So you’re thinking of straightening your teeth and improving your smile? You’re not alone. According to the American Association of Orthodontics, one in five orthodontic patients is an adult. In addition to improving your appearance, orthodontics can help prevent dental problems and improve oral as well as overall health.
Fortunately, there are more options to choose from now. The two primary choices for adults and teenagers who want to straighten their teeth are Invisalign® clear aligners and traditional braces. Which is the better option? That depends. Here are some things to consider in determining your best outcome.
All About Braces
Traditional braces are metal or clear brackets and wires attached to your teeth, sometimes with elastic bands to adjust your jaw position and bite. Traditional braces can treat most types of teeth alignment issues including crowded, crooked, or protruding teeth, as well as complex cases.
It may take a day or so to get used to traditional braces. You’ll most likely experience some discomfort and soreness after they’re first placed on your teeth. Any soreness is easily addressed with acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
Since you can’t remove traditional braces, you get 24/7 teeth straightening. With clear aligners, you can remove them and not wear them the recommended time resulting in lack of treatment progress. Another consideration is that because you can’t remove braces, you need to follow certain food restrictions and careful oral cleaning. And if you don’t take proper care of your teeth, you may have a higher amount of dental plaque buildup, which may cause tooth discoloration and lead to cavities.
With traditional braces, you may accelerate or decrease treatment time with other procedures or appliances. The length of time you need to wear traditional braces depends on your jaw relationship, teeth and alignment issues. Review with your doctor any treatment length considerations, to select your best treatment plan.
Invisalign, the New(er) Option
These clear aligners are best for people with straightforward or simpler alignment issues who want to improve their appearance and smile without noticeable appliances. Clear aligners have a different feel than traditional braces and are less visible. With Invisalign, you get a new aligner every few weeks to help gradually nudge your teeth into the desired position. Moving teeth requires consistent wear of the aligners and some discomfort may occur as teeth are moved to a new alignment.
There are no foods that are off-limits with Invisalign because you remove the aligners while you’re eating and drinking, and brushing your teeth. You also clean the aligners themselves every time you brush.
The key for success with Invisalign is to remember to put the aligners back in your mouth after you take them out. In order for Invisalign aligners to align your bite, you must wear them about 20-22 hours a day. Because they are easy to remove, some people are tempted to remove them frequently. You can also easily misplace or lose them, so you need to be careful. Unfortunately, Invisalign aligners are not an ideal option for people with complex teeth or jaw alignment issues.
Dr. Navin Hukmani can help you decide the best option for you. Call Lansdowne Orthodontics with offices in Leesburg and South Riding, Virginia, for more information on how to choose between braces and Invisalign, or make an appointment online.