Braces, Aligners, and Retainers

When most people think of orthodontics, they think about a beautiful smile with straight teeth. But straight teeth are important for many reasons—a healthy bite that properly aligns the upper and lower teeth can make chewing, biting, and speaking easier. 

Who Might Need Orthodontic Treatment?

While orthodontic treatment has long been a popular option for kids and teens, orthodontists now regularly help people of any age correct bite issues and smile with confidence.

Orthodontic treatment might be an option if your teeth:

  • Are crowded together
  • Protrude at odd angles
  • Are spaced too far apart
  • Meet uncomfortably when you bite, or fail to meet correctly
  • Are otherwise misaligned

Our orthodontists can give you a thorough evaluation and tell you what orthodontic treatment might be the best option for you, based on your goals.

What Are the Types of Devices or Treatments?

Traditional Braces

Braces are metal wires and brackets that are cemented to your teeth. The wires apply a gentle force that moves your teeth over time. Your orthodontist will monitor your progress and make adjustments over the course of your treatment—typically, you'll need to be seen about once a month.

You may need to avoid some foods to ensure that your braces aren't damaged or misaligned. Your dentist will teach you how to safely clean your braces—they require regular cleaning, so it's important that you follow these instructions.

Braces are often a good option for kids and teens, since they might be tempted to remove less permanent options like aligners. Consistency is key for moving teeth to their correct positions.

Aligners (Invisalign)

Aligners like the popular Invisalign are a newer, more flexible form of orthodontic treatment. A series of clear, removable trays are formed to fit over your teeth. Each aligner is worn for a few weeks, gently moving your teeth a small amount over time. 

The typical length of treatment with aligners is shorter than with traditional braces and requires fewer visits to the orthodontist. 

Aligners like Invisalign are designed to be almost invisible when worn, and patients can even remove them for short periods of time. Aligners must be taken out for meals and when brushing or flossing. 

Because they are less visible than traditional braces, aligners can be a great choice for adults who are worried about their professional appearance. Depending on the severity of the misaligned teeth, aligners may not be an option for everyone.


Retainers help keep your teeth in place and prevent them from moving back to their original positions. Wearing retainers as instructed is essential to maintaining the success of your orthodontic treatment. 

Retainers must be worn continuously for at least six months after orthodontic treatment; afterward, you may need to wear your retainer only at night. 

Your retainer should always be kept in its special case when not in use.

How Do I Choose Which Option Is Right for Me or My Child?

The best option for you or your child will depend on a number of factors. For example, not all conditions can be treated with aligners and not all adults are comfortable with wearing braces. You should discuss your options with your dentist to see what treatment plan will yield the best results for you or your child.

Why Choose ColumbiaDoctors Dentistry?

At ColumbiaDoctors Dentistry, we're dedicated to improving both your smile and your overall oral health. We offer a full range of state-of-the-art treatments for kids and adults, including traditional braces, aligners, and retainers. With ColumbiaDoctors Dentistry locations throughout Manhattan, you'll be able to find an orthodontist near you.

During your initial visit, you or your child will receive a comprehensive evaluation and we'll answer all of your questions and help you choose the best option for you. Our goal is to help you or your child get the beautiful smile you deserve.