Dr Jaymish Patel, Woking dentist, looks at this popular tooth straightening system.
There is a common perception that dental braces are cumbersome things that can also be uncomfortable to wear and, in some cases, may also attract a certain amount of ridicule, especially for teenagers and young adults. It is certainly true that braces have not always been discreet and it would be easy to spot anyone who was wearing them.
These factors, put together, may well have deterred some patients who needed, or wanted, to have straighter teeth from having them done.
Modern cosmetic dentistry has come a long way though since the highly visible metal braces which were the only way to achieve a set of nice, even teeth. Our Woking cosmetic dentists are now able to help you achieve this in a much more discreet, convenient and comfortable manner through the use of the Invisalign orthodontic system.
Traditional versus modern braces
Traditionally, dental braces have been made from metal wiring and brackets. These needed to be fitted by the dentist and would be tightened according to how the teeth needed adjusting. This is a successful method but it does have some drawbacks as we shall see. This method is still used for some straightening corrections, albeit using more refined and tooth coloured materials.
Invisalign does not use wires and brackets at all and instead uses a series of transparent trays which fit over the patient’s teeth. You will receive several of these with each designed to be worn for a few weeks before being replaced by the next in the series. Over time, these will gradually and gently encourage your teeth towards the desired position to leave you with a straight and even smile.
Advantages of Invisalign
There are 4 main benefits of using Invisalign over some systems.
The trays used in this method are not ‘off the shelf’ but are made to fit each individual patient. This is done through the use of 3D scans which are then sent to the laboratory where the trays are made. Because of this customised approach, the maximum possible comfort is achieved. Patients should remember though that it is not unusual to feel a little ‘pressure’ from the trays as this is how the teeth are moved towards their correct position. This is not likely to be too uncomfortable but it may take a few days whilst you adjust to the initial experience.
One of the main appeals of the transparent aligner approach of this system is just that. The fact that, when worn, Invisalign are not noticeable to most people and can usually only be seen close up. Some traditional metal brace wearers become more reclusive when wearing them because they are embarrassed when they smile and may prefer to avoid social events. With Invisalign, this is not a concern and, in situations where you do feel exposed due to the closeness of those around you, such as a job interview for example, the trays can be removed by the patient for the duration of the interview and put back in afterwards. You should do this sparingly though as the more often you remove the trays, the longer the total treatment time will be.
As mentioned above, your trays are designed to be removed and replaced by yourself. This is not only so that they are not visible but also to make it practical for you when eating. Traditional braces could make eating some foods quite tricky and potentially result in food becoming trapped in the wiring. Aside from how this might look, there are oral health issues that can arise which we will discuss shortly. The ability to remove your trays before joining your friends in a restaurant and replacing them afterwards means that you can relax and enjoy your evening without being worried about what you are eating.
Wearers of traditional metal wiring braces are more prone to tooth decay than normal. This is because food and bacteria can become trapped in the wiring and can be hard to remove. Cleaning your teeth is also more difficult as well and there is an increased risk of tooth decay when you wear this type of brace. Because Invisalign are removable, you can clean your teeth as you normally would, replacing the trays afterwards. It is also important that you keep the trays thoroughly cleaned as well as these could otherwise harbour bacteria that could be harmful to your teeth and gums. We will explain how to do this during your consultation.
Although Invisalign is not the cheapest method of straightening your teeth, it is worthwhile remembering that you may need to wear these for a year or more. The improved practicalities of wearing the trays will make this time much more convenient. You can also spread the cost of your treatment by using one of the payment plans available at our Woking dental clinic.
If you would like to find out more about Invisalign or any other cosmetic dental treatment, why not make an appointment to have an initial consultation with us? You can do this by calling the team at Synergy Parkside on 01483 766355.