Crooked teeth are often a source of self-consciousness and social anxiety. Many people seek treatment in the hopes of making their smiles straighter and brighter. Straightening teeth can seem like a challenge, especially if you don’t know anything about the standard costs, treatment options, or length of time that you’ll be in treatment.
Knowing a little bit about the process will help you to make an informed decision about how to move forward. If you haven’t visited an orthodontist before, you might want to consider the following questions as you prepare for your first appointment:
- Who is the best orthodontist near me?
- What options are available for treatment?
- Invisalign or metal braces? Which is best?
- What treatment will be the most effective for improving my smile?
Consider these questions as you do your research about the process of tooth straightening. Straightening does more than just improve your smile; it also makes your teeth easier to clean, provides welcome relief for tired muscles in your mouth and cheeks, and helps to realign your jaw so you can chew and bite correctly.
For many patients, the biggest question is whether to choose Invisalign or metal braces. Here’s what you need to know to make the best decision for your specific needs.
Invisalign Vs. Metal Braces: What’s The Difference?
Both of these methods of tooth straightening work to realign teeth and improve your overall oral health. The difference lies in the process of how they work–for the most part, the choice will be yours, though your dentist or orthodontist will likely make a recommendation based on your needs.
To wear metal braces, a metal bracket is glued to the enamel of each tooth surface. Metal wires are then fitted within each bracket and tightened to help reshape the bite and bring the teeth into proper alignment.
Wires and brackets can sometimes be made of porcelain and colored to match teeth, making the hardware less noticeable. Orthodontic patients who are feeling a little more adventurous can choose the hardware in other colors–perfect for teens who want a little flair!
The whole point of Invisalign treatment is to align teeth discreetly. Alignment trays are comprised of clear BPA-free plastic that is smooth and comfortable when slipped over the teeth. The Invisalign process involves making a 3-D image of your teeth to custom-fit trays, making the alignment process seemingly effortless. As your teeth continue to shift, you will exchange old trays for new ones, gradually seeing a straighter, more vibrant smile over time.
Benefits of Wearing Metal Braces
1. Metal brackets and wires are “permanent”, meaning they stay in place until they are removed by your orthodontist. For patients who are younger, or for those who worry about losing track of Invisalign trays, they are a great option.
2. Because of their permanent nature, metal braces often require less treatment time, as they are constantly working to shift your teeth into place. Average wear time for metal braces is around two years, with regular appointments being necessary to tighten the braces and to continue moving teeth into their final position.
3. Metal braces require less thought. You don’t have to remove and clean them regularly; you only need to visit your orthodontist once monthly to have them assess your treatment progress and make adjustments accordingly.
4. Tooth straightening with metal braces involves simple after-care. You will need a nighttime retainer or positioner to keep teeth in place, but generally speaking, once the braces are off, you are free to flash your pearly whites to everyone you pass by.
5. Complex tooth alignment issues that cannot be treated with Invisalign can often be resolved with metal braces.
Benefits of Invisalign
1. One of the biggest benefits of Invisalign trays is that they are removable. Remove them for eating, brushing, and flossing, and pop them back in when finished to continue your treatment. There are no food restrictions with Invisalign.
2. Invisalign treatment gives you an improved appearance. A big appeal of this type of treatment is the fact that it is done discreetly–most people won’t even notice your trays unless you take them out or point them out.
3. Invisalign treatment is a bit more comfortable than wearing metal braces, as there are no brackets that can rub against soft tissues in your mouth and cause sores and broken skin.
4. Treatment time with Invisalign depends largely on the amount of time you wear trays. Keeping them on for 22-24 hours a day is recommended. A standard 18 months to 2 years is the length of treatment most people need. If you have more complex dental issues, you might consider metal braces as a better option.
5. Cleaning is straightforward and simple. It is necessary to remove trays at least once daily for cleaning and disinfecting. Use a soft-bristled brush and cleanser recommended by your dentist for the best results.
6. Follow-up visits allow you to switch out trays every two to three weeks. Your orthodontist may require you to have additional 3-D imaging scans done to make sure your trays are fitting properly.
Final thoughts on tooth straightening
Choosing between metal braces and Invisalign is an individual decision. Taking into account your activity level, the cost of each type of treatment, and whether or not you have the self-discipline to wear removable hardware, you must choose the option that works best for you.
In cases where your need for correction is mild, Invisalign trays may be the ideal solution. Teeth that are rotated or twisted in their sockets or missing teeth will require more permanent hardware such as metal braces to effectively straighten and care for the teeth.
Ready for a better smile? Contact us today!
The decision to improve your smile is an important one. Your teeth should be trusted to the best dentists in the business. At the office of Dr. John Paul Gallardo in Miami, your smile is our passion. We work with you to develop customized treatment plans that improve your smile without breaking your budget. Call 305-547-8687 today to request an appointment.