If you have crooked teeth, it can affect the appearance of your smile as well as your dental health. That’s why Dr. Bruno Lemay recommends that many of his Cathedral City, CA, patients undergo orthodontic treatment. Orthodontics can close unsightly gaps, straighten teeth, and improve overall dental health.
Today, there are two main orthodontic options: traditional braces and Invisalign®, an alternative to traditional braces. Below, we compare Invisalign and traditional braces, going over the pros and cons of each. You may be find that one option is better than the other for your particular issues with malocclusion.
About Traditional Braces
Traditional braces have been a staple of orthodontic treatment for more than a century. In fact, the precursors to modern braces can be traced back to ancient Greece.
Traditional braces use brackets and bands strategically placed on the teeth in conjunction with tightened wires. With carefully applied tension and force, braces help reposition the teeth over the course of several months to a year.
Invisalign has grown in popularity over the last two decades. Many adults and teens at our Cathedral City practice favor Invisalign to braces, but we’ll address that in more detail a bit later.
Rather than using brackets and wires to straighten teeth, Invisalign uses thin, clear plastic aligner trays. Patients wear an Invisalign tray for two weeks before moving on to the next tray in the sequence. After several months to a year, their teeth are straightened thanks to gradually applied tension from the aligner trays.
The Pros and Cons of Traditional Braces
The greatest advantage of braces is that they have been effective for decades. Braces can be used to treat even the most severe forms of malocclusion, and are a key part of many advanced orthodontic treatment plans.
Braces have a few notable drawbacks despite their long record of effectiveness:
- Easy to Notice - Traditional braces are easy to spot, and can lead to feelings of self-consciousness. Even tooth-colored braces can be seen up close.
- Irritation in the Mouth - The brackets and wires can irritate the insides of the lips and cheeks, which can be uncomfortable for patients.
- Dietary Restrictions - Patients with braces need to avoid popcorn, sticky foods, crunchy foods, hard candies, and chewing gum since they can damage their braces or get stuck in the brackets.
- Oral Hygiene Challenges - Patients need to be extra thorough when brushing their teeth, and may need to use floss threaders and an interproximal brush.
The Pros and Cons of Invisalign
The biggest benefit of Invisalign is its simplicity and convenience. That means the following key advantages over braces:
- Virtually Undetectable - The clear plastic Invisalign aligners are difficult to notice, even when people are up close.
- Easy to Remove - The Invisalign trays can slip off and on without difficulty. That means you can still eat your favorite foods.
- Easy to Clean - When the Invisalign tray is out of your mouth, you can brush and floss normally without threaders or other special oral hygiene tools. The tray itself can be brushed clean and rinsed before being placed back in the mouth.
The main drawback to Invisalign is that it usually cannot treat severe malocclusion. Since Invisalign predominantly treats tooth position, it will not be able to adjust the shape of the dental arch or the position of the jaw. In those cases, braces and other orthodontic appliances will need to be used.
Contact Desert Dental Alternatives
If you live in or around Cathedral City and would like to find out more about orthodontic treatments, our team is here to help. You can contact our dental practice online or schedule a consultation by phone at (760) 324-4450.