When it comes to your oral health and your smile you want a treatment plan that works for your specific dental needs, your lifestyle, habits, and pocketbook. Most patients who enter our Fort Collins office typically know they need some kind of orthodontic treatment, but are indecisive on whether they need traditional metal braces or the removable, virtually invisible alternative known as Invisalign. During your orthodontic consultation, Drs. Murri and Willey can discuss with you the advantages and disadvantages of Invisalign treatment so you can decide if this treatment is for you. Consider the following pros and cons of braces and Invisalign to help you with your decision.
Traditional dental braces are affixed to the teeth with brackets that run along a thin wire. They have been the treatment of choice for years for patients that have both common dental problems and patients that require complex alignment procedures. Dental braces are also useful in correcting malocclusion and bad bites. Braces typically offer shorter treatment times for closing gaps and aligning teeth than Invisalign. Younger patients enjoy being able to choose custom-colored bands to change up their look. Traditional braces are also less expensive than Invisalign. Invisalign can cost an average of $500 more than a one-year treatment with traditional braces. The end result of traditional braces is a healthier mouth and a more confident, beautiful smile.
Traditional braces require vigilant, dedicated cleaning and care. Neglecting a dedicated oral hygiene routine can allow decay to develop under the brackets or between your teeth where it is difficult to floss. The brackets and wires inside the mouth can also bring
pain, discomfort, mouth sores or injuries caused by the brace wires, plaque buildup, tooth discoloration, tooth/bracket breakage, or difficulty eating. You also have to be prepared to give up some of your favorite foods while you are wearing braces such as: popcorn, chips, bagels, hard-crusted bread, pizza crust, pretzels, nuts, certain candies, apples, carrots, corn on the cob, to name a few. While the cons may sound intimidating, our patients will agree that although wearing braces isn’t always easy, it is worth it!
Invisalign® offers you an alternative to traditional braces that many patients find fit their lifestyles better. As an Invisalign patient you wear a series of clear, removable orthodontic aligners that are adjusted as the teeth shift into place without metal or wires. Patients love that the aligners are clear and not easily noticed by others. They also love that they are removable. You don’t have to give up your your crunchy snacks or popcorn.
Being able to remove the aligners also allows you to clean and floss your teeth more effectively. You will find that the plastic aligners are more comfortable than traditional braces since there are no pokey wires or brackets to rub against the soft tissues of your mouth and gums.
Because you have control over replacing your aligners, the time spent in your orthodontist’s office is significantly reduced. The custom-made aligners are worn for a two-week period and then replaced by the next aligner in the series. Each aligner does its part in progressively moving the teeth into the desired position. The average total time you can expect treatment to last varies on how much your teeth need to be repositioned, but most treatments last from a few months to 1 1/2 years. Invisalign offers many benefits, but the treatment has limitations as well.
One of the biggest problems of Invisalign in comparison to traditional braces is that Invisalign does not produce great results for vertical problems, where the teeth are at different heights, or on teeth that are badly rotated or overly crowded. It also doesn’t provide noticeable results for correcting bite issues. Typically, Invisalign is a better option for minor to moderate dental treatment but, for the right case, Invisalign can get the job done with minimal discomfort.
Like traditional fixed braces, success with Invisalign is largely dependent on your habits and cooperation. You must commit to wear the aligners for a minimum of 20–22 hours per day, only removing them when you are eating, drinking, or brushing your teeth. At first, this idea may not seem that daunting, but removing the aligners every time you eat, then cleaning your teeth and the aligners and putting them back in takes time. Aligners can get lost or forgotten during the day. If you aren’t wearing the aligners consistently you won’t have the progress rate you would like and your treatment could be stretched out over much more time than traditional braces.
Sometimes aligners will develop sharp edges that can irritate the gums. You can file the sharp edges or wear wax, but the soreness can prompt you to remove the aligners and delay your progress. Invisalign treatment is also more expensive than traditional braces. Despite some of the downsides associated with Invisalign® many people feel the benefits outweigh the difficulties and commit themselves to treatment with excitement.
Drs. Willey and Murri are Certified Fort Collins Invisalign Providers and would be happy to answer any questions you have to help you determine if Invisalign is right for you and your teen. In the end, whichever orthodontic treatment you choose, Drs. Willey and Murri and the team at Fort Collins Family and Cosmetic Dentistry of the Rockies will make sure the results will be a healthier smile and a more confident teen! We look forward to guiding your smile transformation; it’s what we love! Call (970) 223-6101 for a free consultation today!