Many people dream of having a smile that reveals two rows of perfectly aligned, even teeth. Having straight teeth isn’t just good news for the appearance of your smile, however. When your teeth are in alignment, it’s also usually easier to speak and chew. Keeping your teeth clean and your gums healthy is also easier when there aren’t any gaps or areas of overlap in your smile.
For many years, the go-to way to correct teeth that are crooked, had big gaps between them, or were otherwise misaligned was through the use of braces. These days, people looking to straighten their teeth have considerably more options, including the use of clear aligners.
One of the most well-known brand names for clear aligners is Invisalign. If you have misaligned teeth, your dentist might have recommended Invisalign to you for the many benefits the treatment provides. Read on to learn more about what Invisalign involves and how it can help patients with a variety of dental concerns.
How is Invisalign Different from Traditional Braces?
Invisalign and traditional braces are different from each other in many ways. One of the most visually obvious ways is how they look on your teeth. Traditional braces are made from metal wires that are fastened to the teeth with brackets, while Invisalign uses clear trays to shift the teeth.
Although there have been advancements in the appearance and design of traditional braces over the years, including the use of clear (or colorful) wires and the placement of braces on the tongue-side of the teeth in some cases, traditional braces are pretty much always visible when you open your mouth or smile.
Invisalign and other clear aligners are meant to pretty much disappear once placed in the mouth. They are clear plastic trays that you slide over the tops of your teeth. Unlike traditional braces, aligners are removable. In fact, you’re not meant to wear them 24 hours a day. Usually, it’s recommended that you remove them for anywhere from two to four hours a day, especially during meals.
When you wear aligners, you’ll get a new set every two weeks or so. The goal of the aligners is to gradually reposition your teeth over the course of the treatment. As your teeth change position, the new aligners put additional pressure on them to help you make progress.
Another big difference between Invisalign and traditional braces is the foods you can eat while wearing them. When you have Invisalign, you’re supposed to remove the aligners anytime you eat or drink. Taking the aligners out of your mouth to eat means that food can’t get stuck in them. You can continue to eat as you did before Invisalign.
With traditional braces, you’re given a long list of foods you need to avoid while going through the treatment. Sticky foods and foods like popcorn can get stuck in traditional braces all too easily, so your best bet is not to eat them.
Who Can Benefit from Invisalign?
Invisalign can be a good treatment option for teenagers and adults who are looking to straighten their teeth. The aligners can help treat a variety of concerns, including crowded teeth, an underbite or overbite, open bite, and gap teeth.
People who will benefit the most from Invisalign are those who can commit to the treatment for as long as it takes. Wearing the aligners usually isn’t that big of a deal, as they are practically invisible and don’t interfere with your daily life. It’s just a matter of remembering to clean and care for your aligners and to replace them with the next set as directed by your dentist.
What’s the Connection Between Gum Disease and Misaligned Teeth?
Crooked teeth, crowded teeth or gaps between your teeth not only affect the look of your smile. They can also affect the health of your mouth. For example, having misaligned teeth can put you at an increased risk of developing gum disease.
When the teeth overlap, it can be difficult to clean them with a toothbrush and difficult to floss between them. Gaps between teeth can make it easier for food to get stuck, giving plaque and bacteria a chance to build up and putting you at an increased risk of infection.
Having Invisalign treatment when your gums are still healthy can help to lower your risk of developing gum disease. If you have already had gum disease and have undergone treatment, your dentist might recommend Invisalign to help straighten your teeth and correct your bite in order to reduce the likelihood of gum disease returning or getting worse.
Dr. John Paul Gallardo is a periodontal specialist in the Miami area who also offers Invisalign treatment to patients who have had gum disease. To learn more about the benefits of straightening your teeth and what Invisalign involves, call 305-547-8687 to schedule an appointment at Dr. Gallardo’s Miami practice today.