You’ve finally taken the first steps towards the confident smile you’ve always wanted, and now it’s time to look into treatment options. Not so long ago, the only way to straighten teeth was with traditional metal braces. Now Saddle Creek Orthodontics is able to offer metal braces, clear ceramic braces, and Invisalign clear aligners to patients of all ages!
All of these options can correct a variety of issues and help you achieve a beautifully aligned smile, so you may not be sure which one is right for you. We’ve got you covered! When you schedule your free consultation with Dr. Fagala, he’ll be able to examine your teeth and recommend the option that will work best for your specific needs.
In the meantime, let’s take a look at some of the major 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 a fixed appliance. When Dr. Fagala applies braces to your teeth, he will begin by attaching metal or ceramic brackets to each tooth with a bonding material. A thin metal wire is then used to connect the brackets. The gentle force this archwire exerts is what shifts the teeth into the desired positions over time. As the name implies, braces remain fixed in place throughout the treatment process.
In contrast, Invisalign aligners are a removable orthodontic appliance. 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 computer-generated for a customized fit and made from a special thermoplastic material that is smooth and quite comfortable. Because they’re virtually invisible, many people won’t even realize you’re wearing them, and the removability offers an extra measure of flexibility for active lifestyles.
Every case is different, and what works for one patient may not be a good fit for another. As we mentioned above, when you visit our Germantown or Collierville office for your initial consultation, Dr. Fagala will perform a thorough examination of your mouth. Based on this and the other diagnostic records we collect, he’ll be able to create a personalized treatment plan that is built around your unique orthodontic needs. If you have a challenging case that requires more complex tooth movements, braces may produce better results. Invisalign, however, can be an excellent option for mild to moderate misalignment or crowding issues. Clear aligners can also be a perfect solution for anyone needing touch-up treatment.
Time spent in treatment
Because every patient responds to treatment in their own way, there’s no universal answer for how long someone will 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 out each one for the next in the series every 1-2 weeks—treatment tends to average anywhere from 6-18 months. The average for traditional braces is usually about 24 months. Keep in mind that your total treatment time could be more or less than either average, depending on your specific case.
Time spent in the chair
Whether you choose traditional braces or Invisalign clear aligners, follow-up visits will be an important part of the treatment process! If you’re wearing braces, you can expect to see Dr. Fagala every 6-10 weeks for adjustment appointments. During these visits, he will change the bands that are attached to the brackets and may choose to replace the wire as well. With Invisalign, we’ll schedule check-ups with Dr. Fagala about every six weeks so he can ensure your treatment is progressing as it should be. We do our best to keep all of our follow-up appointments fairly short, but they’re an essential part of treatment so you don’t want to skip them.
To protect the brackets and wires, patients in braces need to be more cautious about what they eat and drink. That means steering clear of sticky or crunchy foods as these can damage the appliance and may increase the risk of developing cavities during treatment. Food restrictions can take a while to get used to 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 a fixed appliance, they can trap food debris and bacteria throughout the day. It’s important to remove these daily, but dental hygiene can take extra time when you have to navigate 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 we straighten your smile! We do recommend that all patients brush after every meal and snack if possible, and floss 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 right treatment for your smile with Saddle Creek Orthodontics
Here at SCO, our expert team is committed to helping you achieve a perfect smile using the treatment option that’s best 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. Fagala and Saddle Creek Orthodontics today!