There is no reason to live with crooked, crowded, or poorly spaced teeth any longer. Dental technology, like that used at Implant and Comprehensive Dentistry in Champions Gate, Florida, can now have your teeth straightened and your smile shining without monopolizing your time and resources. If you have been looking for an alternative to braces, you have probably heard about the Invisalign clear aligner system. Keep reading to learn about the differences between Invisalign treatment and traditional metal braces.
Invisalign vs. Braces: Understanding the Differences
Although both treatments can help straighten teeth, relieve crowding, and minimize spacing issues, they work very differently. Here is an overview of how each one works so you can better understand the processes involved:
Metal braces are basically made up of two parts: a bracket that is glued to the surface of your teeth and wires that connect the various brackets. Throughout your treatment period, the wires are tightened at specific points and intervals to encourage your teeth to move to the desired position. This can be uncomfortable.
Some people find that the wires or brackets can cut into the inside of their mouth. This is most common on teeth in the back of your mouth where space is limited. There are special products that can be used to cover sharp or rough edges to help minimize this type of discomfort or injury. They are generally made of wax or a similar substance.
How Long Do They Take?
In general, you should expect to be wearing your braces for about two years. Of course, individual treatment plans will vary. Because you wear the braces all the time and cannot take them off, there is a very high rate of success and progress is generally steady.
How Do You Care for Them?
You will brush and floss your teeth like normal while wearing metal braces. It can be difficult to get around the brackets on your teeth, but it is important that you take the time to make sure they are clean. Some people find that using a water pick or similar device is helpful in keeping their braces clean and free of food debris.
Because the brackets are only glued onto your teeth, you will want to take care that they are not dislodged. You may need to avoid eating very hard things like raw carrots or very chewy foods like candy that could break a bond. Some people also avoid food that can get caught between the wires and your teeth to make cleaning easier.
Metal braces are the old go-to for straightening crooked teeth and reposition ones that are out of place. They have been used for decades with reliable results. Pricing varies depending on how extensive the work you need is, but the cost will generally be in line with other treatment options.
Braces cannot be taken on and off, so you must wear them all of the time. This is an excellent advantage for people who might be tempted to leave their Invisalign trays out during the day. It can also help keep your progress steady and may help you finish treatment sooner than with other options, especially if compliance is an issue.
Despite all of their advantages, there are some issues with traditional braces. First, if you participate in contact sports, there is the risk of damaging the inside of your mouth or lips if you are impacted. Your braces may also come loose in a situation like that, meaning an extra trip to the orthodontist to have it repaired.
Because of the need for tightening and adjustments during treatment, you should expect to visit the dentist orthodontist every four weeks or so. They will make sure that your teeth are moving according to plan, make any adjustments, tighten your wires, and reattach any loose brackets at these visits.
It is also difficult to disguise that you are wearing metal braces, so many people may postpone or avoid treatment because they are self-conscious of their appearance. In fact, for some people, the idea of braces is worse than having a crooked smile, so they leave their teeth as they are.
Unfortunately, having teeth that do not align well can lead to other dental issues and may cause uneven wear or increase your risk of a dental injury. So, putting off braces because you don’t want to have a “metal mouth” may lead to more issues and more extensive work needed later on. In cases like this, Invisalign trays can be an excellent alternative to braces.
The Invisalign system uses a series of clear aligner trays to move your teeth into the desired position. These are made with a BPA-free material so there are no concerns about safety. They are smooth and comfortable, and they should not interfere with your normal speech. While the trays are not exactly invisible, they are difficult to see when in, and most people will not notice you are wearing them during a regular conversation.
How They Fit
When you get fitted for Invisalign, your dentist will generally use a 3D imaging system to create a three-dimensional model of your mouth. In some cases, they may opt to use a traditional impression mold. Either way, the mold is sent to Invisalign where a treatment plan is designed. You will have the opportunity to see before and after images so you can compare what your teeth look like now to what they will look like after treatment.
Once you approve the treatment plan, a set of aligner trays will be prepared for you. Each tray is designed to be worn for one to two weeks, depending on your specific case. Your dentist will generally give you enough trays to last for four to six weeks and ask you to come in to pick up the next set of trays. This gives him or her the chance to check on your progress and make sure your teeth are responding to treatment.
You must take the Invisalign trays out to eat or drink anything other than water. Some people feel this is tedious and may decide to leave the trays out for extended periods of the day. However, they must be worn at least 20 hours per day to be the most effective, so not wearing your trays can hinder your progress.
How Long Do They Take?
You can expect to be wearing your Invisalign retainers for anywhere from six months to about two years. Just like with traditional braces, the exact time it takes to achieve results will depend on the complexity of your treatment and how your teeth respond. If you fail to adhere to the time requirements of wearing your trays every day, your treatment may take longer than expected.
How Do You Care for Them?
Caring for the trays is fairly simple. They cannot be worn when you eat, drink, or smoke, so you simply remove them and place them in their case when you are planning to do these activities. Then, after you are done, you brush them with a regular toothbrush and toothpaste, rinse, and reinsert them over your teeth.
There are specially designed Invisalign cleaning systems that you can place the trays in for a deep cleaning. They help to remove stains and buildup on the plastic and result in incredibly clear and clean aligners.
Perhaps one of the biggest advantages of Invisalign as an alternative to braces is that they are nearly invisible. For individuals who are already self-conscious about their teeth, this may seem very attractive compared to braces that may draw more attention to their mouths.
Their appearance isn’t the only advantage, however. Invisalign aligners are easy to clean and care for. They allow you to perform regular activities and actually may offer a slight level of protection from damaging or chipping your teeth. If you have trouble with grinding or clenching your teeth, having the trays in may help keep you from doing that. You will not need to make any adjustments to what you eat with Invisalign trays, either, since they are removed to eat and drink.
One of the disadvantages of using Invisalign is that the trays are small and may get lost when you take them out to eat or drink. This can be minimized by keeping them in their case when you are not wearing them. Another problem you may encounter is if you are tempted to wear the trays for the required amount of time each day. Be honest about your commitment to wearing the trays.
Invisalign As an Alternative to Braces
Many people prefer the near-invisible trays that Invisalign uses to move your teeth. They are barely noticeable by other people, and they have many advantages over traditional braces. They are excellent at reducing spaces between teeth and alleviating overcrowding.
However, Invisalign trays may not be the best option for you depending on your teeth and dental concerns. If you need to have work done on your molars or you are looking to rotate or reposition larger teeth like a canine or premolar, then you may be better off using traditional metal braces. Talk to your dentist to find out if Invisalign is a good alternative to braces for you.
Seek Professional Treatment
Invisalign has emerged as a popular alternative to braces for many people. In fact, it has become so popular that there are now many companies imitating the clear tray system. If you are considering an at-home program, realize that you will not have the guidance and support of a trained professional.
You will not be checking in with your dentist throughout the process to ensure that your teeth are moving the way they are supposed to. That could lead to failure of the system and may potentially leave you less happy with your teeth than when you started. And that would be a total waste of time, resources, and effort on your part.
Find the Best Straightening Treatment for Your Smile
Your smile matters. People will make judgments based on first impressions. Invisalign aligners can be a great alternative to braces for professionals who want to make a change without everyone in the office making comments. They are discreet and relatively easy to care for. So, go ahead and put your best face forward by having your teeth straightened.
Every mouth is unique, and your treatment should be tailored to your specific needs and goals. It is best to consult with a dental professional that is trained to address your concerns and answer your questions. Contact the professionals at Implant and Comprehensive Dentistry in Champions Gate, Florida, today to see whether Invisalign is a good alternative to braces to help you achieve the smile of your dreams.