Traditional Braces

Orthodontics is a field of dentistry that deals with corrections involving jaws and teeth alignment. Research has shown that functional appliances can be very effective in improving the functional and skeletal problems when utilized in the mixed dentition in growing patients. The utilization of these appliances can also help develop the dental arches and thus reduce the necessity for extraction of permanent teeth. Dr. Sunderland feels that the use of functional appliances in the mixed dentition, followed often by fixed appliances( braces), may prevent or eliminated many orthodontic problems.

Braces employ the use of brackets and wires that attach directly onto the teeth to supply the necessary forces to move the teeth and bones into the proper alignment.

Functional appliances help correct the bone problems, while the tooth problems are corrected with the orthodontic braces. The appliances can be removable or fixed, and have the greatest effect on changing the skeletal malformations during the peak pubertal growth phase. Careful monitoring of your child’s development will determine if orthodontic treatment is necessary and the optimal time to begin treatment.


The perceived negative aesthetic impact of the 'metalwork look' of traditional braces on a patient's smile is one of the leading concerns about wearing metal braces. Invisalign® offers an alternative way to straighten your teeth using a nearly-invisible system of aligners that straighten teeth quickly, and does not contain any metal whatsoever.

An Invisalign® treatment consists of a series of removable, custom aligning trays that apply gentle pressure to the teeth and gradually align the teeth into the correct position. The average treatment time can be 12 to 18 months and can be used for a wide range of malocclusions. A very convenient feature of Invisalign® trays are the ability to temporarily remove them for particular occasions, such as weddings, graduations, photo shoots, giving the patient a greater control over the duration of overall treatment. The majority of patients using Invisalign® aligners express total satisfaction with the treatment process, the reduced visual appearance of the aligners, and the end results on their smile.

Invisalign® can correct numerous common bite problems

Invisalign® aligners have a clear advantage over traditional metallic braces, as they provide the same results, correct the same dental problems, yet are nearly invisible, and furthermore, can be removed at will.

The following is a list of several common issues than can be corrected with Invisalign® aligners:

  • Overcrowding – Occurring when there is too little space for the teeth to normally align in the patient's mouth. Overcrowding can increase the likelihood of gingivitis, and is an issue that can cause tooth decay.
  • Large gaps between teeth – Often occurs when teeth are missing, or when a patient's jaw continues to grow abnormally.
  • Crossbite – A common dental problem, occurring when one, or multiple upper teeth bite inside the lower teeth. Consequently, uneven wear can lead to bone erosion and can even lead to gingivitis (gum disease).
  • Overbite – Occurring when a patient's upper teeth project further than, or completely cover, their lower teeth. Jaw pain and TMJ may eventually occur.
  • Underbite – The inverse of the overbite, in this case the lower teeth project further than, or completely cover, the patient's upper teeth. As in the overbite, jaw pain and TMJ can eventually occur.

Invisalign® advantages over metal braces

In general, there are three primary options for optimum tooth alignment. These are conventional metallic braces, dental veneers, and Invisalign clear aligning trays.

To highlight the main differences, Invisalign has a key difference from metal braces in that Invisalign trays are fully removable at any time by the patient. While this provides additional freedom for the patient, this also requires the patient to be disciplined in his or her treatment routine, and stick to the time guidelines for wearing the trays. Fortunately, Invisalign trays are very comfortable to wear, providing minimal disturbance to their daily lives. The end results of using either traditional metal braces, or Inviaslign, are virtually identical.

The Invisalign® treatment process

The treatment process for Invisalign consists of an initial treatment phase, followed by creating a unique set of aligners for the patient.

For in the initial treatment, your dentist will take 3D images of the patient's jaw. As a result, the 3D images give the dentist the ability to manipulate the existing image, moving individual teeth to help plan the treatment, to project what the tooth alignment will look like in the future, and view the entire jaw from multiple angles.

Once completed, the dentist then creates a set of clear aligners tailored specifically to the individual. In most cases between twenty and thirty aligners are created.

Additional notes on Invisalign®

Wearing your Invisalign trays often begins with a minor adjustment or adaptation phase. It is required for the patient to wear their Invisalign trays at all times, with the exception of meal times and consuming liquids. This exception is crucial, as foodstuffs and can become lodged in between the aligning tray and the teeth, which can lead to tooth decay if undetected.

Patients can expect to require updating their trays every 2 weeks, throughout the duration of their treatment. Patients should be able to visually confirm progress with their own eyes after each tray is completed. For additional information about Invisalign, feel free to contact our office.