How do I know if I need Invisalign or braces?
February 19, 2019
Dealing with dental alignment problems isn’t just about improving the appearance of your teeth, although this is obviously a huge advantage. Research has shown that orthodontic issues related to the placement of teeth and the jaw is a key contributor in the development of a range of oral health conditions, which can include:
Uneven wear on the teeth
Decay forming in hard to reach areas between teeth that are gapped, crooked or twisted
Problems with the temporomandibular joint (TMJ)
In the vast majority of instances, both Invisalign and conventional orthodontic braces are highly successful in resolving problems with both the alignment of your teeth within the arch and addressing issues with the way that your teeth come together when you close your mouth – something which is known as your ‘bite’.
Here is what you need to know about both of these treatments, which will help you to make an informed decision about which type of orthodontic solution is most suitable for you. Of course, you can expect your dentist to also make a recommendation as to which would be most effective for your individual dental requirements.
About orthodontic braces
Orthodontic braces have long been considered the go-to treatment for patients who are suffering with problems with the alignment of their teeth, or who have issues with their bite. Braces tend to be associated with children and teenagers, but an increasing number of adults are also opting for orthodontic treatment to help improve their smile and their oral health.
There are several different types of orthodontic brace available. Some are fixed and can only be removed by a professional. Others should be worn for extended periods of time but can be removed in order for the patient to clean their teeth. Braces can be made of metal, or in some cases, of clear ceramic. This latter variety are much more discreet than metal alternatives and are a popular choice amongst adults and teenagers who are particularly concerned about the way their teeth will look during their treatment.
Braces work by applying continuous pressure to the teeth over a long period of time, which encourage them to move in a specific direction. As the teeth migrate into their new position, the bone of the jaw also changes shape, enabling bite problems such as an overbite, underbite or crossbite to be addressed. In order for the treatment to work correctly, you will need to visit your orthodontist approximately every 6 weeks so that your braces can be adjusted, and your teeth can continue to be moved into the correct position. In most cases, braces will need to be worn for between 12 and 24 months for the treatment to be effective, but this can vary between patients.
After your treatment has concluded, you will need to wear a retainer for some time. This is a clear, plastic aligner worn over your teeth so that they do not move back into their original position.
Invisalign is a newer alternative to orthodontic braces that is much more discreet, making it a more popular choice with many patients. Invisalign also moves teeth into their new positions by exerting gentle pressure on them. However, rather than relying on metal or acrylic framework to move the teeth, Invisalign uses a series of custom designed plastic aligners that sit over the top of the teeth much like a retainer. Each aligner must be worn in order, and for at least 22 hours each day, only being removed for eating and cleaning. Each phase of the treatment usually lasts around three weeks before you need to move on to the next aligner in the series.
Since you can take your Invisalign aligner out for eating, there is no restriction on the foods that you can enjoy. You can also take it out to clean your teeth, which is beneficial for your oral hygiene as it is easier to brush them normally than to try and clean around the brackets and metalwork of braces. The clear aligners are virtually invisible once in place, meaning that there is no unsightly metal on display when you talk, laugh and smile.
If you have problems with the alignment of your teeth and think that orthodontic braces or Invisalign may hold the answer to transforming the appearance and health of your teeth, please contact our experienced and knowledgeable dental team to schedule a consultation. We would be delighted to discuss your options with you and help you decide which treatment is right for you.