If you have been looking to straighten your teeth and add a sparkle to your smile, then you would have discovered all the various options available to you. The two most common types of realignment treatments are traditional metal braces and a newer technology called Invisalign. But how do you know which option is best for you?
Here is a complete guide to both Invisalign and conventional braces to help you make your choice:
- Your dentist who specializes in Invisalign will examine your correction needs and advise you on the treatment plan. Your initial visit will include making a three-dimensional image of your teeth.
- Your teeth are realigned by wearing clear, plastic aligner trays that are changed regularly so your teeth can move gradually into the desired position.
- The aligners are made specifically for you from a durable, safe and comfortable plastic.
- The clear aligners make the process invisible to others.
Benefits of Invisalign include:
- Eating and drinking is easier and more comfortable because you can remove the plastic aligners. This helps to avoid food getting stuck in awkward spaces and makes cleaning your teeth easier.
- The clear plastic trays are ideal for people who are bothered by the appearance of conventional braces. Invisalign gives you a discrete way to straighten your teeth without anyone noticing!
- The superior type of plastic chosen to make the Invisalign aligner trays makes wearing the trays easy and very comfortable. There are no metal pieces that can cut into your mouth or create sores.
- Trays are removable but you’re required to wear them for at least 22 hours daily for about 6 to 18 months, on average. The total duration of treatment depends on each individual’s requirements.
- The plastic trays are easily cleaned with a special cleaning system or using tepid water.
- Trays will be typically changed every two weeks to keep the teeth realigning gradually.
Disadvantages of Invisalign:
- The higher cost of Invisalign is a big downside.
- The removable plastic trays make patient compliance very important. If you don’t wear the aligner as prescribed, treatment time will take longer.
- If you’re not fastidious about cleaning the trays, they can discolour and lose the advantage of being invisible.
- Invisalign may not be suitable for complex dental corrections.
- Most people typically think of metal braces when they consider straightening their teeth.
- There are various types of braces available. The most common one used is the traditional metal braces. Other types include ceramic and lingual braces. The basis on how they work is all the same.
- With traditional metal braces, small metal brackets are glued to each individual tooth surface and metal wires are threaded through each bracket. These wires are manipulated at each dental visit to gradually move the teeth into the required position.
- The wires can be either silver, tooth-coloured or some funky colours to have some fun during the process.
Benefits of metal braces:
- The brackets are bonded permanently to the tooth, so you are not at risk of losing an aligner and affecting the treatment goals. This is especially ideal for non-compliant and younger patients.
- There is no room for patient error, so the treatment time is usually shorter than Invisalign. There is no chance to lose or damage your tray, or forget to replace into the mouth after cleaning, etc.
- Complex realignment issues are easily fixed with metal braces because wires can easily be individually tweaked to reach the desired position.
- Your dentist will demonstrate how to maintain great oral hygiene while you wear the braces. Brushing and flossing is easy with metal braces.
- The total cost depends on the dental issues that have to be addressed but is generally less than an Invisalign treatment.
- Once the brackets are removed after treatment is complete, you may be given a retainer to keep the teeth in place.
Disadvantages of metal braces:
- Having metal braces may limit the types of foods you can eat.
- Cleaning your teeth effectively may be tricky and you have to pay close attention to your dental hygiene to prevent any tooth decay or gum disease.
- The metal braces may make you feel self-conscious and affect your self-confidence while you have them in place, especially in adults. This factor may even put you off getting treatment permanently.
- You have to be extra vigilant to prevent any tissue damage. Certain activities, like contact sports, may not be ideal because the chance of oral injury is higher.
Now you have all the information you need to make an informed decision. There are advantages and disadvantages to both types of treatment. Speak to your dentist about your concerns and you can make the final choice.
Whichever you choose, after a successful treatment you will have a beautiful smile and a healthier mouth because well-aligned teeth are easier to clean and prevent cavities.
Dr. Nabil Mockbil is an Orthodontist who received his DDS in 2001 from Umea University in Sweden, regarded as having the best dentist programme in Sweden for undergraduates. He’s now the founder of Swedish Dental Clinic in Dubai