  

" Never before has the future so rapidly become the past"  --   Arnold Glasgow