You took you child into the dentist and get the terrible news: he needs braces. He has a slight overbite that needs to be straightened. The thought of having bulky, unappealing braces horrifies your child. Maybe Invisalign will be a better alternative. Your son readily agrees. Before you decide that the clear, removable Invisalign is what you want, here is a breakdown of Invisalign and braces. It can very well be that those unattractive braces are what your child needs.
Braces have been around since the early 1800s. They have come a long way since then and continue to be the most popular orthodontist treatment. They consist of metal wires and brackets that sit on top of the teeth to straighten teeth. A mold will be taken of the mouth to get the correct dimensions and measurements. Every month, the braces are adjusted and the rubber bands on the brackets are changed. Patients with braces typically have to wear the braces for 18 months to two years, though the treatment can last longer.
Invisalign doesn’t have the history as braces do. Patients first started using the Invisalign treatment system in 2000. Invisalign consists of two, clear BPA-free, plastic trays that one slips over the teeth. Unlike braces, Invisalign trays are removable. Invisalign trays are fitted using x-rays and 3D digital imaging. The treatment time is significantly shorter. Its popularity comes from its easy maintenance and its clear, transparent appearance. The trays are replaced every two weeks. They also are less painful than braces.
Pros and Cons
Both braces and Invisalign have their pros and cons to consider as both can be expensive and will require some kind of time and maintenance requirement. Before deciding one is better than the other, consider the pros and cons of both.
· More effective for more complex issues
· No temptation to leave them out, so less self-discipline is needed for success
· No extra cleaning steps required besides regular brushing and flossing. Cleaning between the wires can be difficult, however.
· Cheaper price ($1,500) than Invisalign ($5,000)
· Can pay extra for a clearer, enamel color to disguise the metal
· Monthly follow-up visits
· No issues with food getting caught
· No difficulty eating
· No discomfort from wires
· Is typically worn for 6-18 months
· Brushing and rinsing trays in lukewarm water
· May have some pain, sores or discomfort from wires, brackets or tooth movement
· May have some tooth discoloration or breakage
· May have difficulty eating sticky, hard foods
· Worn for an average of 2 years
· May have discomfort from tooth movement
· Must remove before eating or drinking anything but water
· Must brush after each meal to avoid staining
· Patients playing rough contact sports regularly
· Follow-up visits every 2 weeks
Both braces and Invisalign treatment methods may require the ongoing use of a positioner or retainer after treatment to maintain the achieved results.
Braces are ideal for patients with more severe dental alignment problems, including those with bridge work, canines or premolars that need to be rotated, those with back tooth bite issues, need teeth that need to be moved vertically and those with a lack of discipline needed to clean and maintain the Invisalign trays.