What is the Difference Between Invisalign and Braces?
November 1, 2018
Everyone wants and deserves to have a great smile. When we look around at those around us, we automatically believe that those with straight, bright and attractive teeth are enjoying success in every area of their lives and we want to emulate that for ourselves. This is one of the driving forces behind the dramatic increase in the number of patients choosing cosmetic dentistry to improve the appearance of their smile.
If your teeth sit perfectly straight next to one another without overlapping or having gaps between them, and if they meet together perfectly when you close your jaw then you are one of the lucky few that doesn’t suffer from misalignment or bite problems. Unfortunately, for most of us, our teeth are far from uniform in their positioning. This can create issues not only with the way that your teeth look, but also with their health. This is because teeth that don’t sit flush against one another are more likely to have little gaps that are hard for your toothbrush to reach, increasing the chances of decay and periodontal disease developing. Similarly, when you have an imperfect bite you may find that there is uneven wear on your teeth, as well as experiencing pain in and around the temporomandibular joint.
Invisalign and traditional orthodontic braces are the two, primary solutions recommended for treating misalignment and bite problems. But what is the difference between Invisalign and braces? Here is everything that you need to know.
The design of Invisalign is completely unique and entirely different to that of conventional braces. Most people are familiar with the metal framework, brackets and wires that are adjusted regularly to move teeth into their new and improved position. These are key characteristics in regular braces. In contrast, Invisalign uses a series of custom-designed, transparent plastic aligners. These are very similar to the retainer that you usually have provider after wearing braces. However, rather than one set position, you are supplied with an entire series of plastic aligners, each one representing a stage in the process of moving your teeth. They must be worn in order and for a minimum of 22 hours per day for the treatment to be successful.
The number of visits to your dentist you will need to make
Since orthodontic braces are attached to your teeth, the only way to make the adjustments needed to move the teeth into their new position is by adjusting the wires and elastics that apply force to them. Unfortunately, this isn’t something that you can do for yourself. Instead, you will need to visit your dentist approximately every 2-4 weeks for each adjustment for the duration of your treatment. While Invisalign takes place in stages too, most patients can simply move on to wearing the next aligner in the series without the need to visit their dentist. Instead, you can expect to attend check-ups to monitor the progress of your treatment every 6-8 weeks.
The way your teeth look during your treatment
One of the biggest advantages that Invisalign has over conventional braces is that it is extremely discreet. There is no way of hiding the metalwork of regular braces, but since Invisalign uses aligners made from transparent plastic, they are much harder to spot in someone’s mouth. This means that the wearer needn’t worry about feeling embarrassed or ashamed about the way that their teeth look throughout the treatment. You can even smile for photos and it will be virtually impossible to see your aligners.
The foods that you can eat
As you can probably imagine, certain foods are simply off limits for wearers of regular braces. Anything sticky or chewy can become stuck in the brace, while things that are hard can actually cause damage. If you like popcorn then you are out of luck, as anything like this that breaks up into tiny pieces can get lodged in gaps in your brace and cause decay and damage too. Fortunately for those people who chose Invisalign, nothing is off limits. This is because Invisalign aligners can be removed for brief periods of time such as when eating, enabling you to enjoy the foods that you like without compromise. Just make sure you clean your teeth thoroughly before you pop your aligners back in so that you aren’t trapping food and bacteria underneath.
There are several key differences between Invisalign and regular braces, but which is right for you really depends on your individual circumstances. Your dentist will be happy to make a recommendation based on your dental needs. If you have further questions about Invisalign or orthodontic braces, or if you would like to arrange for an appointment to discuss your misalignment or bite problems, please don’t hesitate to call our Mesa, AZ office.