NEWTON (CBS) – “I went to the dentist and she was like ‘You need braces,'” 16-year-old Bjorn Jeppesen told WBZ-TV.
Like most teenagers, Jeppesen was not thrilled when he heard the news. He immediately thought, “Okay, my high school year is over.”
Spending his freshman and sophomore year with a mouth full of wire and metal didn’t sound ideal. So, he was stunned when he found out he had more than one option for straightening his teeth.
“I chose the aligners straight away,” he said. Since last February, Jeppesen has been using clear plastic aligners to gradually move his teeth into place. You can barely see the aligners when he has them in. But it’s easy to see the difference they’ve made over the past year. His once-crowded front teeth are now more evenly spaced and much straighter.
“A lot of patients are asking for aligners,” said Jeppesen’s orthodontist Dr. Yael Frydman.
Dr. Frydman told WBZ she is seeing more teenagers asking for them at her practice Dental Partners of Boston, too. Frydman is also an Assistant Professor at Boston University’s Henry M. Golden School of Dental Medicine.
She said there are certain cases that work better with wire braces and others that may work better with aligners. But, most people do have a choice.
“The great majority of patients fall in the group that they could be treated either with traditional appliances or clear aligners,” she said.
There are pros and cons to both options. Aligners must be taken out to eat and brush. That also raises the possibility of teens losing them or not using them.
“Living with braces means the forces will be working 24/7. You don’t have the option of removing it,” explained Dr. Frydman. For wire braces, cleaning around the metal brackets can prove challenging for some patients.
Jeppesen has stuck to the plan and now only has a few weeks left of treatment.
“I don’t get why people don’t take the choice, if they have it,” he said.
Costs and length of treatment vary widely by practice and by patient. According to The American Dental Association, traditional wire braces for adolescents typically cost between $4,880 and $7,000. Costs for aligners are roughly in the same range.