Orthodontics is not everyone’s cup of tea, but for many, it is a necessity. Braces are very deeply associated with pre-pubescence, which is why many people would rather have crooked teeth than get them fitted during adulthood.
Invisalign is the modern-day solution that promises the same great results without all the drawbacks that come with traditional braces. To find out whether Invisalign is right for you, keep reading.
What is Invisalign?
Invisalign are marketed as “invisible braces”. They are clear plastic aligners that sit over crooked teeth and gently reposition them until they are straight. Over the period of the treatment, the patient must repeatedly switch to “straighter” aligners every couple of weeks until the teeth are straight and the “perfect smile” has been achieved.
How does Invisalign work?
The fundamental workings of Invisalign are similar to that of traditional braces – to slowly reposition the teeth using force until the teeth are straight.
Invisalign uses clear plastic aligners (similar to retainers or mouth guards) to gently push the teeth into a new position over time. To get the best results, patients must wear their aligners for at least 22 hours a day, and visit the dentist every few weeks (between 4-6 weeks) to get a new set of Invisalign aligners.
The Invisalign treatment time is on a case-by-case basis. Depending on the person, it can span as little as 20 weeks or as long as 60. Some adults may even need to wear Invisalign for up to two years, but that’s only in severe cases.
Dentists will stress the importance of maintaining a high standard of oral hygiene throughout the duration of the treatment. This is easy with Invisalign, as the aligners can be removed and cleaned throughout the day and while you eat, meaning less food is likely to get stuck in the teeth and cause plaque buildup. The more diligent patients are with their oral hygiene, the better their results will be.
How does Invisalign differ from traditional braces?
Invisalign has a lot of dissimilarities from traditional “train track” braces. Here’s how they compare:
Invisalign is near-invisible –
It’s no secret that the biggest downside of getting traditional braces fitted is that they are metal. This is far from ideal as it is hard to hide and can make its wearers feel self-conscious and that everyone is looking at their braces. This can hinder self-confidence, especially in the workplace.
Invisalign, on the other hand, is designed so that it is not obvious that the wearer is wearing braces. This means that a person can live their day-to-day life as normal while fixing their smile.
Invisalign is removable –
Another big difference between traditional metal braces and Invisalign is that while metal braces are glued onto the teeth with an adhesive and therefore cannot be removed during the entirety of the treatment (which can be as long as 4-5 years), Invisalign can be removed at any point. This makes eating a whole lot easier and more hygienic, as instead of food getting stuck in the metal wires you can remove the clear plastic aligner during meal times.
The benefits of Invisalign
A big benefit of Invisalign over traditional metal braces is that they are more hygienic. This is because Invisalign clear aligners can be removed and cleaned on a daily basis, whereas food and bacteria can become stuck in traditional braces, and therefore require a specialized type of cleaning. Flossing is even a possibility with Invisalign, which is a new thing for brace-wearers.
In order to keep your mouth healthy and fresh, practicing a high standard of dental hygiene is key, and this is easy with Invisalign.
Perhaps the most appealing thing about Invisalign is that the aligners are removable, meaning you can take them out while you eat and avoid the hassle of getting food stuck in them. Plus, although the Invisaligns are near-invisible, wearers may feel more confident without them in during high-pressure situations or social occasions – important meetings at work or at a networking event, for example. As long as you wear them for 22 hours a day, the results will be on-track.
Another great benefit of Invisalign is that it has a greater level of comfort than metal braces. Those who have had metal “train track” braces in the past will know that not only do they hurt when they are tightened, but the metal wiring can scratch and cut the soft gum tissue inside the cheek, making the experience a whole lot more taxing.
However, the process of straightening teeth is a lot more pleasant with Invisalign. The tightening and moving of the teeth are still the same sensations, but because the clear aligners are smooth and comfortable, there is not added discomfort.
The disadvantages of Invisalign
Invisalign is an expensive alternative –
The bottom line is this: if you want straight teeth you can have traditional “train track” braces at little or no cost. Invisalign, on the other hand, is a luxury alternative that is not as affordable. Therefore, if you are budget conscious you may consider opting for a former, especially if you have been advised that your treatment length will be short. If your orthodontist thinks you will be wearing braces for a number of years, you may consider how traditional braces would fit into your day-to-day lifestyle, and what impact they would have.
There is an adjustment period –
A downside of Invisalign is that although they are near-invisible, they are not pain-free. The process of moving, repositioning and realigning crooked or wonky teeth is, by default, an uncomfortable one, regardless of what the method is. Therefore, be warned that when you get your first set of aligners – and every new aligner during the treatment – that there will be a level of pain and discomfort. Be sure to follow your dentist’s instructions and keep some painkillers on you at all times. Remember, the result is always worth it.