Straightening your teeth does more than just give you a beautiful smile.
While it’s a plus, and often a main reason people choose to straighten their teeth, there is much more that goes on behind the scenes that will benefit your overall oral health. Straight teeth are often easier to clean, which helps stave off cavities. They can also help correct your bite, aligning your teeth and jaw.
Orthodontic treatments have improved leaps and bounds over the years with a wave of new products and technologies helping people achieve improved smile functionality and aesthetics with less hassle and over a shorter timeframe than days past. The stigma that once applied to braces and other orthodontic appliances has been erased by high-end aesthetic appliances and treatment modalities that make it easier for people to adapt to orthodontia.
There are various orthodontic treatment options today, but which option is right for you? In this feature, we are looking at traditional wire and bracket dental braces vs Invisalign clear aligners.
This is what people typically picture when they think of getting braces. Metal brackets are glued to the enamel of each tooth. Metal wires are then maneuvered between the brackets to help mold and shape your teeth over time. The wires being placed on the bracket can sometimes be made the same colour as your enamel, so they’re less noticeable. Or, patients can choose from multiple colours to have a bit of fun with their braces – perfect for teens!
The basis of Invisalign gives patients the option to have braces discretely because they are made to be invisible. Invisalign uses aligner trays made of BPA-free plastic to subtly and gradually move your teeth. This type of plastic is smooth and comfortable, so wearing the trays is an easy process.
Invisalign is the virtually invisible and hygienic alternative to braces, that lets you keep smiling during your treatment.
Invisalign are custom-made, clear, removable aligners that gradually move your teeth.
Invisalign uses a 3D computer imaging technology to show you the complete treatment plan from the initial position to the final desired position. These custom-made aligners move teeth incrementally and is worn for about two weeks, then replaced by the next in the series, until the final desired position is achieved.
Once we determine you are a good candidate for Invisalign, we take records. The records include:
- Photographs of your teeth and face
- Dental impressions of your teeth
- Two x-rays
Once we have those records, we send them off to Invisalign with detailed instructions on how we want the teeth to be moved.
Next, Invisalign scans your impressions, so that they have a 3D model of your teeth in their computer. Their technicians will move the teeth step by step in the computer model to their final positions.
We then log on and review the movements of the teeth. Typically, they get it pretty close, but we may have to instruct them on some fine point details of how I want the teeth to be moved.
They make the changes, and then we review them again. We usually need to do this a couple of times to get the teeth exactly where I want them.
Once we are satisfied, I ask Invisalign to go ahead and make a series of trays (called aligners) and mail them to our office. It usually takes about 4 weeks from the time of the impressions until we get the trays back to our office. Then you are ready to start straightening your teeth!
You will wear a set of Invisalign trays for two weeks at a time. Each tray is manufactured so that the teeth are slightly straighter than the previous tray. The teeth will typically move 1/10mm per tray. So, when you put a new tray in, the teeth in the tray are slightly straighter than your teeth are. This puts pressure on your teeth, and over the course of two weeks your teeth will move so that they match the tray.
Once your aligners are in, we will ask you to wear your aligners close to full time. A major advantage of the Invisalign system is that you can take them out to eat. We also ask you to take them out to brush and floss. You will clean the aligners with a toothbrush at the time you are brushing. Typically, you will have your aligners in for about 20 hours a day. Wearing your aligners for this long will help the teeth move to their final position for that particular tray. If your teeth are not in final position when you go on to the next set of trays, they will not fit quite as well. This has a cumulative effect and by the time you get 3 or 4 trays down the line, they will not be fitting well at all.
It is not uncommon to get finished with your last tray and still have a few teeth that are still slightly out of position. We will explain this ahead of time, because it is pretty normal. If that is the case, we take a new set of impressions and have Invisalign make us some more trays to detail things. The process for this is identical to the process described above. The new trays will come back in 3-4 weeks and we will continue with straightening your teeth. Invisalign refers to these as refinement trays. There is NO ADDITIONAL FEE for this as it is part of the process. Most people need to get 1 set of refinement trays. Invisalign allows us to do this up to 3 times, but in our experience that is very rare.
Once we are done with your final trays, it is time for retainers. Most Invisalign Patients chose clear plastic retainers that look like Invisalign trays. Some people choose to get a fixed (permanent) retainer on the inside of their lower front teeth. This is a wire that goes across the inside of your lower front 6 teeth.
The choice will be yours as to what kind of retainer we use. I ask most people to wear their retainers full time for 2 months and then we cut back to just while sleeping. Eventually, we get to the point where you are just wearing it a night or two a week. People often ask why we need to use retainers. The simple fact is that nothing about your body remains constant. It all changes as we age and that includes your teeth. Biting and chewing can put a lot of pressure on your teeth, and over time, these forces can move your teeth around.
About St George’s Dental
The dentists at St George’s Dental pride themselves in the highest level of patient care.
Our patients come from all around the local area for their dental treatments. If you live in the following areas – we would love to become your dentist.
Lower Plenty | Greensborough | Bellfield | Bundoora | Briar Hill | Eaglemont | Eltham North | Heidelberg | Heidelberg Heights | Heidelberg West | Ivanhoe | Ivanhoe East | Macleod | Montmorency | Rosanna | Viewbank | St Helena | Watsonia | Watsonia North | Yallambie