Invisalign Compared to Traditional Braces
Have you always dreamed of having straight and perfectly aligned teeth? A straighter smile can truly be a thing of beauty, automatically enhancing the appearance of teeth in a way that is healthy and conservative. But it is rare for someone to be born with teeth that are immaculately straight, and not everybody had the opportunity to wear braces during childhood. Then there is the potential problem of orthodontic relapses, which can occur when someone fails to wear their retainers after completion of treatment.
Whatever the reason for your crooked smile, adult orthodontics can help, provided of course that your teeth are generally healthy and strong. Your next decision is whether to have traditional fixed braces or to opt for more modern and nearly invisible removable braces, for example, Invisalign.
What is Invisalign?
Invisalign is an adult-oriented orthodontic system utilizing the very latest technologies. It is popular worldwide because the system is so easy to use, and it is extremely discreet. Instead of cumbersome fixed braces, Invisalign uses clear BPA-free plastic aligners. These are very thin, fitting tightly over the teeth and are uniquely designed to ensure the teeth will move into carefully preplanned positions. You will almost certainly know people who have had Invisalign treatment, but you might not have realized it because unless you are looking very carefully at their teeth, the aligners are virtually invisible.
What is the Treatment Process?
First, our dentist, Dr. Lance Ogata, must examine your teeth and jaws to make sure you are suitable for treatment. Next, it’s necessary to take various diagnostic tests including dental impressions and x-rays, and photographs of your teeth. Invisalign has specialized software that utilizes all this information, allowing your treatment to be pre-planned so that each tooth will move into precisely the correct position. It’s an exciting part of the process because Invisalign produces virtual images showing how your teeth will look once treatment is completed. It’s an excellent way to see for yourself the effectiveness of Invisalign, and it is also interesting. Once your treatment plan is finalized, your aligners are custom-made and are ready to wear.
What to Expect with Invisalign Treatment
One of the primary reasons why Invisalign is so popular is because it’s so easy to use. You won’t need to make any significant changes to your everyday routine. All you must do is to make sure you wear your aligners for at least 22 hours each day. Ideally, they should only be removed whenever you want to brush or floss your teeth or for mealtimes. Because your aligners are removable, there is no need to change your diet, and you won’t need to use any special tools or spend any longer cleaning your teeth.
If you do have a special event where you prefer not to wear your aligners, it’s okay as an exception, but it’s best not to do it too frequently because it could slow your progress. Every set of aligners is worn for approximately two weeks before you discard them and move onto the next set. Each set is specifically designed to continue moving your teeth into the correct positions.
You will need to come and see us here at Dr. Lance Ogata’s office at regular intervals, but these appointments should be quite quick because there are no brackets or wires to check and adjust. It’s more a case of just making sure your treatment is progressing as planned and providing you with more sets of aligners as needed. The exact number of aligners required depends on the problems needing correction. Usually, most people will complete treatment within a year, but the exact duration may be shorter or longer. If only your front teeth need straightening, treatment could be quite quick because it is cosmetically oriented. More extensive problems with tooth alignments or the way your teeth bite together will need longer to correct. You’ll discover how long is required when you have your consultation.
Suitable for Most Adults and Some Teens
Although Invisalign is mainly used by adults, it is suitable for older teenagers and Invisalign produces a system specially designed for this age group. Good compliance is essential as unless the aligners are worn as directed, treatment will fail so it may not be suitable for teens who are particularly forgetful. Invisalign Teen includes several sets of replacement aligners just in case any are mislaid!
How Does Invisalign Compare with Traditional Braces?
Traditional braces are still widely used and especially for children. They consist of brackets that are fixed onto the teeth for the duration of treatment, and which are operated by wires and elastics. It’s virtually impossible to miss when somebody is wearing traditional braces because they are quite visible and while it may not be a problem during childhood, it’s less than desirable during adulthood and especially for people who have careers that are customer-facing, or which require frequent interactions with clients.
Traditional Braces Need More Care
Traditional braces are trickier to care for. The brackets and wires must be cleaned meticulously, and usually, it’s necessary to use special tools and to spend longer on your daily oral hygiene routine. Failing to adhere to a good oral hygiene routine increases the risk of tooth decay and gum disease because the brackets and wires can so easily trap plaque and food debris.
You Need to Change Your Diet with Traditional Braces
When wearing traditional braces, it’s crucial to make quite a few changes to your diet. Very hard, crunchy or sticky foods must all be avoided because they could damage or break the brackets and wires. Even healthy foods such as raw apples and carrots must often be cut up into smaller pieces, so they are easier to chew without damaging your braces.
Traditional Braces Need Frequent Adjustments
Usually, it’s necessary to see an orthodontist every few weeks because the braces require frequent adjustments and wires must be tightened to continue tooth movements. These appointments are likely to be lengthier than Invisalign checkups.
When Traditional Braces Might Be a Preferable Choice
There are times when traditional braces are a better choice than Invisalign. For example, if someone has more extensive and complicated problems with their bite that are less easily corrected with Invisalign. Most common orthodontic issues are suitable for Invisalign as it is an extremely versatile system. The best way to discover for sure if it could help you is to schedule your initial free consultation.