Self-improvement is always a hot topic, and teeth-straightening is one health-related trend getting stoked by opposing forces. On one side are sellers of plastic aligners pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into consumer advertising pitching the convenience of DIY therapy. On the other side are members of the orthodontic industry touting the importance of a doctor-supervised route to a new, beautiful smile. In the middle are consumers with a growing awareness of the personal, social and economic benefits of straight teeth, who know there’s more to a healthy smile. What’s really at stake?

Orthodontists have legitimate reasons for stressing the health benefits of straight teeth beyond their own reputations as clinicians. Poorly aligned or crooked teeth lead to a host of very real health issues, from heart disease to low self-esteem. A straight, healthy bite is a great beginning to a holistic approach to overall good health. A great deal can be said about looking your best, too.

“As an orthodontist, the first thing we do in a patient exam is look at the health of the patient’s teeth and make sure they are healthy enough to move,” said Dr. Lisa Gao of Westwood Orthodontics, an INBRACE provider based in Westwood. “We want to ensure that your teeth, your gums and your bones are healthy. Then we move onto treatment options for your individual case.”

Digging a little deeper into the success of plastic aligner therapy among today’s smiling Angelinos, you’ll find the driving factor is a means to an end. People simply want to enjoy their lives and show off their smiles – in person and in selfies – and traditional braces don’t allow for this. Plastic aligners need to be removed for photos (to eat or for a number of other activities) yet need to be worn 22 hours a day to achieve anticipated results. Most users seem fine with these tradeoffs. But a closer look reveals a consequence.

In my experience, patients rarely wear aligners for the full, prescribed 22 hours a day, so treatment times typically take longer than expected. Plus, aligners don’t correct many of the ailments suffered by those with crooked teeth, so certain health issues won’t be addressed. One reasonable explanation for the mounting popularity of aligners is the lack of alternatives.

“When speaking to patients about aesthetic choices, I now highly recommend INBRACE as a more aesthetic choice over aligners,” said Dr. Dovi Prero of Prero Orthodontics, an INBRACE provider based in Beverly Hills. “INBRACE is an alternative that is all digital, and when I show patients a virtual setup of their new smile, I can guarantee they’ll get there with INBRACE, because compliance is not an issue. Then I add that getting there with aligners is completely up to them.”

Sitting unseen behind your teeth, INBRACE is a new, lingual treatment option ideal for patients who want to achieve a great new smile without broadcasting that they are in treatment. Lingual braces have been around since the mid-1970s, but challenges for doctors to use and patients to wear thwarted commercial success … until now. Thanks to innovative providers in the Los Angeles area and beyond, INBRACE is an aesthetic, alternative treatment that’s growing in popularity nationwide.

The two orthodontists who invented INBRACE treated more than 15,000 patients over decades in practice and witnessed the polarizing impact of plastic aligners. They also observed increasing patient demand for improved aesthetics and growing dissatisfaction with the challenges of aligner therapy. They created INBRACE to provide truly invisible braces that deliver genuine health benefits.

For more than 100 years, moving teeth has been based on sliding mechanics, which use excessive force, causing root loss and negatively impacting oral health. INBRACE is a new treatment modality called programmed, non-sliding mechanics. Using continuous, gentle force, INBRACE minimizes root loss and maintains optimum oral health with the added consumer benefit of being completely hidden.

“INBRACE has been an incredible option for patients who want a truly invisible way to a great new smile,” said Dr. Krisena Borenstein of Culver City Orthodontics, an INBRACE provider based in Culver City. “It also has been fantastic for patients who know they would have trouble wearing aligners full time.”

To learn more about INBRACE visit myinbrace.com. To find a provider practicing the technique, visit myinbrace.com/doctor-finder.

John Pham DDS, MS is CEO and Co-Founder of INBRACE, a board-certified practicing orthodontist, former aerospace engineer and three-time entrepreneur. His research has been published in the American Journal of Orthodontics and the Journal of Clinical Orthodontics.

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