Where do we stand at present?
Metal braces have been around for many years and have proved their efficacy over and over again. However, braces are made out of metal (although nowadays you can get more natural looking braces; or even coloured braces, if you want to make a fashion statement), which are attached to your teeth, and then connected with wire and elastic bands. They are in the mouth permanently, and need adjustment occasionally for them to do their job.
Invisalign was the first company to develop the invisalign system for use instead of braces in 2000, so they haven’t been around as long as metal braces. Invisalign is not the only system available, and other manufacturers have also entered the market in the last decade.
What is Invisalign and who should use them?
Invisalign are clear plastic or acrylic retainers that are slipped over the teeth and replaced every two to three weeks. The orthodontist uses x-rays and scans as well as pictures to create a “3D movie” of your teeth, and this model is responsible for determining the shape of the retainers during your treatment. Invisalign braces cannot be used on children, as the software used in the 3d modelling process doesn’t, for some reason, work with growing teeth. The main criteria for many consumers, appears to be one of aesthetics, with price considerations coming a close second.
They are therefore used principally on adults. A few decades ago, only 5 percent of orthodontic patients were adults, whereas nowadays, up to 50 percent of an orthodontist’s practice will be on adults. This goes a long way to explain the growing popularity of Invisalign. Adults are far more concerned with the aesthetics of what they look like while undergoing treatment to correct their teeth, and more often than not choose Invisalign over conventional metal braces. Invisalign treatment does tend to be more expensive since several sets of aligners must be made for your teeth. The main advantage of invisalign is that the retainers can be removed when eating and drinking anything besides water, hence make it easier to brush and floss your teeth.
Pros and Cons of Braces vs Invisalign
It will be worth our while to consider the pros and cons of the two different methods of treatment
- Braces are more effective for more complex problems.
- There is no temptation to leave them out, as they are fixed permanently in your mouth for the length of your treatment.
- No extra cleaning besides normal brushing and flossing is required.
- May have discomfit and pain from sores caused by the brackets and wires.
- Sometimes teeth get discoloured or broken, during treatment.
- It is difficult to eat hard or sticky foods.
- Food sometime gets stuck in braces, and you can’t clean properly under them.
- Invisalign is removable and invisible.
- There is no danger of food getting caught.
- There is no discomfort from wires and no difficulty eating.
- To avoid staining, the retainers must be cleaned after eating.
- Self-discipline must be exercised, as it is up to the patient to remove them at appropriate times, and then re-insert the retainer.
- Invisalign must be removed when eating and drinking anything besides water, again, to prevent staining.
Would you like to know if invisalign can work for you? Consult your orthodontist and he or she will assist you in making the correct decision.