You’ve finally taken the first steps toward the confident smile you’ve always wanted, and now it’s time to consider your treatment options. Not so long ago, the only way to straighten teeth was with traditional metal braces. At Lively & Napoli Orthodontics, you have more options than ever to get the smile of your dreams! Patients of all ages throughout Stuart, FL, can choose between traditional metal or clear braces and Invisalign clear aligners for a smile transformation.
Each option can correct various issues and help you achieve a beautifully aligned smile, so how do you know what to choose? That’s where we come in! When you schedule your free consultation with Dr. Mark Lively or Dr. Vincent Napoli, they’ll examine your teeth and recommend the option that will work best for your specific needs. In the meantime, let’s explore some differences between braces and Invisalign clear aligners!
The most obvious difference between Invisalign and braces is their appearance. Understanding how each appliance works will help you better appreciate its unique properties! Braces are what we refer to as fixed appliances. When Dr. Lively or Dr. Napoli applies braces to your teeth, they’ll start by attaching metal or ceramic brackets to each tooth with a bonding material. Then they’ll insert a thin metal wire to connect the brackets. The gentle force this archwire exerts shifts your teeth into alignment over time. As the name implies, braces remain fixed in place throughout the treatment process.
In contrast, Invisalign aligners are removable orthodontic appliances. Instead of brackets and wires, the Invisalign system uses a series of clear removable aligners to gradually move the teeth into place. These aligners are completely customized to fit your smile and are made from a special thermoplastic material that is smooth and comfortable. Because they’re virtually invisible, many people won’t even realize you’re wearing them, and since the trays are removable, you’ll have more flexibility than other options.
Every case is different, and what works for one person may not be a good fit for another. As we mentioned above, when you visit our Stuart office for your initial consultation, your orthodontist will perform a thorough examination of your mouth. He’ll use this and the other diagnostic records we collect to create a personalized treatment plan built around your unique orthodontic needs. If you have a challenging case that requires more complex tooth movements, braces may produce better results. However, Invisalign can be an excellent option for mild to moderate misalignment or crowding issues. Clear aligners can also be a perfect solution if your smile needs touch-up treatment.
Time spent in treatment
Because every patient responds to treatment differently, there’s no one answer for how long you’ll need to wear braces or clear aligners. That being said, the treatment time for Invisalign can be quite a bit shorter than it is with traditional braces. When patients are compliant—wearing their aligners for 20-22 hours every day and switching them out for the next in the series every few weeks—treatment averages between six and 18 months. The average for traditional braces is usually about 24 months. Remember that your treatment time could be more or less than average, depending on your case.
Time spent in the chair
Whether you choose traditional braces or Invisalign clear aligners, follow-up visits are an important part of the treatment process! If you wear braces, you can expect to visit Lively & Napoli Orthodontics every six to ten weeks for adjustment appointments. During these visits, your orthodontist will change the bands attached to the brackets and may also replace the wire. With Invisalign, we’ll schedule check-ups every six weeks to ensure your treatment is progressing as it should be. We do our best to keep your follow-up appointments fairly short, but they’re an essential part of treatment, so you don’t want to skip them.
If you have braces, you’ll have to be cautious about what you eat and drink during treatment. That means steering clear of sticky or crunchy foods, which can damage the brackets and wires and increase the risk of developing cavities during treatment. Food restrictions can take some adjustment and are often one of the most frustrating things about wearing braces. Enter Invisalign! Because the clear aligners are designed to be removed when eating or drinking anything other than water, you can still eat everything you normally enjoy. This offers you a bit of extra freedom in your orthodontic journey.
Caring for your teeth (and your appliance!)
Since traditional braces are fixed appliances, they can trap food debris and bacteria throughout the day. It’s important to clean your teeth and braces daily, but dental hygiene can take extra time when navigating all the brackets, wires, and bands.
On the other hand, Invisalign aligners can be taken out before brushing and flossing as normal. This can make it much easier to keep your teeth and gums in good shape while straightening your smile! We recommend brushing after every meal and snack, regardless of the appliance you choose, if possible, and flossing every night before bed. There are also tools to help you clean those hard-to-reach areas, such as water flossers and ortho-picks.
Find the best treatment for your smile with Lively & Napoli Orthodontics
Here at Lively & Napoli Orthodontics, our expert team is committed to helping you achieve a perfect smile using the best treatment option for your needs. If you’d like to learn more about the treatments we offer, including braces and Invisalign, get in touch to schedule your FREE consultation. Begin your journey to improved oral health with Dr. Lively or Dr. Napoli at our Stuart office today!