A number of adults are looking at teeth straightening treatments to ensure that they have a smile they can be proud of. In this day and age, there are different options available. Braces are very on trend with the younger generation, however, it might not be the right choice for those who want a less obvious form of orthodontic teeth alignment.
Today’s adults are choosing to straighten their teeth either because they might not have had the option when they were younger, or their teeth have drifted or moved to different positions due to the eruption of teeth or having lost a tooth. Or it could be second time around for those that were perhaps not as conscientious about wearing their retainers once their teenage braces were removed. Whatever the reason, there are choices available, traditional braces or clear aligner technology which allows for a more aesthetic way to move teeth.
Let’s review the differences between traditional braces and Invisalign and weigh up the pros and cons of each.
These are also known as orthodontic braces or dental braces, usually consisting of stainless steel brackets that are cemented to the teeth in combination with different wires, which help to align and straighten teeth. The brackets can be described as small metal holding blocks glued to the front of each of the teeth, and wire is then fixed across the front of these small brackets and secured in place with either the traditional elastomeric ring (o-ring) or a gate which allows freedom for the wire to move within the bracket (self-ligating bracket). The makers of self-ligating system brackets claim that they are able to move teeth with minimal force, which has less pain and a faster treatment time for the patient. At Blackburn Family Dental Care, we utilise the self-ligating system.
The positives for self-litigating braces is that treatment time is claimed to be shorter, there are less adjustments required, and the process is not as painful on the teeth as traditional systems. Another advantage of braces is that it is fixed. This could be particularly advantageous for patients who are less diligent and may have a forgetful predisposition. Such patients may not suit the clear aligner treatment which involves wearing a removable appliance.
An example of the self-ligating system is the Damon system. Their wires have very low forces asserted onto teeth and are claimed to reduce the risk of potential complication of root resorption.
As teeth move, so does the wire in some cases. A wire poking at the other end of the mouth can be uncomfortable, causing the patient to have ulcerations. A review appointment is often required so that the dentist is able to cut the excess wire off, meanwhile the patient can use dental wax to reduce the discomfort.
Another disadvantage of braces is that it is also very visible to others that the individual is wearing braces. This might be a deal breaker for someone who doesn’t want to be seen with a mouthful of metal.
Extra oral hygiene care is required to ensure the mouth is kept clean, to minimise gum inflammation and also the risk of dental decay. If hygiene is not addressed sometimes a white band of demineralisation can develop around the bracket, as the plaque normally accumulates around the bracket. These hygiene measures may include the use of other oral hygiene devices like the interdental brush or the waterpik.
The patient must also avoid hard, sticky and crunchy foods for the duration of their treatment. These foods may de-bond brackets or cause them to fall out and cause for an orthodontic emergency.
Stainless steel combined with titanium usually is the metal used and most wearers are able to tolerate this, but stainless steel contains nickel. For those patients that are allergic to nickel (this is not a common allergy), then ceramic braces are also available. These are just as effective but will be more expensive.
Invisalign / Clear aligner therapy
This is a modern form of treatment that provides the wearer with clear and virtually invisible aligners. Often used to move teeth into their final position, patients are provided with a custom-made strong plastic aligner that fits over their teeth. The mouldings apply pressure to the teeth to move them into the required position. Patients will be required to wear a series of these until the desired effect is reached.
If you are looking for invisible teeth straightening treatment for adults, there are a number of advantages, one of which is that the aligners are removable. This makes it easier to clean the teeth and also easier to eat certain foods. However, care is still needed as in a lot of cases the patient is bonded with composite buttons to help assist the aligners to move teeth.
While it does take a little time to get used to aligners, there are no wires that may cause a little discomfort to the inside of the mouth, so they do feel comfortable to the wearer. As they are made of clear material, it is very difficult to see that the person is having any form of dental treatment. Cosmetically, this does appeal to a number of people who want to invest in invisible treatment or if they have a special event planned mid treatment, then there are no wires showing on the celebratory photographs.
There are always other things to consider and on average, Invisalign /clear aligners are slightly costlier than other orthodontic bracket system. What needs to be considered is how much alignment is required for the teeth which determines the number of aligners that need to be made. When first fitted, in some cases it can cause the wearer to speak with a slight lisp and may feel a little odd, but this can soon be overcome.
The other point to consider is that if there is a lot of complex teeth movements required such as rotations, or a tooth that needs to be removed due to overcrowding, Invisalign may not be appropriate at the very beginning of the treatment and in some cases the help of traditional braces is needed before or in some cases after clear aligner treatment.
Also, because the Invisalign/clear aligners are removable, the patient has to be very self-disciplined in wearing it almost all the time (around 22 hours a day) only taking these out when absolutely necessary when eating and cleaning. This is because in some cases when the aligners are out for too long, teeth move to directions not planned for by the system. This then poses a challenge for the planned aligners to fit intimately with the teeth, and hence if the fit is not perfect the desired movement is not achieved.
To discuss the best form of treatment for you, get in touch with our experienced and caring dental practitioners here at Blackburn Family Dental Care and set an appointment. We are here to help you achieve that perfect smile!