If you know you need dental corrections, you may be trying to choose between getting braces or seeking out an alternative to braces. At Implant and Comprehensive Dentistry in Champions Gate, FL, we would be happy to help you make the right call after a consultation. For now, we can start by going over some factors that may influence your decision.
When Should You Consider an Alternative to Braces?
If you’re looking into an alternative to braces, your desired timeline may affect your decision. Clear aligners are a common alternative to braces. Each set of trays is usually worn for two weeks until the patient moves on to their next pair. Each time you progress to a new set, your teeth will be gently nudged into a more correct position. Most patients complete this type of treatment in a year, although the timeline can vary depending on your needs.
Braces are usually worn for 18 months or more, so they tend to be more of a long-term treatment. Both braces and clear aligners are considered safe and effective, but if your timeline is a primary concern, you may want to consider aligners.
Braces and aligners can both handle a range of issues. That said, when you come in for your consultation we may recommend a treatment to you. Our recommendations are based on years of experience and a thorough understanding of how our treatments work. We will consider your needs and your aesthetic goals, and let you know what options are most likely to be a good fit.
Some patients enjoy rocking their braces and customizing them, while others find the idea of braces very upsetting. If you’re concerned that braces could have a negative impact on your confidence at work or in social settings, aligners could be a good solution.
Clear aligners are designed to be slipped over the teeth and allow your teeth to show through them. That makes them extremely discreet both in person and in photos.
Brushing and flossing can already feel like a chore when you’re tired. Brushing and flossing around braces can add a bit more time and difficulty to the process, as it’s important to make sure you don’t allow tartar to develop around your braces. With aligners, you’ll be able to remove them and clean your teeth normally, which can save time and frustration.
Most patients know that getting braces means limiting certain foods. For some the adjustment is easy, but other patients may find that they have to replace important staples of their diet. For instance, if you already have food allergies or sensitivities, the idea of having to avoid even more food can be overwhelming.
If you qualify for aligners, you won’t have to worry about adjusting your diet. Clear aligners are removed before eating. You can simply slip them off to enjoy your meal as usual. After cleaning your teeth, you’ll be able to pop the aligners back in and carry on.
If you lead an active lifestyle, you should consider sturdy braces or a strong alternative to braces that are a good fit for your activity levels. Braces are made of metal and built to last. It’s still wise to wear mouth protection during sports, but the technology behind braces has come a long way.
Aligners can also be a great fit for active lifestyles, as the smooth plastic material has no wires or hard edges, and are made with durability in mind. Going with strong, safe treatment options can decrease your risk of sustaining a mouth injury.
It’s usually recommended that a patient wear their clear aligners for at least 20 hours a day. If you wear your aligners consistently, your treatment schedule should stay on track. If you’re concerned you may forget to wear your aligners long enough, you can try setting alarms, or you may want to consider braces instead.
In some cases, it may be possible to shorten the time you spend with braces by ending your treatment with clear aligners. This can be helpful for patients who would benefit from the corrective power of braces, but want to spend as little time wearing them as possible.
We would be happy to let you know if this could be a possibility for you during your consultation. Our goal is to find you a treatment that will give you the results you need and be a good fit for your lifestyle.
What Can Clear Aligners Treat?
It’s important to find a treatment that can match your needs. The best way to know that for sure is to visit us for a consultation. That said, aligners are a flexible treatment that can handle a wide range of dental issues. Some common issues that can be treated with aligners are listed below.
When teeth grow too close together, this is referred to as overcrowding. Severe overcrowding can lead to some teeth pushing others out of the way and out of their proper alignment. Wisdom teeth can be especially bad culprits, since wisdom teeth don’t always grow straight and can push crowded teeth even tighter together.
Crowded teeth are harder to clean and harder to fit with crowns and fillings. Aligners can help properly space and straighten out your teeth. This can help with a range of practical concerns as well as improve the appearance of your smile.
Whether misaligned teeth are caused by overcrowding or not, they can present several challenges to the patient. While many patients want to correct their teeth for cosmetic reasons, misaligned teeth can also make dental hygiene more difficult. When teeth are slightly overlapped, it can create tight spaces that can’t be thoroughly brushed or flossed.
In addition, misaligned teeth often wear down unevenly. This can cause a premature loss of enamel for some of your teeth, which can put the patient at higher risk for early tooth decay and loss. Misaligned teeth can also put uneven pressure on the muscles of your face, leading to soreness throughout the jaw and neck.
Underbites and Overbites
Aligners can be used to correct various alignment issues, including underbites and overbites. Since aligners are able to gradually guide your teeth into their correct position, they can also help your jaw settle into place. This promotes healthy function of your teeth and jaw, and can drastically improve the patient’s confidence as well.
A gap between the teeth is known as a diastema. It most commonly affects the front teeth. Unless the patient prefers not to have a gap between their front teeth, this type of diastema doesn’t usually cause any issues.
However, sometimes gaps between the teeth are pronounced enough to cause some issues with speech or eating. The patient may struggle to bite into harder food items like apples or pronounce certain words. If these issues are affecting your quality of life, or if you would simply like to not have a diastema, we would be happy to help.
Is There Any Advice for Life With Clear Aligners?
Stay on Top of Hygiene
Keeping your teeth clean will help you avoid unwanted issues like gum disease, decay, and bad breath. Keeping your aligners clean will ensure you won’t undo all your work after brushing by putting dirty aligners back in your mouth. This will also help your aligners look their best throughout the treatment process.
Pack an Extra Case
If you often find yourself on the go, it may be helpful to keep an extra aligner case in your car, purse, or coat pocket. A spare case can offer some extra peace of mind. It may help you avoid a situation where you’ve rushed out the door, went for a bite to eat, and realized that you forgot your case at home.
Keep Your Appointments
While wearing aligners, we may recommend scheduled visits so we can make sure your aligners are working properly. This can help keep your treatment on track, and it’s also a great way to see your progress.
Enjoy Your Progress
Staying excited about your progress can help patients remember to wear their aligners consistently. You may want to mark your calendar every time you move on to your next set of aligners, or take pictures of your teeth every month, so you can see the changes and celebrate how far you’ve come.
Ready for Personalized Advice?
Once we complete your evaluation, we will be able to give you personalized advice and answer any remaining questions you may have. Reach out to us at Implant and Comprehensive Dentistry in Champions Gate, FL, to set up a consultation with our helpful staff.