The two most prominent forms of orthodontic treatment today are metal braces and Invisalign. Straightening your teeth has more than just aesthetic benefits. It can also make your teeth easier to clean while realigning your teeth and jaw, which can prevent TMJ problems and headaches. If you’re interested in orthodontic care, read on to learn about the differences between metal braces and Invisalign and why one option might be the better choice for you.
How do Metal Braces Work?
With traditional metal braces, brackets are cemented to the teeth and mounted upon wires before the whole apparatus is tightened. Over time and with regular adjustments, the tension and pressure of the system shift teeth into better alignment. However, because of the risk of tissue damage, braces might not be the best for those who play contact sports.
Metal braces come with some advantages. They are irremovable, which might be good for people who would worry about losing their aligners. Because they cannot be removed before their job is complete, a patient who might forget to wear her aligners enough might finish treatment sooner with metal braces. They can also often be more affordable than Invisalign.
How Does Invisalign Straighten Teeth?
The clear aligner trays used in Invisalign are virtually invisible. After your dental care provider makes a 3D map of your teeth, sets of these trays are custom-made to these specifications. You wear each one for about two weeks before moving on to the next, and each tray applies pressure to move your teeth into better alignment over time. Invisalign might not be suited for those with bridgework or back tooth bite issues, or canines or premolars in need of rotating.
Invisalign has its own advantages. First, the clear aligners are virtually invisible. Because they are removable, they do not carry the same dietary restrictions as traditional braces. Because they do not have metal brackets or wires that can come loose and irritate the mouth, Invisalign can be more comfortable than their metal counterparts. By wearing your aligners for the recommended time of 20 to 22 hours a day, you can finish treatment in a significantly shorter time than braces. For some patients, Invisalign can be the least expensive option.
What They Have in Common
Traditional braces and Invisalign both require follow-up visits to track treatment progress, and both require special hygiene regimens to control bacterial growth and gum disease. They both also require the use of retainers after treatment is completed to hold the teeth in their new alignment while the surrounding tissue re-solidifies.
While both metal braces and Invisalign are tried and proven methods for realigning teeth, the ultimate decision rests with the patient. By discussing the matter with your dentist, you can ensure you choose the best option for your situation. A straighter smile can help you to a lifetime of health and happiness.
About the Author
Dr. Monil Mehta graduated from the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine. As an associate dentist, he spent countless hours of additional training in areas like implant dentistry, clear aligner orthodontics, sleep apnea treatment, laser gum therapy, and biomimetic restorative dentistry. His office provides services including orthodontics and preventive, pediatric, restorative, and cosmetic dentistry. If you’re curious about whether Invisalign or traditional braces is right for you, contact him online or dial (952) 906-0200.