No one likes to hear that they need braces, especially as an adult or teenager when there are professional and social implications to be considered. However, just because you find yourself in an Orthodontist’s chair doesn’t mean you’re destined to have a mouth full of metal brackets and wires. Thankfully, advances in dental care have made less intrusive Orthodontic treatments, like Invisalign®, accessible to more patients.
Invisalign provides orthodontic teeth alignment with clear, BPA-free plastic aligners. These aligners fit over patients’ teeth like flexible, thin mouthguards and work using the same principle of consistent, gentle pressure as metal braces. Aligners are custom-made in a lab from a 3D scan of patients’ teeth and are worn for 20-22 hours per day. Every few weeks, patients receive new aligners designed to continue correcting and shifting teeth alignment. While Invisalign technology and traditional, metal braces work similarly, Invisalign offers a number of significant advantages:
Comfort – Invisalign aligners are made from lightweight, smooth, flexible plastic fitted to each patient. Unlike metal braces, there are no brackets or wires to irritate gums or cheeks. In addition to increased overall comfort, this also means patients don’t have to worry about cutting their mouth while playing sports or a musical instrument.
Appearance - One of the main considerations patients have about orthodontic treatment is the look of metal braces. One of the biggest benefits of treatment with Invisalign is that the aligners are made of clear, smooth plastic making them virtually invisible. Not only does this appeal to self-conscious teenage patients, but adults also love the fact that their dental treatment isn’t obvious to colleagues and clients.
Maintenance – Since much of the orthodontic work occurs before patients ever receive their aligners, visits to the orthodontist for adjustments or progress checks are kept to a minimum. This means less time away from work and school (sorry, kids).
Oral Hygiene – Even with the best of intentions, consistent brushing and flossing with braces is challenging. Trying to weave in and out of brackets and wires – especially with a tender mouth – isn’t for the faint of heart (or most teenagers). Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for patients to get their metal braces removed only to find cavities, gum disease, and stained teeth. Invisalign aligners, however, are removed while brushing, flossing, and even whitening your teeth, making it easier to maintain good oral health.
Food – Not only do metal braces require more maintenance, but they also limit the types of food patients can eat. While some off-limit foods are obvious because of their tendency to get stuck between the metal wires (i.e., gum, caramels, popcorn), many are not. Even healthy foods that are bit into, like apples and carrots, can cause damage to metal braces. Invisalign aligners, however, are removed when eating so dietary restrictions aren’t necessary.
Sports - Invisalign is an excellent option for patients who participate in sports. Most sports have an element of contact or, at the very least, the chance of impact to the mouth that could cause damage to the patient and their braces. With Invisalign, patients can wear a regular mouthguard while safely storing aligners in their case until after the game.
Invisalign offers a number of benefits and, while lifestyle is an important factor, the type of orthodontic treatment most suitable for you also depends on the type of orthodontic problem you need to have corrected. Additionally, it’s worthwhile to note that straightening your teeth is a medical procedure and should be overseen by a licensed medical professional to ensure the most efficient and effective outcome. In the end, though Invisalign is the best choice for some patients, it’s important to discuss your options and consult with our dental team before making a decision.