Invisalign versus Metal Braces
Invisalign is a dental straightening method offered as an alternative to traditional metal braces. Invisalign uses a series of custom-made, clear, plastic trays that are placed in the mouth and gradually straighten teeth.
The product was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 1998 and since then, over two million patients have used Invisalign to straighten their teeth. Invisalign is used primarily by patients who want to avoid the metal brackets and wires associated with traditional braces. It is also ideal for older patients who need to straighten their teeth but are unwilling to be seen with a mouth full of braces.
Only a certified dentist can decide if a patient is a candidate for Invisalign. However, once the decision is made, the dentist will take a series of measurements of the patient’s mouth through X-rays, a bite registration, and impressions of the teeth and gums. These measurements are then sent to a company named Align Technology who produces anywhere from six to forty-eight custom made trays for the patient. These trays are replaced according the dentist’s recommendation and gradually move teeth, about .33 millimeters per tray, to their straight and correct position in the mouth until the patient is left with a straight and beautiful smile.
Each aligner tray is designed to be worn about 20 hours a day for two to three weeks, depending on the dentist’s recommendation. The average treatment time lasts about thirteen and a half months. Invisalign trays should be removed when eating and during the patient’s daily oral care routine of brushing and flossing. After the alignment process is complete, the patient will still need to wear a retainer at night to ensure the alignment holds in place.
Versus Metal Braces
There are both pros and cons to Invisalign over wire braces. Wire braces traditionally cost less than Invisalign and are more suited to complex cases where the patient’s teeth need significant adjustments. Because the entire set of trays are pre-made, a treatment plan utilizing Invisalign is also more difficult to alter. However, Invisalign does offer a more visually appealing and comfortable solution than wire braces. The trays are smooth and virtually invisible, which gives Invisalign an aesthetic advantage over wire braces. Invisalign is also more comfortable because it does not use metal brackets or require tightening of wires to adjust and straighten teeth. In addition, daily oral care is easier with Invisalign. Brushing, flossing, and professional cleanings are easier to accomplish because the Invisalign trays can be removed at any time. The biggest advantage that Invisalign offers is results with discretion. The clear plastic trays are almost invisible so the process of achieving a great smile occurs without anyone knowing. Invisalign corrects improper dental alignment with minimal interference in daily life. After the process is complete, the patient is left with healthy teeth and gums that are easier to maintain and less prone to infection or disease as well as a great smile.