A smile is a curve that sets everything straight. But what if your smile itself is crooked?
First of all, don’t beat yourself up about it. Lots of people have a crooked smile. One estimate states that 300 million people worldwide could benefit from straightening their teeth.
Second, when you consider that misaligned, crowded roots (the source of crooked teeth) can fuel a variety of dental health problems (like increased risk of cavities, bone loss, and gum disease), taking steps to realign your roots and teeth is important. It’s more than a cosmetic solution — it’s good for your health!
If you’re considering orthodontic treatment to straighten your teeth, you have two options: 1) the traditional metal braces route, or 2) a modern clear aligner treatment like Invisalign.
Which is better for your smile, Invisalign or braces? Let’s find out.
What is Botox?
Invisalign is a modern tooth straightening system that uses a series of clear, transparent aligners. You’ll wear these aligners, which are made of a plastic material and are similar to retainers, over your top and bottom teeth for at least 23.5 hours every day.
Your aligners are custom made to fit your teeth. Every 2 weeks or so, as your roots and teeth begin to move, you’ll switch to a new set of aligners. Over time, this process will gradually move your teeth into the final proper position, delivering the perfect smile!
While this treatment has always been a great option, it’s certainly improved over the last few years. Thanks to 3D scanning, you can visualize your new smile before you even get started. Plus, with new printing technology, your aligners are even more precise and custom-fit than ever before.
Who is a good candidate for Invisalign?
Invisalign is best suited for those who need mild to moderate cosmetic changes. However, we’ve also worked with many patients with severely misaligned teeth who have had successful Invisalign treatments.
We like to say that until a dentist has examined your teeth and told you Invisalign is not an option, assume that it is!
What are braces?
Traditional braces are made from stainless steel. Metal brackets are attached to each tooth with a special dental cement and are linked together with a thin wire. This wire puts pressure on your teeth and slowly moves them into the proper position.
So-called “invisible braces” are another option. These modern braces are made from ceramic or tooth-colored material to be less noticeable when you smile. However, the system and process are still the same, using brackets and thin wire to move your roots and teeth into place.
Who is a good candidate for braces?
Braces can be a viable option for people at nearly any age. However, you’ll need to visit a specialist — called an orthodontist — to confirm your candidacy and get the treatment.
Invisalign vs. braces: which is best?
There are times when traditional metal braces may be your only option for achieving the smile of your dreams. However, if you’re a good candidate, our dentist almost always recommends Invisalign as the preferred method of straightening teeth.
To understand why, take a look as we compare the major factors most people care about when starting treatment.
|Appearance||Clear and virtually invisible||Metal and very noticeable|
|Comfort||Made from comfortable plastic materials — no painful mouth sores!||Wires and brackets often cause sores and discomfort|
|Hygiene||Can be removed to easily clean your teeth||Stuck in place until removed by a dentist, and can make it difficult to clean your teeth|
|Method||Uses low forces. Slight discomfort may occur on the first day with a new aligner||Uses strong forces. Pain and sensitivity to pressure is common the first few days after an adjustment|
|Food Restrictions||When your retainers aren’t in, eat all the foods you normally would||Must steer clear of certain foods to avoid damaging your braces|
|Time||Average 6-18 months or less, depending on needs||Average of 2 years, depending on needs|
|Cost||Dental insurance may cover some (or all) of the cost||Dental insurance may or may not cover traditional braces|
Tips to get the Invisalign results you want
Invisalign is a proven successful method for straightening your smile. But it can’t do all the work — it has to have your buy-in. For the best results, plan ahead and know exactly what you’re getting into.
Here’s what we talk to our patients about before they begin an Invisalign treatment.
- Commit to your treatment. You have to hold up your end of the bargain! You’ll need to wear your aligners at least 23.5 hours a day and switch to a new set every 14 days or so. You also need to take your aligners out of your mouth while eating or drinking (and keep good track of them — don’t accidentally throw them in the trash!).
- Keep your hygiene in top form. In addition to regular tooth brushing and flossing, you’ll also need to keep your aligners clean. Follow the aligner cleaning instructions given by your dentist.
- Find the right dentist. Look for a dentist with an Invisalign Preferred Provider designation. This title is only given to those who have a significant amount of experience treating patients with the Invisalign system and are among the top 5% of Invisalign providers in America.
Read all of Dr. Catt’s Invisalign instructions for success.
Bonus: What about mail-order smile kits?
You’ve probably heard of the 2 big players in this area — Smile Direct Club and Candid. These mail-order companies offer similar services to Invisalign but without the guidance of a dentist.
But DIY orthodontics is a risky game to play.
With DIY aligners, you have no way of checking if your teeth are moving correctly and not harming your functionality or periodontal health. Improper movement of your teeth can cause long-term issues for your health, including TMJ, airway problems, bite issues, and gum disease and recession.
As convenient and low-cost as these methods market themselves to be, they are simply not worth the cost of damaging your dental health.
Dr. Catt is an Invisalign Preferred Provider
Are you interested in learning more about dental Botox treatments? Schedule a consultation with Dr. Catt to evaluate your needs.
Dr. Catt has spent a lot of time studying head and neck anatomy and has completed training at the Pacific Institute for Facial Aesthetics. He has firsthand knowledge of how valuable and effective dental Botox® treatments could be and will help you understand if this treatment is right for you.
Call (541) 772-8846 to get started.