Since they first became available in 1999, over two million patients have received Invisalign®. The clear aligners are customized to gently move teeth without the metal wires and brackets that make up traditional braces. Recently, the Academy of General Dentistry formally endorsed the product, and the Harvard School of Dental Medicine began requiring students to be Invisalign®-certified prior to graduation. It is no surprise that many people want to weigh the benefits of Invisalign® vs. braces. During a consultation at our San Antonio practice, Dr. Chris Reger can help determine which method is best to help you achieve your treatment goals. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation.
An Overview of Traditional Braces
If you wore braces earlier in life, or you knew someone who wore them, you may be familiar with the problems that plague people with braces. From pain in the jawbone, to mouth sores from poking wires, to loose brackets, braces come with a long list of potential issues. On top of the mechanical concerns, people in traditional braces must avoid popcorn, chewing gum, and other sticky or hard foods. For most patients, braces must be worn for one to two years, sometimes longer. Every month or so, the patient must attend an appointment so that their wires may be tightened. This process usually causes lingering aches and pains for a few days. Once braces are removed, some patients experience discoloration of tooth enamel and require bleaching. Though rare, patients may also lose a bit of enamel when brackets are removed, and bonding is then required. There is no doubt that braces do their job: they straighten teeth. However, they present a vast array of discomforts and inconveniences.
An Overview of Invisalign®
The first obvious difference between traditional braces and Invisalign® is that Invisalign® has no metal parts. The treatment consists of a series of clear, all-acrylic aligners that fit in the mouth like a sports guard or bruxism splint. Because aligners are not attached to teeth, they can be removed at any time. Brushing, flossing, and eating are therefore easier with Invisalign® than traditional braces. Patients have no dietary restrictions with these clear aligners. Furthermore, average treatment takes 12-18 months if patients wear their aligners as directed, which is usually 22-23 hours per day. Every six weeks, the patient needs to visit Dr. Reger for a check-up on their progress. In shorter time than traditional braces, with more convenience and less risk for pain, Invisalign® provides the same results for the right patients: straighter teeth.
Until your exam, Dr. Reger cannot say with certainty which type of orthodontic treatment is best for your case. Generally, teens and adults with mild to moderate orthodontic needs are well suited for Invisalign®. More advanced treatment may require traditional braces.
During your appointment, Dr. Reger will review the pros and cons of both treatment options, assess your condition, and help you determine which treatment is advisable for your case. Mention this website, and your initial Invisalign® consultation will be free. If you decide to undergo Invisalign® treatment, Dr. Reger will also provide two sets of retainers at no cost.