If you are seeking solutions to crooked teeth or other orthodontic issues, it is nice to know that there is more than one treatment option available. You have probably seen advertisements for invisible braces like Invisalign and are wondering why it is any different than old-fashioned braces. In this article, we’ll explore the pros and cons of each treatment option, and, hopefully, help you to form some questions to raise at your first consultation with your orthodontist.
What are Traditional Braces?
Traditional Braces are comprised of metal or porcelain brackets that are glued to your teeth. Your orthodontist will work wires from bracket to bracket to move your teeth to the desired positions. He may also attach strong rubber bands from the brackets in your lower set of teeth to the brackets in your upper set of teeth to speed along the process. If you have an intense overbite, you may be required to wear headgear at night, which has wires that hook into the brackets along the side of your teeth and connects around your head with a soft strap. Headgear helps to move your jaw into a desired position or stops it from growing into a wrong position, correcting an unwelcome overbite.
What is Invisalign?
Invisalign is an orthodontic treatment system which consists of clear plastic trays, called “aligners,” which fit under your upper and lower rows of teeth. Invisalign is the most common brand for clear aligners and is often synonymous with the ortho product itself. The trays slowly move your teeth into the desired positions. Every two weeks, you throw out the old trays and replace them with new trays, which slowly move your teeth even further into the newly preferred positions.
How Often Do I Visit My Orthodontist With Each Treatment?
Your visits to the orthodontist will be about the same in frequency whether you have conventional braces or Invisalign – approximately every four to six weeks.
How Long Does the Treatment Last?
For traditional braces, the average treatment time is 18 to 24 months, with the shortest time being around nine months and the longest being approximately five years.
For Invisalign, treatment time is anywhere from six to 18 months.
Does it Hurt?
Any type of treatment that involves moving your teeth around in your mouth will cause some discomfort. Most people tend to say that Invisalign hurts less than traditional braces but that may be because Invisalign treats less severe orthodontic issues than those treated with bracket and wire braces. In other words, if your orthodontist has determined that you are not a good candidate for Invisalign, it may be because you have teeth that need to be moved further across your mouth than the Invisalign system is able to do.
The process of moving a tooth from one place to another is never comfortable and the farther the tooth has to go, the less comfortable it will be for you. In the end, however, when you look at yourself in the mirror and see a straight row of bright, white teeth, you’ll be so glad that you endured a little discomfort for such a worthwhile outcome.
Do I Wear a Retainer?
With traditional braces, you usually wear a retainer during treatment. After treatment is completed, you are required to wear the retainer through the night for many years in order to keep your teeth locked into position. With Invisalign, you will not wear a retainer during treatment but will wear a retainer at night for years after the treatment is over to keep your teeth from sliding back into their old positions.
How Much Does it Cost?
Traditional braces cost anywhere from $2,000 to $5,000. Invisalign costs approximately $5,000.
Will I Talk Funny?
Most people talk a little funny for the first few days after receiving braces and Invisalign. New objects are being placed into your mouth and your tongue has to get used to forming sounds around them. The majority of patients go back to speaking normally with a short period of time.
How Do I Clean It?
With traditional braces, you use floss, picks, toothbrushes and toothpaste to clean your teeth. Your orthodontist will spend time teaching you the dos and don’ts of cleaning your teeth with braces. Some orthodontists instruct you to eat with your retainer in and clean it after eating; others tell you to take it out while eating.
With Invisalign, you remove the aligners while eating and replace them immediately afterwards. Invisalign has its own special cleaning system which must be followed in order to ensure the oral health of your mouth.
How is it Removed?
Braces can only be removed by your orthodontist. If you try to remove braces on your own, you could permanently damage your teeth. When your treatment is over, your orthodontist will schedule a special appointment to snip the wires and use a tool to squeeze the brackets so they pop off. He will then remove the adhesive from each tooth.
Invisalign are just aligner trays so they are easily removed by you.
Can it Stain My Teeth?
Braces do not stain your teeth. However, if you do not heed the warnings of your orthodontist and care for your teeth properly while wearing braces, white spots can from on your teeth from plaque buildup around the braces. There are treatments which are pretty successful in removing these spots which can be applied after your braces are removed. However, the best way to avoid these spots is to floss and brush three times per day while you are still wearing your braces in order to never get white spots in the first place.
Invisalign doesn’t stain your teeth. However, if you avoid the warnings of your orthodontist and drink liquids other than water while wearing your aligners, (such as coffee or tea), you could incur faster than normal staining to your teeth since the aligners hold liquids closer to your teeth and the saliva in your mouth would be unable to rinse them away.
Book Your Consultation at Smiles Orthodontics Today!
Dr. Gorantla is a skilled orthodontist and Invisalign provider and would love to speak with you about whether traditional braces or Invisalign are the best fit for you. Call our office at (316) 683-SMILES to schedule your appointment!