Invisalign vs Braces
Silver Spring, MD
Orthodontics is important because having a straight and even smile is about more than just aesthetics, though a smile you can be confident in is certainly important too. There are real health risks associated with teeth that do not fit together properly. It is easier for bacteria to gather where even diligent brushing and flossing cannot reach them. The risk of cavities and gum disease are much higher. In children, crooked teeth can hinder the proper development of speech or exacerbate grinding. With orthodontics, we can prevent these problems, saving you time and money on future treatments.
Most orthodontic procedures involve the use of braces or a similar appliance, such as Invisalign, which are clear plastic aligners that accomplish the same task of repositioning teeth. While Invisalign is an increasingly popular choice, especially for teens and professional adults, most braces are made of metal. Even among metal braces there are discreet options, such as clear ceramic braces or lingual braces that go behind the teeth. Modern braces are designed with both kids and adults in mind, so we have something for everyone.
Braces Braces consist of archwires, brackets, and ligatures. All three are perfectly calibrated to exert a strong, though not overwhelming, force in the form of constant pressure. The archwire is the lynchpin to this process.
The archwire is designed so that even though it is flexible, it is constantly trying to retain its straight shape. When we bend it around the curve of your teeth, using the brackets and elastic ligatures to make sure that it stays firmly attached, it is actually the ambient warmth of the interior of your mouth that keeps the metal archwire ductile, or flexible. This is a careful balancing act — if the archwire is too susceptible to heat it will fail to exert enough pressure. Too rigid and it will be uncomfortable. By finding just the right balance, the archwire will try to flex back into a straight position, which is where the pressure shifting your teeth comes from.
InvisalignOne of the most popular alternatives to traditional metal braces is Invisalign, also known as invisible braces, because they are transparent plastic aligners that slip over your teeth. Invisalign is very popular among patients who want an extremely discreet orthodontic solution, but the plastic aligners lack the strength of metal brackets and wires.
“Invisible braces” such as Invisalign are very popular, but are best suited to older teens who are responsible enough to manage their own aligners. This is because Invisalign aligners should be worn 22 hours a day, only to be removed while eating or brushing your teeth.
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Regardless of which option you choose, you can expect that orthodontic treatment will take a little bit of time. Most treatments require at least a few months, and more severe problems can take over a year to successfully correct. Appointments can be more or less frequent depending on if you have either metal or ceramic braces, or Invisalign, but will usually be every four to ten weeks. Regardless of the type of orthodontic work you have, you are usually required to wear a retainer afterward to ensure your teeth maintain their new placement. You should continue to visit your regular dentist like normal so they can help maintain your oral hygiene.
If you think that you or your child could benefit from a consultation with one of our expert orthodontists here at Metropolitan Dental Specialty Group, then you can reach us at (301) 585-0400!