You already know that straight teeth and a big smile can have positive effects on your confidence and well-being. What may be less clear is the winner in the ongoing debate of Invisalign vs braces. Both are available at Dr. Scott Runnels Orthodontics in Destin, Inlet Beach, and Santa Rosa Beach, FL, and both deliver great results. It therefore comes down to personal preference, but to make this decision, you first need a few facts.
Invisalign vs Braces: Which One Works Faster?
In short, yes, Invisalign works more quickly than traditional braces. Invisalign trays are customized throughout the course of your treatment. Every one to two weeks, you will receive new aligners made specifically for you. The aligners change to continue improving and moving your teeth into the desired positions. Patients usually finish treatment in just one or two years, whereas traditional braces can take up to three years to yield substantial results.
Keep in mind the time necessary to give the results you want largely depends on the complexity of your treatment plan. To illustrate, patients with minor misalignments may only need to wear Invisalign for six months. Those with severe crowding issues, on the other hand, may need to wear their trays for up to 18 months. It’s therefore important you follow all instructions regarding your treatment to obtain results as quickly as possible.
The Specifics of Invisalign Treatment
As mentioned a moment ago, Invisalign employs clear aligners based on computer-generated images and impressions taken from your mouth. The trays then apply force to teeth as a whole rather than individually.
Each new tray applies pressure to different areas to ensure you progress through treatment as expected. One tray will move your teeth an average of 1/10 of a millimeter, slowly but surely pushing your teeth into their ideal positions.
A Brief Comparison with Braces
Braces, on the other hand, move each tooth individually. Although each metal component, including the wires and brackets, pulls teeth into alignment, the arch-wire does most of the work. As the braces push and pull your teeth, they create pressure that can make your teeth and gums more sensitive.
How Your Teeth Know to Move
This discussion will be a little more technical than what we’ve covered to this point. Newton’s Third Law of Physics states, “for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” This concept applies to your teeth with forces known as osteoclastic and osteoblastic activities.
The former is the process of breaking down the bone to allow teeth to move, while the former describes filling the gap left by the moving tooth. This give and take movement allows clear aligners (and braces) to move and shift your teeth.
What to Expect from Invisalign
The first step is a consultation in which we will review your teeth and understand your personal smile needs. We’ll then take impressions of your teeth and use them for the design of your customized aligner trays. These trays must be worn for 22 hours a day, but the good news is they can be removed for brushing and eating. After your initial appointment, you’ll receive routine tray changes and return to our office for periodic check-ups.
And here we have more good news. Metal braces require frequent office visits to tighten the rubber bands or wires. Invisalign, on the other hand, gives you the freedom to enjoy more time between check-up appointments. We have fewer components to check with a tray, and the likelihood that maintenance will be required – such as with a broken wire – is slim to none.
Once treatment is complete, you’ll simply need to wear a retainer every night to maintain your results and keep your teeth straight and beautiful. Remember not to eat while the retainer is in, and never drink hot beverages that can melt or damage the material. Also, be sure to rinse the retainer between taking it out and putting it back into your mouth. It’s best to properly clean your retainer at least once a day.
Maintaining your teeth post-treatment also requires a commitment to basic oral care. You should brush and floss twice daily, visit your dentist every six months, and stay in contact with our office. You can then call a member of our team if something doesn’t feel quite right or you damage your night retainer.
Who Is the Ideal Invisalign Patient?
The argument of Invisalign vs braces almost inevitably tips in the former’s favor for most adults. Those of all ages, from 20 to 60, are choosing to take control of their own oral health and correct dental concerns. But they don’t want metal braces that draw undue attention to their teeth.
Instead, they want the clear, discreet nature of Invisalign trays. These successfully straighten and position teeth without making adults feel awkward or self-conscious in professional and social settings.
Teens Love the Flexibility of Trays
Adults aren’t the only ones harnessing the power of Invisalign. It’s also ideal for teens who don’t want to look (too) different from their peers or are unnerved by traditional braces. And thanks to shorter treatment times and easier use, teens tend to feel more comfortable with Invisalign. It’s the perfect way to get a winning smile without the lengthy treatment time and frequent office visits required of braces.
Benefits of Invisalign
It’s no secret that traditional braces are a pain to maintain. Whether you’re enjoying a family meal or eating out, you’re likely to worry about food getting stuck in the brackets. Then, you must maneuver your toothbrush and floss with care to ensure every metal component is cleaned properly.
Invisalign requires that you only remove the aligner trays. Once you’ve brushed and flossed, you simply brush the tray with warm water and toothpaste before placing it back into your mouth. These steps are pretty easy to remember and help simplify your oral care routine.
No Need for Food Adjustments
Invisalign allows you to eat and drink just about anything you want (within reason) because the aligners are removable. This helps reduce brushing time and similarly eliminates the need to alter your diet. But you do need to rinse your mouth and brush your teeth before reinstalling the aligners.
Improved Comfort Levels
If you’re debating between Invisalign vs braces, you’ve likely considered the comfort level of each. Invisalign is more physically soothing to wear because it has no wires or brackets. This means you don’t have to worry about painful nicks or cuts to sensitive tissues inside your mouth. The trays are also smooth to reduce general irritations, eliminating sharp edges that can rub your mouth raw.
Fixes Common Dental Issues
Oral health concerns are different for each person. Some of the most common alignment problems that require braces or Invisalign include:
- Open bite
- Misaligned teeth
- Gap teeth
- Crowded teeth
Addressing these concerns now can help prevent cavities and gum disease in the future. Crowding can be especially problematic because it inhibits proper cleaning and flossing. And sound oral health improves your smile as well as reduces your risks for chronic health conditions like heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and osteoporosis.
More Reliable Than Other Aligners
Many competitors have attempted to replicate the Invisalign model, but these knock-offs may end up costing you more in the long run. The companies behind such products do not offer dental monitoring. And if you have questions, you likely will speak to a customer service rep rather than a professional educated in dentistry. With Invisalign, you come into our office for regular check-ups and have a team of well-qualified assistants ready to help at any time.
Final Invisalign Details
Invisalign trays are made of medical-grade polyurethane resins (plastic) with a high molecular weight. This biocompatible material is flexible enough to be worn every day but strong enough to gradually shift your teeth through forced pressure. Because the plastic is clear, you’ll feel at-ease throughout the treatment process.
Last but not least, Invisalign trays do not impact speech. Some patients worry they will have a lisp, but you’ll quickly adapt to having the trays inside your mouth. This means you will speak just as you normally did without drawing attention to your treatment.
A Gorgeous Smile Is Right Around the Corner
Don’t let the Invisalign vs braces debate keep you from a gorgeous smile. Both options can effectively straighten your teeth and boost your confidence. Invisalign, however, does work more quickly and offers a more comfortable treatment. If you still need help deciding, we’re happy to offer some advice. Schedule your consultation today by contacting Dr. Scott Runnels Orthodontics in Destin, Inlet Beach, and Santa Rosa Beach, FL.