Crooked teeth are a big deal. Not only do they impact the quality of your smile, but they can also have an impact on your oral health. They can cause issues such as uneven tooth wear and severe jaw pain (a condition known as a temporomandibular disorder). Metal braces are a highly effective treatment available for straightening your misaligned teeth. However, metal braces are often associated with young teenagers. For older teens and adults with crooked teeth, metal braces can be a major source of self-consciousness. At National Dental Melville, we offer Invisalign® as an alternative.
Traditional Metal Braces?
For many years, metal braces have been the best treatment method for correcting misaligned teeth. They are highly effective, and still a popular option today. They have three basic components. Metal brackets are set on the surfaces of your teeth. Metal bands hook around your back teeth. Archwires are anchored by the metal bands and attach to each bracket with the help of an elastic O-ring. The archwires are responsible for the movement of your teeth, as well as holding them stable while your jawbone heals. Metal braces are often associated with kids between the ages of 11 and 13. Adults with misaligned teeth can benefit from orthodontic treatment as well. However, most adults are not fond of the idea of such a visible treatment.
What is Invisalign®?
Invisalign® provides an alternative to traditional metal braces. Instead of brackets and archwires, Invisalign® uses clear, rigid plastic aligners. The aligners are made from 3-dimensional images of your mouth. In your mouth, the Invisalign® aligners are invisible. They are also removable. However, for you to achieve the best results in the shortest amount of time, they should be worn for 20 to 22 hours each day. They should only be removed to eat and to brush your teeth.
HOW DOES INVISALIGN® WORK?
Treatment using Invisalign® involves a series of aligners. Each set of aligners is meant to be worn for two weeks at a time, and each one is slightly different from the one before it. The rigid plastic puts pressure on your teeth, which puts pressure on the periodontal ligament (the structure that holds your teeth in place). The ligament widens, slightly loosening the tooth. The Invisalign® aligner guides your teeth to their proper location.
The exact length of your treatment will vary based on your specific situation. Typically, treatment with Invisalign® takes anywhere from 9 to 15 months, with most patients seeing the desired results in less than a year. In rare cases, treatment may take up to two years. Over the course of your treatment, you may go through anywhere from 18 to 30 sets of aligners.
BENEFITS OF INVISALIGN®
Invisalign® has several benefits:
- Invisalign® aligners are clear, making them invisible in your mouth. No more embarrassing metal mouth.
- What you can eat is no longer limited. With traditional braces, there are several foods that need to be avoided, such as whole apples, corn on the cob, and chewy or sticky foods. These foods can dislodge brackets, and bend and break wires. Because Invisalign® aligners are removable, you can enjoy all of your favorite foods.
- Oral care is much easier. You remove your aligners to brush your teeth, avoiding the need to brush and floss around wires and brackets.
- Invisalign® aligners are more comfortable than metal braces.
- You will have fewer dental visits overall.
- The treatment time is shorter than with traditional metal braces.
If you have crooked teeth but are concerned about “metal mouth”, Invisalign® may be able to help. Call National Dental Melville today at (631) 816-2277 to learn more.