Orthodontic Treatment Options
Crooked teeth or other problems with your smile can affect your self-confidence. When you’re unhappy with what you see in the mirror or photos of yourself, you’re unlikely to find happiness otherwise.
The good news is that someone who doesn’t like their smile has several options for improving it.
Orthodontic treatment options come in all shapes and sizes. Just about every issue can be corrected nowadays, and in some cases, you can solve multiple cosmetic and functional problems with a single treatment.
This is the case with both braces and Invisalign. How do you know which of these two treatments is the right method for you, and what should you know before committing to either?
Another option is clear aligners, such as Invisalign, custom-made, removable trays that apply gentle pressure to move the misaligned teeth into proper alignment.
In some cases, if the misalignment is minor, dental veneers or bonding may be used to improve the appearance of the misaligned teeth without straightening them.
Ultimately, the best option will depend on the severity of the misalignment, the individual’s oral health, and personal preferences.
It is recommended to consult with a dentist or orthodontist to determine the most suitable option for correcting crooked teeth.
Traditional braces are what most people still think about when considering how to straighten teeth. Conventional braces use metal brackets and wires to straighten teeth over time.
They apply constant pressure and occasional adjustments until the desired result is achieved. In some cases, in addition to the wires and traditional brackets, rubber bands are also used to guide teeth into place further.
- Straighten teeth
- Correct misalignment
- Functionally and aesthetically correct bite
Most people spend one to three years in braces, most often in their adolescence once they have their adult teeth, but adults can get braces if their smile is never quite as they wanted.
Pros and Cons of Braces
As you might guess, there are both good and bad things about braces.
On the positive side, braces are an effective tool for straightening teeth and correcting general dental misalignment. This has functional benefits and can boost your self-confidence.
Braces treatment can also correct overcrowding or misalignment of specific teeth. Braces can correct under and overbites, which reduces the risk of future dental issues.
Braces are a functionally sound option for many people, but aren’t perfect. The downside of braces treatment includes discomfort and pain, frequent dental/orthodontist visits, and hygiene issues.
Some people also don’t like the look of traditional metal braces, although, in some cases, clear braces are an option.
Additionally, braces are expensive but often more affordable than other options.
Another option for straightening teeth and correcting dental problems is Invisalign.
Invisalign uses clear, customized aligning trays to shift teeth gradually over time. The trays are made from flexible plastic that, as the name suggests, is mostly invisible.
The Invisalign process begins with a consultation with an orthodontist. X-rays, photos, and 3D scans of the patient’s teeth create a personalized treatment plan and custom trays.
Treatment takes about 12 to 18 months, and new trays are used approximately every two weeks, creating gradual shifts of teeth that patients can see but don’t feel as much as with traditional metal braces.
Regular checkups are needed to monitor treatment, but they usually aren’t as frequent or invasive as checkups are with traditional braces.
Invisalign is an excellent alternative to traditional braces, but they aren’t suitable for everyone. The primary benefit of Invisalign is that they are less noticeable than braces.
Most people won’t even know you’re wearing a tray. The clear aligners are also removable, so you can take them out to clean, eat, and drink. This makes maintenance much easier and reduces the risk of problems associated with hygiene.
For many, corrections take less time with Invisalign than they do with traditional braces.
The downside of Invisalign clear aligners is that trays must be worn 22 hours a day. Although this is pretty much the case with braces that aren’t removable, wearing the trays this much can be problematic for some people.
This is especially true if it interferes with the quality of sleep. Invisalign usually costs more than traditional braces, and insurance might be reluctant to cover as much of the cost as it would with braces.
This is due, in part, to the fact that Invisalign is not appropriate for correcting complex dental issues and is usually considered aesthetic and not medically necessary.
Which Is Better?
Which of these two options is better depends on a variety of factors. What might work for someone isn’t appropriate for someone else.
Braces are a reliable option for straightening teeth. But when someone is older and feels uncomfortable wearing braces – something usually associated with adolescence – Invisalign clear aligners will likely be a better option.
Invisalign is discreet and convenient, but it’s not in everyone’s budget. Additionally, if you’re trying to correct significant issues, Invisalign might not be enough. If so, speak to your dentist about the potential corrective options available.
Factors to consider when deciding between Invisalign vs braces include:
- Severity of orthodontic issues
- Maintenance and oral hygiene
- Cost and Insurance