It’s fair to say that over the years, orthodontic treatments have improved leaps and bounds. The stigma that once applied to clunky metal braces has ultimately been erased by revolutionary high-end appliances. Nowadays people are more accepting of orthodontic treatments to straighten their teeth; but with a multitude of options available, which one is right for you? In this post we’re going to take a look at modern day fixed braces and compare them to removable Invisalign aligners.
Traditional fixed braces
Made from metal, ceramic, composite, or even a hybrid of one or more of the above, traditional fixed braces are designed to fix a whole host of orthodontic problems. These include tooth crowding, protruding, alignment issues, crookedness, and irregular spacing or gapping. Permanently fixed to the front of the teeth (or in the case of lingual braces, to the back) they move the teeth by using flexible arch wires to apply gentle sustained pressure over a period of time. Fixed full-term braces are usually recommended for moderate or more serious orthodontic cases and treatment times can vary depending upon the severity of the condition. Typically though, patients can expect to wear their braces for 9-18 months. That said, in some cases, patients looking for purely aesthetic improvements can opt for accelerated treatments which can take as little as 3-6 months.
So what about Invisalign?
Invisalign is an ‘aligner style’ system which is virtually invisible and therefore exceptionally discreet. Doing away with brackets and wiring altogether, clear plastic aligners are worn over the teeth, a bit like a protective gum shield. What’s more, rather than having one appliance for the duration of the treatment, Invisalign utilizes a whole series of aligners which are removed and replaced every two-three weeks.
Each aligner in the series is pre-designed to move the teeth sufficiently so that the next aligner fits perfectly. This continues until the wearer has completed their treatment (usually 12-18 months) and their teeth are straight. Unlike fixed braces, Invisalign aligners can be removed to clean your teeth, and they must be removed to eat and drink. Although they allow patients the freedom of choosing not to wear their aligners at any particular time, most dentists advise that they are worn for around 20 hours a day to achieve optimum results.
So what conditions can Invisalign help?
In the main Invisalign is able to treat many of the conditions that traditional braces can, including crowded teeth, bite problems (overbites and cross bites), irregular teeth gapping, and mild relapses after traditional brace treatments. However if you have more severe orthodontic problems then there are better options available.
So what’s the verdict – which should you, choose?
If you’re looking for a discreet orthodontic treatment that won’t impact on your social or professional life, then you might want to consider Invisalign. Alternatively, if you have a more serious orthodontic condition and want a cost-effective solution, then you should think about fixed brace treatments.