Braces are not the only option for straightening teeth. Invisalign® is becoming a more common choice among teens and adults who want a smile makeover. Metal braces were once the only cosmetic dentistry treatment for crooked teeth and bite dysfunctions. While this method can still be effective, clear aligners offer benefits that braces cannot duplicate.
Living with tooth alignment problems can be difficult. If you have crooked teeth, you may feel embarrassed about your appearance. Orthodontic issues can also lead to conditions such as tooth decay, infections, and gum disease. The longer you wait to address these needs, the more your oral health will suffer.
Now is the right time to straighten your teeth with Invisalign, so call our office today to get started.
The cosmetic consequences
There is a lot to be said about a first impression. One of the first things people notice and remember when meeting someone else is how their teeth looked. Mild orthodontic issues might not pose too many concerns. However, individuals with severely or even moderately crooked or misaligned teeth can have poor self-esteem or a negative self-image. Such a person may avoid being around others or might face awkwardness speaking in public settings like school or work.
The effects on oral health
Without Invisalign treatment, crooked or misshapen teeth can make it difficult to brush and floss properly. When teeth are sitting at odd angles, the person may miss them with the brush. The results can be dire. Tooth decay can set in, and eventually, the dentist might have to extract the tooth. Gum disease can also occur, leading to periodontitis. This is a serious condition that can cause tooth loss, bone loss, infections, and even cardiovascular problems.
Clear aligners can also help correct bite dysfunctions. These include underbites, overbites, and crossbites. If these problems remain, the person might start to feel jaw pain, or TMJ. The pain can even radiate into the neck and shoulders. Bite abnormalities can even make it difficult for the person to chew or speak properly.
The challenges with braces
Metal braces might still make sense for some patients. However, more and more people are choosing Invisalign instead. Braces can be rough on the gums, cheeks, and tongue. A blow to the mouth can cause the metal brackets to tear into tissue in the mouth. Braces also tend to cause cuts or sores inside the mouth. Wearing braces can complicate oral hygiene, making it a battle to effectively brush each tooth and floss the right way.
Talking to the dentist
Dentists recommend that parents start looking at fixing crooked teeth and bite problems as early as age 7. Invisalign is not recommended at these young ages, but the dentist can begin preliminary treatments. By the time a patient approaches the teenage years, and all baby teeth are gone, clear aligners become a viable option. The dentist will take X-rays and make impressions of the mouth. The dentist, patients, and parents (if the patient is a minor) can discuss whether aligners are the right treatment. The dentist will explain the process and benefits of wearing aligners.
How Invisalign works
Braces consist of metal brackets and wires, along with elastics. The brackets and wires remain on the teeth throughout the treatment period. Aligners work differently. With Invisalign, the patient wears clear plastic trays, which fit over the person’s teeth. The trays put constant pressure on the teeth, forcing them to move into the right places. The patient gets new trays at every appointment, sometimes as often as a week or two.
Shorter treatment time
Every patient has different needs, with some people having more severe issues than others. Not everyone will have the same treatment length. Still, most patients will not have to do Invisalign as long as they would have to wear braces. A patient could finish aligner treatment in a year or less but usually not more than two years. Braces typically must remain in the patient’s mouth for two years, sometimes up to three.
Only a dentist or orthodontist can remove braces. However, Invisalign trays are removable. In fact, the patient should take out the trays for a few hours a day. It is especially good to remove them while eating. A person wearing clear aligners should wear them 21 to 22 hours a day.
Comfort and convenience
Patients who choose to wear clear aligners should not have to worry about getting sores inside the mouth. Invisalign trays will not rub against the cheeks and cause irritation. The individual wearing the trays should get used to them within a few weeks. With braces, the wearer must avoid eating certain foods. This is not a concern for people with clear aligners.
The cosmetic difference
In many patients’ minds, the biggest drawback to having braces is that they stand out. It is almost impossible not to notice when a person has braces. Clear aligners are virtually invisible. This can help the person avoid feeling embarrassed or self-conscious. Invisalign is popular among adolescents — who are at a point in life where image is important. Adult professionals often choose aligners over braces as well.
Care and maintenance
The effectiveness of Invisalign depends largely on the patient. People who do not wear the trays properly, or at all, will not likely achieve the results they want. Proper care is also essential. The wearer should remove the trays at mealtime and a few times throughout the day to rinse them off. It is also helpful to brush the trays with a fluoride-based toothpaste and a soft-bristled brush. If the person detects damage to the trays or loses them, a prompt call to the dentist is vital.
A different way to straighten teeth
Whether you have never had teeth-straightening treatment, or whether you wore braces earlier in life, Invisalign is for you. These clear aligners are a good way to repair crooked teeth, bite problems, and other issues. There are advantages to choosing this method if you want to improve your smile and feel good about the way you look.
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