Once you make the decision to adjust your teeth, you need to determine whether traditional braces or Invisalign is best suited to your needs. Although both choices work effectively, understanding the benefits of each can help you make a decision.
Know What You Want to Correct
Your first step is determining whether or not Invisalign will fix the problem that you want to correct. Invisalign closes gaps between your teeth, adjusts minor crowding, and changes mild overbites, underbites, and crossbites.
Although Invisalign effectively corrects minor problems, it doesn’t always help with more severe cases. If you need to rotate canines or premolars, move teeth vertically, or fix severely crooked teeth, traditional braces might offer a better solution for you.
Less Metal Means More Confidence
Next, you might consider appearance. Invisalign utilizes clear plastic retainer trays that are nearly invisible. Many adults prefer the invisible option for a more professional appearance, and the invisible retainers can make teens feel less self-conscious.
Maintenance and Oral Health
Oral health and hygiene also factor into the decision. With traditional braces, you brush the brackets and wires while you brush your teeth. Brackets can make brushing and flossing difficult, and you need to avoid any toothpaste with whitening effects in order to prevent discoloration.
Invisalign makes hygiene a little easier. Simply remove your retainers as you brush your teeth. Rinse and brush the retainers in lukewarm water, and pop them back in once you finish brushing and flossing.
Both choices move your teeth at different rates, which can affect your comfort. Every month, traditional braces get tightened in order to put new pressure on your teeth to encourage them to move. Unfortunately, this can make your teeth sore after your visit.
Invisalign reduces the amount of discomfort you experience. These clear retainers use subtle pressure to slowly adjust your teeth. Every two weeks or so, you will receive a new retainer that encourages slightly more movement than the previous one.
Invisalign, Braces, and Your Appetite
For some people, the dietary limitations of braces play a large part in which option they choose. In order to avoid bending or breaking your wires and brackets, you need to stop eating certain foods. The removable nature of Invisalign allows you to eat whatever you want (as long as you remove them first). You must also remember to remove your retainers before drinking hot or sugary beverages.
Length of Treatment
Treatment length can impact which option works best for you. Traditional braces take an average of 2 years to fully straighten your teeth. Comparatively, Invisalign usually only takes 6 to 18 months, making them ideal if you want your teeth straightened in time for an event. Both options usually require follow-up with a retainer.
Self-Control and Invisalign
Finally, what you know about your own self-discipline can inform your ultimate decision. The removable nature of Invisalign means that you need to have enough self-discipline to wear them every day for at least 22 hours. Leaving off or forgetting to wear the retainer could undo your progress, extending your treatment time. Traditional braces are affixed to your teeth for the duration of your treatment, making them ideal for people who suspect that they would give into the temptation of leaving out their retainers.
For more information on choosing the tooth straightening option best suited to your needs, Drs. Ken and Marnie Collins will happily meet with you. Please contact them online or call their office at 509-368-7788 in Spokane or 509-228-3998 in Spokane Valley, or make an appointment online.