Want straight teeth but don't want all that metal junk in your mouth? Have we got a solution for you! Not only will you be rid of the metal, oral hygiene is easier, you don't have to change your diet, you can take the aligner out for special occasions and you can finish up with a healthier mouth than you started with. Sound like a pretty good deal? Read on.
For many years, braces came in one version – metal and wires. Eventually ceramic brackets showed up, but it was still mostly about the metal. Invisalign is a radically different concept based on a clear plastic aligner that fits over your teeth. The aligners (you'll wear a series of them, each slightly different) are custom-made using computer-assisted design from molds the orthodontist makes of your teeth. Every two or three weeks, you change to a new aligner.
Removable and Invisible
Invisalign is removable, unlike traditional braces which are cemented on and wired in. The aligner is also made of clear plastic. The combination means that you can get your teeth straightened without announcing that fact to the world every time you smile or talk. Although you should wear the aligner 22 hours a day for maximum effect, you do take it out to eat or clean your teeth. Got a special occasion like a wedding, senior prom or a big presentation at work? Just take the aligner out for a few hours. Since the aligner is made of soft plastic, there are no sore spots from metal rubbing or wires poking into your cheek or gums.
Less Time at the Orthodontist
Invisalign is better than traditional braces because you need fewer visits and total treatment time is shorter. Traditional braces require frequent adjustments – usually about every three weeks. With Invisalign, you'll need an appointment about every six weeks. Traditional metal braces typically take an average of three years to shift your teeth into position. They may take even longer if you have complex orthodontic issues. Invisalign can take as little as one year, but generally takes between one year and 18 months – about half the time of traditional braces in many cases.
No Dietary Restrictions
One of the worst things about traditional braces for many people is the dietary restrictions. It's particularly acute for teens, who want to be able to eat what their friends eat. Crunchy foods like popcorn and nuts are usually off the menu with traditional braces. Even softer foods like corn on the cob or whole apples can be harder to bite. Invisalign will not require dietary restrictions. In fact, you actually have to take the aligner out to eat, as otherwise you can't bit or chew your food properly. That means you can eat pretty much anything you want (although we still can't recommend candies or sodas no matter what kind of orthodontic treatment you use; the risk of cavities is just too high).
With a few exceptions, Invisalign is just as effective as traditional braces. If you have serious malocclusion or very large teeth in a small jaw, or the orthodontist recommends removing teeth, surgery or palate expansion in order to correct your orthodontic problems, some form of traditional braces may be a better choice. However, mild to moderate crooked, widely spaced or crowded teeth respond well to Invisalign treatment. Invisalign can also be used by patients of any age except children and young teens whose teeth are still growing.
No Damage or Stains
Traditional braces mean extra attention to oral hygiene. All those little nooks and crannies make great places to harbor bacteria and food particles. This can lead not only to tooth decay but also to demineralization of the teeth. The roots of the teeth may actually become shorter. Since the brackets are cemented to the teeth, any cavities that begin under the bracket are hard to see. Finally, the metal can actually cause stains on your teeth. You'll have none of these problems with Invisalign.
Bottom line: Invisalign is better than traditional braces in many ways. Please contact our offices to schedule an orthodontic assessment. We can tell you whether Invisalign is right for you.