Everybody knows somebody who had worn braces when they were young, and for good reasons – they work! However, since the establishment of orthodontic treatment in the late 1800s, there have been significant advancements in materials and in orthodontic technologies, offering more options, such as Invisalign.
For many teens who are suffering from the effects of having less beautiful smiles, choosing between Invisalign and braces can be a complex process. In this article, we will take a closer look at the two options and why Invisalign can sometimes be the preferred orthodontic treatment for certain teenagers.
Key differences between Invisalign and braces
The most significant difference between the two is that Invisalign is like virtually invisible braces, while most braces are visible (with the exception of lingual braces). For many teenagers, this difference makes Invisalign a more visually attractive orthodontic option, as they do not have to worry about how they might look.
However, wearing Invisalign means having to remove them before every meal or snack, which can be a troublesome affair for teenagers. Additionally, because they are removable, there is a risk that they might end up not putting them on as often as they are required, which can delay and disrupt the treatment process.
Yet despite its “troublesome” nature, some people think that Invisalign is more suitable for some teenagers. Here are five reasons why.
Reason #1: Certain Invisalign mechanics can reduce the need for tooth extractions
Invisalign can be used for fixing orthodontic issues such as crowded teeth, open bite, teeth gaps, crossbite, underbite, overbite, and crooked teeth. Invisalign fixes orthodontic issues through various methods.
- Arch expansion: By expanding the teeth to a broader arc, space is created for the straightening of mild to moderately crooked teeth.
- Teeth grinding: Filing down the enamel can provide some space for the straightening of teeth.
- Distalization:By moving the premolar and molars backwards, space is created at the frontal region of the jaw for straightening teeth and reducing teeth protrusion.
With the combination of these biomechanics, the need for tooth extractions is reduced when you wear Invisalign trays. However, if you have dental crowding, teeth extraction might be recommended to make space before starting Invisalign because excessive expansion can increase the risk of root resorption, flaring of the molar and premolar teeth (which will disrupt your bite), gum recession and bone loss. Excessive tooth grinding can lead to tooth sensitivity, food impaction, unnatural tooth anatomy and residual spaces. Excessive distalization can lead to less space being available for the wisdom tooth to erupt, giving rise to impaction of the wisdom tooth. These mechanics are also available in other types of braces. However, people who prefer to wear Invisalign also tend to be more willing to accept some compromise and may be prepared to accept some risks to their teeth and jaw structures.
Reason #2: Saves time
Invisalign involves wearing clear, smooth, flexible, and thin plastic aligner trays. There are no wires that might poke out or brackets that might break. Invisalign treatment involves creating the desired bite and smile and reverse engineering each step into a series of nearly invisible aligners.
Invisalign treatment reviews can be at six to eight weekly intervals as there is less chance of tissue damage from breakage or wires poking, and there is less movement of the teeth. The visits tend to be shorter as there is less need for adjustments and there is a limited amount of adjustment that can be done. This saves you time spent in orthodontist appointments. Fixed braces on the other hand can cause irritation if they break, and the tooth movements are more pronounced; hence they need closer supervision with four to six weekly orthodontic appointments.
Reason #3: Safer and more comfortable
With Invisalign treatment, the pressure applied to your teeth is more tolerable and more comfortable as compared to fixed braces, because the trays can be removed by yourself, and the pressure applied is limited by the shape of the tray. Tooth movement can also be controlled in such a manner that a group of targeted teeth or an individual tooth can be moved while others are fixed in place.
Additionally, the smooth and thin surface of Invisalign trays, unlike the wires and brackets associated with fixed braces, makes it more comfortable for the tongue and lips. Teenagers who are more physically active can continue to take part in sports without having to worry about lip scratches due to accidental trauma to the mouth that could result in the breaking of the brackets or wires.
Reason #4: Easier cleaning for healthier gums and teeth
Overlapping and crooked teeth are already hard to clean and maintain as they are. Adding wires and metal brackets into the mix makes brushing an even more complex situation. While conventional toothbrushes and flosses work fine, extra care has to be taken when cleaning your teeth and braces to prevent tooth decay, which can cause permanent scars even after the braces are removed.
Invisalign makes oral care and maintenance easier. All you need to do is remove them before you brush and floss your teeth and put them back on after you are done.
Reason #5: Eat and be merry
Teenagers are a bunch of growing individuals who need quick access to food when they are hungry. Invisalign trays can be removed quickly before consuming food. With fixed braces, there are several restrictions to the types of food you can eat, such as avoiding crunchy, hard food to avoid pushing the wires or brackets out of position.
While it is still best to avoid certain foods during your Invisalign treatment, the diet is less restrictive, and a wider range of foods is allowable. The most important rule is that you must remove your aligners before drinking or eating anything except water and non-staining beverages.
While Invisalign might seem like the ideal orthodontic treatment for some teenagers, they are not viable for conditions such as small or conical teeth, short teeth, severely displaced or impacted teeth, and situations like midline movements, extrusion of teeth, untwisting badly rotated teeth, and closing large gaps between the teeth. In such cases, fixed braces are the preferred treatment choice. Nevertheless, BigSmile Dental Clinic offers an extensive range of orthodontic treatments. Contact us to find out more!