If you’ve had a crooked smile for as long as you can remember, you’ve probably thought about having your teeth straightened with orthodontics. Today there are multiple options for correcting a crowded or crooked smile, but not every option provides the same benefits or outcomes. Invisalign is often the preferred option for teens and adults, but it can’t accomplish the same wide spectrum of corrections as traditional braces.
If you are interested in orthodontics, Clinton NJ dentists Dr. Carson Ferris Zeolla and Victoria Uryniak can help you understand your options. Call our dental office at Walnut Pond at (908) 200-7007 or contact us online to schedule an appointment.
Why Get Braces?
Your immediate concern may be cosmetic, but there are number of health-related benefits to straightening your teeth. If your bite is misaligned, the stress can damage to your teeth, leading to worn down molars, bruxism, and imbalance in the jaw and facial muscles. For example, TMJ disorder is painful condition that can happen when bite issues don’t get corrected and the jaw joints don’t function smoothly. Beyond function, your long-term oral health will also benefit from straighter teeth. Teeth that have the right amount of space between them are easier to keep clean and therefore less vulnerable to developing decay and gum disease. When teeth are crowded together, it is harder to reach into those spaces with toothbrush bristles and floss, and your risk of developing tartar and cavities increases.
Both form of orthodontic treatment can give you a beautiful, symmetrical smile, but they have some differences that should be considered if you’re not sure which to pursue.
Benefits of Invisalign include:
- Can straighten teeth faster than braces (12-18 months on average)
- More discreet appearance (no need for metal brackets and wires)
- No changes to your diet
- Fewer visits to the dentist
Benefits of traditional braces include:
- Great for any age
- Can correct a broad range of malocclusion and bite problems
- Less expensive than Invisalign
- Less dependent on patient compliance
Do I Qualify for Invisalign?
A potential Invisalign patient should be an adult or teen. Essentially, the jaw and face should be finished growing before treatment, though the wisdom teeth do not need to be erupted (or extracted). Invisalign is also best for patients who do not have significant bite problems, such as overbite, under bite, or cross bite. Because Invisalign only moves the teeth horizontally, it cannot correct bite issues, rotate individual teeth, or move teeth vertically.
Special Considerations for Invisalign
Beyond the physical prerequisites for Invisalign, there’s also the issue of compliance to consider. Because success with Invisalign relies on the patient complying with treatment requirements, any potential users need to be fully on board and willing to make the necessary lifestyle changes. Invisalign must be worn for 20-22 hours of the day to be successful, which means patients must be committed to wearing the aligners day and night.
Furthermore, you cannot eat while wearing the aligners. The only thing you can consume—without risking the health of your teeth or effectiveness of treatment—is plain water. This can be a difficult adjustment for some, and a younger patient may be more likely to “cheat,” which can lead to an unsuccessful outcome, or worse (tooth staining, rapid onset decay, or gum disease).
Invisalign also costs significantly more than traditional braces and is less likely to be covered by dental insurance. You don’t want to pay more for a treatment that winds up being less successful because your teen wasn’t fully on board with the idea of straightening her smile!
Only a Dentist Can Help You Decide
If you’re not sure which type of orthodontics you should get (for yourself or a family member), contact our dental office for a consultation. We will examine your teeth, take x-rays, and provide our best advice on all your orthodontic options.