Introduced in 1999, Invisalign offers an alternative to metal braces for straightening teeth. Using computer generated measurements to create a custom-made series of aligners created for each individual patient. These aligner trays are made of smooth, comfortable and virtually invisible plastic that the patient wears their teeth, similar to a sports mouthguard but much less intrusive and virtually unnoticeable.
Wearing the aligners gradually and gently shifts the patient’s teeth into place, based on the exact movements their dentist or orthodontist has planned. There are no metal brackets to attach and no wires to tighten. The patient just changes to a new set of aligners approximately every two weeks, until the treatment is complete.
The five benefits to using Invisalign over metal braces:
- They are removable
Invisalign aligners are designed to be removed easily to eat, drink, floss and brush. This allows the patient to practice great oral hygiene while still being treated. Metal braces are bonded to the teeth, offering more challenges when it comes to removing food particles and debris.
- They are more comfortable
Traditional metal braces are uncomfortable and even painful. They also irritate the gum and cheeks. Invisalign is designed with soft plastic so they won’t harm the fragile tissue in the mouth. Also, because Invisalign is much less forceful during treatment than metal braces making pain and fatigue on the mouth much less likely.
- They are cosmetically better
Instead of a mouth full of wire and metal, you have clear plastic trays surrounding your teeth which most people won’t even notice, even when you smile.
- There are no food restrictions
There are limitations on what patients can eat or chew while in traditional metal braces (popcorn, chips, and gum). Those foods can loosen brackets and damage wires. Since Invisalign is removable, you can eat whatever you’d like then, after brushing, pop your aligner back in. The convenience of being able to remove your aligner means that you can eat whatever you’d like and not have to opt out of your favorite foods.
- They are quicker and require much less visits to your dentist
Metal braces can take up to three years before they come off. Invisalign tends to take only a year to eighteen months with occasional visits to your dentist to monitor progress. Metal braces require a visit to the dentist every si weeks to check tension on wires and have them adjusted. You have all your aligners already at home and change them out yourself every two weeks.
It should be noted that while Invisalign is a great solution to straightening the teeth of many, not every patient is a good candidate for Invisalign over metal braces. In order to see what solution works best for you, consult with your dentist and go over the pros and cons of each.