When news comes from a dentist that tooth alignment correction is needed, whether it is for an adult or a child, it can create a lot of questions. How long will this take?
When news comes from a dentist that tooth alignment correction is needed, whether it is for an adult or a child, it can create a lot of questions. How long will this take? What will my cost be? Is this going to hurt? Are people going to comment on my braces?
Fortunately, orthodontics has come a long way since the days of metal braces. While they still are a viable option for certain patients, there are new methods for tooth alignment correction that can make the process easier and relatively painless!
Traditional braces use metal or ceramic brackets that attach directly to teeth and are adjusted over time by an orthodontist to straighten and align teeth. While they have been a long-standing method for correcting issues with tooth alignment, there are some obvious downsides. Aside from the stigma and appearance being undesirable, there are food and drink restrictions to consider, a higher risk for infection because of bleeding gums, and challenges in maintaining good oral hygiene while they are attached to the teeth.
Invisalign takes a different approach, which an increasing number of orthodontists and dentists are recommending to their patients. The main difference between Invisalign liners and braces is their physics to achieve the desired result. While both methods force teeth into a new alignment over time, they can affect the mouth and the comfort of the patient differently.
Braces rely on a pulling method to twist and realign teeth into place in the patient's gums. As teeth gradually move over time, an orthodontist will tighten the brackets so that force is being continuously applied to the teeth. This can be an uncomfortable process, aside from the obvious aesthetic change in a patient's smile during the duration of the treatment.
With Invisalign, doctors create a mold of the patient's teeth using advanced laser-guided technology for as accurate a fit as possible. This method relies on pushing, rather than pulling, to gently twist and guide teeth into place. This reduces the risk of bleeding gums and mouth pain. The clear liners make the correction more discreet as well, which may be appealing to patients. As the teeth slowly shift into their new positions every few weeks, a new mold is made to ensure that correction is taking place consistently over time.
The duration of Invisalign treatment varies based on the severity of the alignment case. The more irregularities there are in how teeth are placed, the longer the treatment will last and the more steps between the beginning and end. Fortunately, the transition between steps is simple and painless!
One of the biggest practical drawbacks to traditional braces is the restriction of what the wearer can eat and drink. You probably remember having a friend with braces in high school who could never eat popcorn or chew gum because it would damage or get stuck in their brackets. There were also those pesky rubber bands that had to be changed! Invisible liners can be removed to eat, brush, and floss, which makes it possible to continue caring for your teeth the same way you would without correction measures.
To maintain their effectiveness, Invisalign liners should be worn up to 22 hours per day. This ensures that the correction process is taking place efficiently and that teeth are not reverting to their previous positions. Experts say it takes about 2 weeks in a new position for the teeth and bones to settle there permanently. So, while a wearer does have the freedom to remove their aligners while eating, it is necessary to wear them the majority of the day and night.
Compliance with wearing aligners for the appropriate amount of time per day also ensures the shortest possible treatment period. Teeth that shift back to their previous positions or do not move much over time require more aligners to be made to get a patient back on track. Tooth movement also varies from person to person. Bone structure and composition as well as the severity of misalignment can cause the treatment period to vary from case to case.
The best part about an Invisalign treatment is how personal it is. We have established that every patient has unique needs and a unique set of circumstances, and therefore has unique goals. It can even be effective in treating teeth that are overly crowded in the mouth. It can help with gaps in the teeth, as well.
A patient is never too old to consider a smile adjustment. Invisalign can make the decision easy to take a step toward fixing dental alignment challenges that may have been a life-long issue for some patients. Even adults can enjoy a discreet treatment that will not disrupt their daily lives. For teens and young adults, they can have peace of mind knowing that they are having their orthodontic problems corrected without the stigma and embarrassment that can come with wearing traditional braces. In the end, Invisalign liners offer a solid solution for just about everyone!