A straight smile can boost your confidence and improve oral health and function. Patients exploring orthodontics have a few options to choose from. Two of the most popular treatments include traditional metal braces and Invisalign® – a popular braces alternative.
Here, the team at Dowell Dental Group – serving residents of Minerva, OH, Carrollton, OH, and Dover, OH – discusses the pros and cons of Invisalign vs braces. Dr. Stephen C. Dowell also explores the pros and cons to each treatment so our patients can be well-informed about their options.
Traditional braces are made up of stainless steel components. Bands and brackets are bonded to the teeth, then an arch wire is connected. Gentle, consistent pressure is applied to the teeth to shift them over time.
Patients who wear traditional braces will need to follow a few dietary restrictions. For example, they must avoid hard, crunchy, or sticky foods, which can damage or dislodge brackets and wires. Furthermore, patients will need to have their braces tightened approximately once a month.
Like most treatments, the total timeline depends on a few factors, including the complexity of your case. Those who wear traditional metal braces may complete treatment in just a few months, or it may take over two years to achieve the desired results. In most cases, treatment with traditional braces takes approximately 18 to 24 months.
Unlike traditional braces, Invisalign does not use metal components at all. Instead, the teeth are straightened using a series of removable plastic aligner trays. Each set of aligners is created with subtle differences, which move the teeth into their proper positions over time.
Dr. Dowell can tell you if you qualify for Invisalign during a consultation at our practice. If the treatment seems like a good fit for your needs, we will take impressions of your teeth and gums. These are sent to a lab and used to create several sets of aligner trays.
Once the trays have been fabricated, we will schedule you for a visit to try them on. Dr. Dowell will demonstrate how to wear the trays and provide specific guidelines to follow during treatment. In general, patients wear each set of trays for about two weeks. As each new set of trays is worn, the teeth are moved closer and closer to their ideal locations.
Because Invisalign trays are removable, patients do not have any dietary restrictions. However, you will need to make sure to remember to put them back in after you eat, or you may potentially undo your progress. In addition, no tightening appointments are necessary, which means seeing your dentist less often.
The length of Invisalign treatment is similar to that of traditional braces. Minor misalignment can be corrected in just a few months, while more complex conditions will require up to two years or more. Generally, patients can complete Invisalign treatment in about 12 to 18 months. During your initial consultation, Dr. Dowell can give you an approximate idea of how long treatment will take.
If you are thinking about straightening your smile, consider the benefits that Invisalign offers. To learn more, schedule a visit at Dowell Dental Group. Contact us online anytime or call our office at (330) 868-5001.