Some of the Benefits of Invisible Braces vs Traditional Orthodontic Treatment
Traditional orthodontic treatments generate reliable and pleasing results, but they also come with some drawbacks. Bracket-and-wire braces are very visible, and patients need to avoid many different foods for the duration of their treatment. Worse, traditional braces cause some patients to experience mild to moderate discomfort and pain, especially at first.
Invisible braces offer an alternative. Compared to traditional braces, they offer a long list of benefits that make them well worth considering, especially for older teens and adult patients.
Benefit #1: They’re Invisible!
Invisible braces are also known as clear aligners. No matter what you call them, this benefit is obvious: they are virtually undetectable in casual, everyday scenarios. They’re difficult to see even upon close inspection, making them an ideal fit for patients seeking a cosmetically appealing treatment option.
Invisible braces use a series of dental trays to generate results. Patients typically rotate to a new tray once every 14 days or so, and the trays take two main forms. The most common form is made from a patented material known as thermoplastic, which is hard and durable yet yielding and flexible. These dental trays are transparent, allowing your natural teeth to shine through.
Alternately, some invisible braces offer patients the option of adding a ceramic coating to the exterior of the dental tray. This ceramic coating mimics the natural white shade of your teeth, creating a seamless and undetectable match.
Either way, nobody will know you’re wearing braces unless you tell them!
Benefit #2: They Work Faster
In most cases, invisible braces generate permanent results faster than traditional braces. This means the duration of your treatment will usually be considerably shorter than the timeline for someone wearing a bracket-and-wire orthodontic system.
There are two main reasons why invisible braces work more quickly. First, they are usually recommended to patients who are looking to correct relatively minor flaws and misalignments with their smiles. More dramatic interventions usually require traditional braces.
Second, invisible braces harness a different kind of force to prompt your teeth to move. Traditional braces “pull” on your teeth, which is part of the reason they are so prone to causing discomfort or pain. The dental trays that make up invisible braces work by applying a gentle “push” force, which achieves more with less work.
Most people who wear invisible braces require treatment for a period of six to 18 months. Traditional braces, on the other hand, usually demand a minimum of 18 months and a maximum of 54 to 60 months.
Benefit #3: They’re Removable
Another characteristic of invisible braces that appeals to a lot of potential patients is their removability. The dental trays that move your teeth into place can be taken out, which means you don’t have to worry about many of the restrictions and drawbacks that accompany traditional braces.
For invisible braces, these include:
- No restrictions on food. With traditional braces, patients are usually instructed to avoid popcorn, gum, hard candy, other hard foods, sticky foods, and certain other treats you may enjoy. Patients with invisible braces remove their dental trays at mealtime, meaning that you don’t have to worry about any such restrictions as your braces will not be in place when you eat.
- Better dental hygiene. Bracket-and-wire braces can make it more difficult to reach every last nook and cranny of your mouth when cleaning your teeth and gums, especially when using dental floss. The removability of invisible braces frees you from this problem, as nothing will obstruct you when you brush, floss, and rinse.
- The option to go braces-free for special events. If you’re headed to a special event like a wedding, graduation ceremony, or job interview, you can pop your dental tray out and wear your best smile without any trace of worry that your braces might somehow be visible.
While you can remove your invisible braces at any time, dentists stress that you should do so very sparingly. Your dental tray should be in place for a minimum of 22 hours every day, and patients are urged to keep them in for 24 hours whenever possible.
It isn’t a big deal if you go a little longer without them once in a blue moon, but if you regularly neglect or forget to wear your dental tray for at least 22 hours every day, your treatment plan will be affected. This can lead to longer treatment times and higher costs, as you may need to have more dental visits and new dental trays manufactured to bridge the gaps in your results.
They’re More Comfortable
A large majority of patients who wear invisible braces experience very little discomfort. Those who do experience some irritation usually report that it is very mild. Minor discomfort is usually limited to the first day or so after switching to a new dental tray, and it typically disappears very quickly after that.
Traditional braces, on the other hand, are notorious for causing tooth and gum soreness, pain, and irritation. Bleeding can also result in some cases.
On this point, invisible braces score a decisive win. They are significantly more comfortable than bracket-and-wire systems.
There Are Some Trade-Offs To Keep in Mind
Invisible braces represent a breakthrough dental technology, but they also come with some limitations and drawbacks of their own. You should keep these in mind as you research your treatment options.
Some of the downsides of invisible braces include:
- Patients need to be self-disciplined about their treatment plans in order not to endanger their progress and results
- They are not usually recommended for very young patients who otherwise qualify for traditional braces, given the amount of self-care they require
- Major and complex orthodontic issues may not be treatable with invisible braces, which are usually indicated for mild to moderate corrections
Talk To Your Dentist
Your family dentist or an orthodontic specialist will be your best source of information about invisible braces. If you have questions about your suitability for clear aligners, how long a treatment might take to complete, and how much it might cost, the best way to get clear and reliable answers is by booking a visit with a qualified local professional.