You go in for a dental check-up and the dentist examines the state of your jaw. They may notice something like too many teeth beginning to come in. You may have developed an over- or underbite that, if left alone, will become a big problem with the way that you speak, chew, or even appear. Some gaps between your teeth, which used to be fun for doing things like spitting out a mouth full of water, have become even more pronounced.
If this is the case for any of the above, your dentist may talk to you or your parents about the need for orthodontic work. The question is… what kind would be best? There is the longtime go-to: metal braces. Then there is the relatively new contender: Invisalign.
Before you decide, it’s important to get all the information possible to ensure that you choose the option that best suits you. Read on to find some things to point you in the right direction to decide: Should I get braces or Invisalign?
All About Braces
Metal braces have been used for many decades to correct everything from an overbite to gapped teeth. The dentist dots your teeth with brackets, and runs a metal wire through the brackets along the path of your upper or lower jaw. They also add rubber bands, usually to the back teeth, though it depends on what you need to have done. If your mouth is overcrowded with teeth, then some may have to be extracted to make room for the proper realignment.
Usually the brackets are put on the outside, but for some people who are self-conscious about being seen with braces, they can be put behind the teeth. These are known as lingual braces. There are also brackets that can be less visible than the metal ones. One benefit of the lingual ones is that the time needed is shorter than the traditional metal ones – a year, as opposed to 18 months to three years. While it’s more expensive, the speed of the results for the lingual bands is worth it.
The way that the braces work is that the orthodontist will require you to come in regularly to tighten those metal bands so that your teeth are moving into the correct position in your mouth.There will be some initial discomfort each time as you get used to the new pressure.
The main complaint that people have about braces is that their food choices become much more limited. They can kiss chewing gum goodbye for the time being. The same goes to other sticky or hard candies. Brushing teeth can be more challenging, since food can get stuck between the brackets. Crunchy foods like apples are no good. Ignoring the warnings here can result in loose brackets which can then result in extra visits to the orthodontist. They also are in your mouth all the time. There is no relief until they are removed for good.
All About Invisalign
Life is all about choices, and Invisalign offers something else to those who want to correct their teeth – the ability to do so without being noticeable. What happens is that you would go to your dentist or orthodontist and have an impression made of your mouth. They would then send it to the Invisalign offices and would work with them on how the clear mouthguards that you wear would be constructed.
You would then get a series of clear mouthguards, or trays. They snap on the upper or lower part of your mouth – just like you would if you had a sports mouthpiece. The difference is that you wear the Invisalign guard all day, with the exception of eating and brushing your teeth. Yes – you can still eat the foods that you did before the Invisalign was ordered. Still, you wear them roughly 22 of the 24 hours each day.
One thing you must do is be conscious of where the tray is at all times if you take it out to eat. This is especially important if you eat in a cafeteria, like most high school and some college students. It can be ridiculously easy to put it down on a tray, talk with your friends and then accidentally dump the guard into the trash. Have some kind of holder that you can wear or in your bag. You also need to brush your teeth after eating before putting the mouthguard back in, so please budget that into your lunchtime at school.
You must follow the tray schedule. Do not miss days. You might not notice the effects if you switch from one to the other but as time goes on, the backup will render future trays unwearable. That will necessitate more work. Also, while you can wear them from a year or more, it’s not exact. You might need a few more mouthguards than originally planned.
Of course, you need to have your budget in mind when planning too. Braces are much more expensive than Invisalign, though that depends on the material used too and how many dental visits you need. If you use Invisalign, you won’t go to the dentist as much – provided that you follow instructions, of course. Also, you will still need your twice-yearly check-up in either case.
You just need to do what is best for you. Do as much research as you can before moving ahead. Be sure to use reputable sources like ada.com or WebMD.
One caveat – you may see offers to have “Do It At Home” Invisalign types. It’s best to ignore those. As cheap as they may seem, you could wind up paying more if they don’t work. Do this under the eye of a licensed professional.
Speaking of licensed professionals, Dr. Shaista Najmi and the staff at Ivory Dental Jacksonville can help you with either braces or Invisalign. Give them a call to see what they can do for you: 904-998-1555.