Crooked teeth have a serious impact on the appearance of your smile. They can also cause several issues that have major consequences for your oral health and your overall quality of life. Teeth that are crooked are harder to clean properly. There are more areas for bacteria and plaque to hide in, which increases your risk for tooth decay and gum disease. Teeth that are crooked wear unevenly. They can also lead to significant jaw and temporomandibular joint pain, which can make even minor movements difficult. Traditional metal braces used to be the treatment of choice to correct alignment issues. Today, Shenandoah Family Dentistry offers an alternative, Invisalign.
Traditional Metal Braces
Metal braces have long been the treatment of choice for correcting crooked teeth, and with good reason. This treatment is highly effective. Metal braces have three basic components:
- Brackets. Brackets are small metal pieces affixed to the front of each tooth with special dental cement.
- Bands. Bands are placed around each of the back teeth. They anchor the archwires in place.
- Archwires. The archwires span across the teeth, attached to each one at the bracket by elastic O-rings. These wires are responsible for the movement and stabilization of your teeth.
There are several other components that may be used, depending on your specific circumstances. While metal braces are very effective, they do stand out in your smile. This can lead people, especially older teens and adults, to avoid treatment.
WHAT IS INVISALIGN?
Invisalign is an aesthetic alternative to traditional metal braces. Treatment involves the use of clear plastic aligners to move your teeth into proper alignment. Your aligners are created from impressions of your mouth. They are worn over the teeth and disappear once in place. Along with being practically invisible in your mouth, Invisalign aligners are also removable. However, to achieve the best results possible, it is recommended you wear them for 20 to 22 hours every day. The only time the aligners are meant to be removed is to eat and to brush your teeth.
HOW DOES INVISALIGN WORK?
Treatment with Invisalign involves the use of a series of aligners. Each set of aligners is meant to be worn for two weeks before you switch to the next set, and each new set is slightly different from the one before it. These gradual changes are designed to gently move your teeth to where they need to be, helping you to create a healthier, more beautiful smile. Instead of wires, the rigid plastic of the Invisalign aligners are responsible for the movement, and stabilization, of your teeth. The plastic places pressure on the teeth, which then puts pressure on the periodontal ligaments. The ligaments widen, allowing for the movement of your teeth. Once your teeth are in correct alignment, the aligners hold your teeth steady so the ligaments and bone can begin to heal.
Depending on your specific needs, treatment typically lasts 9 to 15 months, with most patients seeing their desired results in less than a year. During this time, you will go through anywhere from 18 to 30 sets of aligners. Once treatment is complete, you will be provided with a retainer that is designed to help you maintain your beautiful new smile.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF INVISALIGN?
Invisalign offers several benefits:
• Clear plastic aligners help you to avoid the traditional metal mouth appearance associated with braces and orthodontic treatment.
• You can enjoy all of your favorite foods without restrictions. There is no fear of bending wires or popping brackets loose. Your aligners are removed when you eat.
• Taking care of your mouth is easier. Again, the aligners are removed, and you can brush and floss normally, without having to worry about brackets and wires.
• Aligners offer greater comfort than metal braces.
• Fewer office visits. You are provided with several sets of aligners at once, avoiding the need to come in every few weeks for your new ones.
• Treatment time with Invisalign is typically shorter than with traditional braces.
If crooked teeth are affecting the quality of your smile, but you cannot stand the idea of traditional metal braces taking over your mouth, Invisalign can help. Call Shenandoah Family Dentistry to schedule your consultation today at (540) 667-8731.