The benefits of properly aligned teeth go far beyond a more confident smile. They include healthier teeth and gums, easier cleaning, and reduced risk of tooth decay and gum disease. When your teeth are properly aligned, your gums fit more securely around each tooth to defend against bad bacteria that gets trapped between your teeth, reducing the risk of gum infections or gingivitis. And that’s where Invisalign really excels. These transparent, comfortable tooth aligners shift your teeth into the proper position—without brackets and wires.
Invisalign vs. Braces: The Basics
Both braces and Invisalign were designed to straighten your teeth to improve your smile and oral health. Over time, both help to solve any problems you have with crowding, spacing, overbites, underbites, and more. Braces have been around since the early 1800s, while Invisalign was released to the public in 2000.
Braces are made of metal brackets glued to your teeth and connected by metal wires and rubber bands. The wires and rubber bands exert constant pressure on your teeth, which eventually shifts them to their proper position in your mouth.
Invisalign consists of aligner trays—one for the upper teeth, one for the lower—made of smooth, comfortable, BPA-free clear plastic. Like braces, each set of aligners exerts constant pressure on your teeth to gently, gradually shift them into place.
How Invisalign Works
First, your orthodontist will take X-rays, pictures, and impressions of your teeth, which Invisalign will use to create a digital 3D image of them, plus a treatment plan including the exact movements required for your teeth and the approximate length of treatment. Based on your treatment plan, Invisalign creates a series of custom-made aligners specifically for you.
All you have to do is wear your aligners throughout the day and remove them when you eat, drink anything that isn’t water, and brush and floss your teeth. Generally, you switch to a new set of aligners every two weeks. Each set is specifically designed to further the alignment of your teeth until you’re showing off your best smile.
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Choosing Your Best Option
Compared to metal brackets and brightly colored rubber bands, the virtual invisibility of the clear plastic Invisalign trays are definitely a selling point for many patients. However, the benefits of Invisalign are not limited to aesthetics.
When it comes to finding the right option for straightening your teeth and comparing pros and cons, the advantages become apparent. With regular braces, you may experience some or all of the following: pain, discomfort, mouth sores or injuries caused by the brace wires, tooth decay (from inadequate brushing and flossing), plaque buildup, tooth discoloration, tooth/bracket breakage, or difficulty eating.
As if that weren’t enough, there are also the personal sacrifices—with braces, you cannot eat popcorn, chips, bagels, hard-crusted bread, pizza crust, pretzels, nuts, certain candies, apples, carrots, corn on the cob, and more.
Invisalign trays are removable. This means that as long as you take them out before you eat, you don’t need to make any changes to your diet. And if you’ve got a special occasion coming up—a party, a wedding, a big meeting—just take your aligners out for that time and pop them back in when you’re ready.
Also, Invisalign requires fewer visits to your orthodontist (approximately one visit every six weeks), which means it’s perfect for people with busy schedules.
There are only a few instances in which Dr. Wes might not recommend Invisalign—because they are separately attached to each tooth, braces are generally better for more complicated alignment issues, such as rotating teeth or moving teeth vertically, and issues with your hard-to-reach back molars. For the vast majority of your tooth-straightening needs, Invisalign is the way to go.
To learn whether Invisalign is right for you, call today to make an appointment with us at My Family Dentistry. We’re committed to providing informative, gentle care for our clients in a relaxing environment.