Dental alignment problems are extremely common and one of the leading reasons why patients dislike their smile. A combination of genetics, jaw size and the way in which our adult teeth erupt individually means that it is far from normal to have perfectly straight teeth that come together with precision when we close our mouths. Unless you are one of those lucky few people that have naturally straight and aligned teeth, you probably find that you have one or more of the following issues with your teeth: overlapping, crookedness, gaps between teeth and teeth that don’t come together properly when you close your mouth.
Not only do misaligned teeth cause people to be dissatisfied with the appearance of their smile, but they can also result in a range of oral health problems. Patients with dental misalignment are more likely to suffer from issues including dental decay, periodontal disease, uneven wear on teeth, bruxism and temporomandibular joint disorder which affects the use of the jaw. Some patients even develop speech impediments, breathing issues and difficulty and pain when eating.
Fortunately, there is no need to suffer the difficulties associated with dental misalignment. There are two orthodontic treatment options that can correct the position of your teeth and jaw and resolve the issues you may have or be at risk of developing. These are known as traditional braces and Invisalign. Which is right for you? Here is what you need to know about both which will help you to make an informed decision about your treatment.
Most people have a good idea of what traditional orthodontic braces are all about. Fortunately, their design has evolved so that they are much less of a daunting prospect than they used to be, and many providers offer varying colors so that having braces can become something of a fashion trend rather than just a necessary dental treatment. Conventional orthodontic braces involve metal brackets being placed onto the teeth, which are then attached to a series of wires and bands. These are regularly adjusted by your provider to place force on the teeth that will gradually move them into their new, desired positions.
Invisalign works in the same way as orthodontic braces, placing pressure onto the teeth to move them into a new and improved position. However, there is no metalwork involved. Instead, the movement is facilitated by a clear plastic aligner that is placed over the top of the teeth like a mouthguard that also exerts force on to them to prompt them to move. Each aligner forms one stage of an entire series, and patients must wear each aligner in order, for a minimum of 22 hours per day, only removing them for cleaning and eating.
There are several advantages to choosing traditional braces for your orthodontic treatment. These include the following:
- Cost. Traditional braces are less expensive than Invisalign which makes them an affordable solution for many patients.
- Correction of severe bite problems. The way that your teeth come together when you close your mouth is referred to as your ‘bite’. Although Invisalign can correct mild to moderate issues with your bite, only traditional braces can successfully rectify severe bite problems.
- Regular appointments to check on the progress of your treatment. Since your braces will need to be adjusted at specific intervals to push teeth into their new positions, you will be seen by your provider fairly regularly. This will enable them to check on the progress of your treatment and assess the health of your teeth.
- Braces are permanent. Whilst there are certain things that you will have to take into consideration when wearing braces, such as what you can eat and how you should brush your teeth, they are permanent and apply constant pressure to your teeth. This can make orthodontic braces work faster than Invisalign, plus you don’t have to remember to wear them!
There are a number of important reasons why many patients are choosing Invisalign over traditional braces. These include:
- Watching what you eat. When you wear braces, you will need to avoid certain types of food that could damage your brace including items that are particularly hard, chewy or sticky. This could prevent you from eating some of the foods that you enjoy the most. In comparison, patients who wear Invisalign aligners can remove them at mealtimes, enabling them to eat whatever foods they like.
- It can be difficult to clean your teeth when you wear braces. There is no getting around the fact that negotiating an array of brackets, wires, and bands can be difficult and time-consuming. And, if you aren’t careful, your dental health could suffer. Invisalign aligners meanwhile can be removed for cleaning both the aligners themselves and your underlying teeth which aren’t compromised by braces.
- Many patients feel that a mouth full of metal is unattractive and this can cause them to feel embarrassed or even ashamed of their smile. Since Invisalign is virtually invisible once in place, patients have far less concern about its appearance. In fact, it is almost impossible to spot!
- Since your braces will need to be adjusted fairly regularly so that your treatment progresses, you can expect to need to schedule a dental appointment approximately every 6-10 weeks. However, with Invisalign, you simply move onto the next aligner in the series as directed by your provider. Although your treatment progress will still be monitored, fewer visits are required.
- Discomfort. Wearing braces isn’t always comfortable and you may experience aching and soreness after each orthodontic adjustment. However, Invisalign aligners are made from soft plastic and mold exactly to your teeth, ensuring a comfortable fit.
If you would like more information about either braces or Invisalign, our friendly and experienced team would be happy to assist you. Please contact our offices at your convenience.