Today's orthodontic procedures offer more options and choices for teeth straightening than ever before. You have probably heard or seen advertisements for clear aligner trays that continue to gain popularity.
You see these ads and wonder if they can perform as well as traditional braces.
When you or your children need braces, you might be uncertain whether traditional or Invisalign braces are best. Many adults prefer Invisalign aligners because they are more comfortable and nearly invisible.
Not everyone is a candidate for clear aligners. For those with serious dental problems traditional metal braces may be advised.
Traditional Metal Braces
Traditional metal braces have also changed over the years. What once were large metal brackets are now much smaller. The brackets are less noticeable than they were when they were referred to as the "metal mouth" braces of past generations.
Before any type of braces are placed, your dentist will perform a thorough exam of your mouth and teeth and discuss your dental history and overall health. You will have a full set of x-rays of your teeth and mouth to determine the best dental plan to straighten your teeth.
When traditional metal braces are recommended, your teeth will be cleaned and polished to make sure the brackets will properly bond to your teeth. A bonding cement is applied to the back of each bracket and positioned on each tooth. The bonding material is dried and set by using a special light.
Once the brackets are solidly in place, arch wires are applied. These wires will be adjusted on a regular basis as recommended by your family dentist. It is the process of tightening the wires that gently moves your teeth into their proper position in order for your teeth to be straightened.
You may experience discomfort from the wires, as well as after the adjustments are made.
How Invisalign Works
Invisalign clear aligners provide the same end result as traditional metal braces - straight teeth. They are made of a virtually invisible material that is smooth and comfortable to wear.
The process for getting Invisalign braces starts out in the same way as for traditional braces. You will consult with your family dentist and have a thorough exam of your teeth and mouth. You will have x-rays and impressions of your teeth taken. A digital 3-D image of your teeth will allow your doctor to create a treatment plan just for you.
Based on your treatment plan, you will receive your aligners. You will get new aligners approximately every two weeks. Each set will fit you a little tighter as your teeth move into place. In order to monitor your progress, you will see your family dentist about every six weeks. Wearing your aligners for 20 to 22 hours a day will shorten the time you need to wear them and get your teeth into the proper position sooner.
Advantages of Invisalign Aligners
There are many advantages to Invisalign aligners to straighten your teeth and enhance your smile:
- Easier to care for your natural teeth
- Eat what you want
- Invisalign for teens
The main advantage to Invisalign aligners over metal braces is comfort. There are no wires poking the inside of your mouth, causing discomfort and pain. Even though each new set of aligners is tight, there is little discomfort.
With Invisalign, you can take better care of your teeth. Since they are removable, you are able to floss and brush your teeth as you normally would.
There are a number of restrictions to what foods to eat when you have traditional braces. Since Invisalign aligners are removed while you eat, you can eat and drink whatever you like.
Invisalign for teens. Teens are self-conscious anyway - and metal braces increases that problem. Invisalign aligners are nearly invisible and go un-noticed most of the time. They won't have to hide behind a mouth of metal so their teen years will be more enjoyable.
There is still a place for traditional metal braces in today's dental procedures. Some people who have extreme dental problems are not good candidates for Invisalign aligners.
However, the majority of people who want straighter teeth are able to have their smile renewed by using Invisalign. Your family dentist will work with you and help you decide which method will give you the end result that will not only improve the appearance of your teeth - but also help your teeth and mouth return to the healthy structure it was meant to have.