Invisalign or its competitors?
Invisalign is a brand name of a specific type of of “clear braces,” the modern alternative to conventional wire orthodontics. Invisalign gradually, gently and comfortably moves your teeth with a series of almost invisible clear aligners to create your new smile in only a few months. Unlike old fashioned metal braces, you can remove your aligners to eat whatever you want, to brush and floss, or for important events like close up pictures. Invisalign is the “clear alternative to braces,” and works for teens and adults. Invisalign clear aligners often work faster, are less expensive and don’t contribute to gum disease or cavities like metal braces.
What are the Advantages of Clear Braces over Convention Metal Braces?
Most people have heard that Invisalign (and other clear aligners) are “Removable, Comfortable and Invisible.” All true but what exactly does this mean for a patient?
Probably the biggest advantage, but also paradoxically a disadvantage, is that the aligners are removable. This is great when you want to eat something hard, chewy or sticky that you couldn’t eat with conventional metal braces. It’s also great when you want to brush and floss … a really cumbersome and difficult process with non-removable metal braces. This is why there is no increase in gum problems or cavities with clear aligners. Are you having a close up picture taken for a special occasion? No problem! You can take your aligners out for a few minutes.
But here’s the rub. You have to remember to put them back in your mouth! Aligners need to be worn about 22 hours a day to effectively move teeth. Wearing them in your pocket doesn’t count! Clear aligner therapy, unlike convention metal braces, depends more than anything on your willingness to wear them. Wearing them only half the time does not move the teeth only have as fast; the teeth stop moving at all! People interested in the benefits of clear aligners must be aware of the commitment to wear them in order to get the great results they offer.
Clear aligner therapy is usually more comfortable than conventional orthodontics because it uses more gentle pressure to move the teeth. When someone says they had their braces “tightened,” it’s because the metal wire is putting a lot of force on the teeth. This can hurt. When you switch to the next set of aligners, the new set typically feels snug for about an hour. But no one, in the hundreds of patients we have treated with clear aligners, has ever said it hurts.
Lastly, clear aligners are clear for a reason. We could just as easily make them green instead and they would work just as well. But the fact that they are clear means that from a speaking distance of about 14 inches, other people cannot see that you are wearing them. We have lots of patients, including some of our own dental staff, that deal with the public every day and no one call tell they are having their smile improved with clear orthodontics!
How do clear braces work?
Invisalign uses the hi-tech computers to predict your ideal smile and tooth position. The computer then makes a series of clear plastic “aligners” to slowly and comfortably move your teeth in small steps. You will typically start wearing a new set of upper and lower aligners every two weeks. Each set gently “nudges” you teeth toward your new smile. Because each step is small, rather than the “big steps” with metal orthodontics, Invisalign is a very comfortable process. Although you change to a new set of aligners every two weeks, you do not have to come into our office that often. We typically give you three or four sets of aligners so you only have to come in for a short appointment every six to eight weeks. Invisalign treatment is Comfortable, Invisible, Removable and Convenient! Invisalign is the modern, computerized way to create perfect teeth.
Does Invisalign work for teenagers?
Yes, absolutely! Invisalign has a great advantage over conventional metal orthodontics for teenagers. Not only is Invisalign much more comfortable but there is no increased risk of cavities with Invisalign. Patients can brush and floss as usual. Metal braces make brushing difficult and flossing almost impossible. This is why many teenagers get their metal braces off only to discover they have a mouth full of cavities. Teenagers are sometimes not diligent about avoiding sticky or hard foods when they have metal braces. This can cause emergency trips to the dentist to repair loose, broken or sharp wires. With Invisalign, there are no wires and you can eat whatever you like!