Ideally, when the baby teeth fall out from the age of six, the permanent teeth that grow in to replace them grow in straight and even. This is not the case for everyone. Some people have teeth that have gaps in between or that are not straight. The good news is that there are ways to remedy this and get a perfect set of teeth that can be displayed in a smile with no embarassment. Invisalign and braces are two of the most popular methods of correcting teeth alignment anomalies.
Why teeth alignment matters
Having straight teeth is important for reasons that go beyond cosmetics. Teeth that are crowded or that are spaced too widely can result in red, swollen gums. Properly aligned teeth have the gums securely surrounding the teeth which acts as a barrier against problems like periodental diseases. Straight teeth are also easier to clean as food does not get trapped in between the crooks and cause decay and other problems like bad breath and possible loss of teeth. Having the teeth straightened can also take care of problems caused by uneven teeth such as an improper bite, difficulties with chewing and speech, misaligned jaws and more wear on the enamel.
How braces work
Braces have come a long way from the very prominent metal tracks that they first were. The braces of today are much less noticeable and much more comfortable to wear even though they are still made of metal. Braces have three main parts. There are the brackets that are attached to every tooth and there is the bonding or band which is what attaches the bracket onto the teeth. The third part is the archwire. This is a narrow metal wire that runs from one bracket to the next. The wire is attached to the bracket which is attached to the tooth. It is this wire that causes the teeth to move into place bit by bit until they fall into the right position and are properly aligned.
How Invisalign works
This option was created as an alternative to braces which many shunned because they were quite prominent, especially adults. This method straightens teeth without the brackets and wires. The aligners that are used are virtually invisible. This is in fact how the product got its name. Invisalign is a combination of two words, invisible and alignment which are put together and shortened to invisalign.
This option uses computers to generate an image of the perfectly aligned teeth based on an individual's dental alignment. The orthodonist takes pictures and impressions of your teeth and digital 3-D image of them is created. Customized aligners are then created following these patterns and the set of aligners are created to gently coax the uneven teeth into perfect alignment following the computer-generated image of perfectly aligned teeth. A set of aligners are worn for about two weeks before they are removed and another set is put on to keep moving the teeth towards perfect alignment. This is done until they are correctly aligned.
The length of time that aligners are worn varies. It will depend on how misaligned the teeth and how many are misaligned. A person who only has one or a few teeth that are misaligned may be done with the treatment in as little as a few months while another person who has a lot of teeth that are out of alignment or whose teeth are very badly misaligned could need to go on with the treatment for up to a year.
Invisalign Vs braces
Whether Invisalign or braces are better is an individual matter. The call is made by the orthodontist on a case by case basis. Generally speaking though, Invisalign has become the more popular option over braces. There are a number of reasons for this. One is that you can enjoy any food that you want. Braces present the challenge of removing all the food remains that are trapped in wires and brackets. Invisalign aligners can be removed so you can thoroughly brush and floss your teeth. Another advantage over braces is that aligners are made of plastic which is smooth and comfortable as opposed to sharp metal that can irritate the cheeks and gums.
Invisalign is also less demanding in terms of time. You only have to see the orthodontist every four to six weeks to get new aligners put in as opposed to braces which have to be adjusted every two or three weeks.
There is also the greatest advantage of all which teens and adults really appreciate which is that Invisalign is completely invisible. Nobody will know that you have crooked teeth and that you are working on straightening them. They will only notice after some time how perfect your smile is and how confidently you share it.