Although braces are much more common in modern society, humans have had an affinity for straightening their teeth for centuries. For instance, archaeologists discovered rudimentary metal attachments (similar to modern metal braces) on well-preserved mummies. Furthermore, famous ancient Greek historical figures (including Hippocrates and Aristotle) considered methods for straightening teeth.
While inventors have made great strides in orthodontic technology since then, many people still desire straighter teeth. If you’re interested in obtaining a straighter, healthier smile, schedule an Invisalign® consultation in Dallas, TX, with one of our Lakewood Dental Group dentists. Dr. Shaun Sigurdson or Dr. Mihir Patel can tell you if you qualify for Invisalign®. If not, one of our caring dentists can refer you to a specialist to address your individualized needs.
If you pause for reflection, orthodontic treatment is an odd concept. How can clear aligners and braces move your teeth in a relatively short amount of time? Here, our Texas dentistry team explains:
- How orthodontic treatment works
- The distinctions between Invisalign, traditional braces, and at-home aligner treatment
- How age impacts orthodontic treatment candidacy
- How to start Invisalign in Dallas, TX
How Orthodontic Treatment Works
Even though your teeth might seem secure in place, you might be surprised to discover that your teeth aren’t directly connected to your jawbones. Instead, your teeth are linked to a set of connective tissue fibers known as the periodontal ligament (PDL). The PDL attaches to the alveolar bone (a thick bone ridge containing tooth sockets). Then, the alveolar bones are affixed to the upper and lower jawbones.
When braces or clear aligners exert constant pressure on your teeth, the PDL stretch on one side and compress on the opposite side. Consequently, this gentle pressure allows the tooth to move. Then, the new bone cells grow to support the tooth in its new position in a process known as bone remodeling.
Like how your muscles become stronger the more you work out, your teeth and jawbones also respond to load-bearing activities (such as orthodontic treatment). Eventually, well-orchestrated orthodontic pressure manipulates the jawbone and teeth into the desired position.
Texas Dentistry Compares Contemporary Orthodontic Treatments
If you’re interested in orthodontic treatment, it’s sensible to do your homework and compare your treatment options. Here, our Texas Dentistry helps you accomplish that:
Traditional Braces vs. Invisalign
Dentists and orthodontists have prescribed traditional metal braces and Invisalign to effectively straighten teeth for decades. But how is Invisalign different from traditional braces?
- Aesthetics: As mentioned above, orthodontic treatment requires gentle pressure to adjust alignment. But the way that Invisalign and braces accomplish this goal differs. Invisalign relies on meticulously crafted plastic trays that adjust in increments, while braces require brackets, arch wires, and rubber bands to move teeth. The sheer nature of Invisalign is, well, sheer. Generally, patients appreciate the discretion that is associated with clear aligner therapy. On the other hand, traditional braces are more prominent and bulkier. Who wants to be called “brace face?”
- Comfort: It’s normal to feel minor discomfort during orthodontic treatment because of the pressure on your teeth, bones, and PDL. Yet, compared to traditional braces, Invisalign might feel more comfortable. Invisalign is composed of smooth plastic. Conversely, metal braces are made of metal, which can scratch your cheeks, lips, and gums. (Thankfully, orthodontic wax can protect these soft tissue areas.) Also, if you need a tiny break during the day from orthodontic treatment, you can easily slip off Invisalign trays for, let’s say, a few minutes. (Above all, please follow your dentist’s instructions. Usually, this means wearing Invisalign for at least 22 hours per day.)
- Food Freedom: Traditional braces snap off easily, so you might not be able to enjoy some of the foods you love if you choose them for orthodontic treatment. For example, popcorn, crunchy foods, and even pizza crust are off-limits for people with braces. On the contrary, eating with Invisalign is easy. So, slip off your Invisalign trays before meals and snacks, then enjoy!
- Oral Hygiene: Because Invisalign trays are removable, it makes daily oral hygiene routines a breeze. Remove your trays, and then brush and floss as usual. Also, take a moment to gently clean your trays with a soft-bristled toothbrush and gentle antibacterial soap to remove any caked-on food particles or debris. In opposition, cleaning your teeth with braces takes practice, special tools, and a little finesse.
- Gum Health: Generally, individuals who choose Invisalign have better periodontal health than those with fixed orthodontic appliances (like braces).
At Home Aligner Treatment vs. Invisalign
Orthodontic treatment is a complex biological process that requires years of education and experience to specialize. Concerning at-home aligner treatment, the American Association of Orthodontists asks the public to “exercise due diligence.”
When done correctly, orthodontic treatment can be a life-changing experience. However, if done incorrectly or if there’s a problem you aren’t aware of, you risk permanent damage to your teeth, gums, and supporting bone structure.
Orthodontic Treatment and Age
At what age should you start orthodontic treatment? Although many imagine people who wear braces as tweens and teens, a quarter of the population that wear braces are adults.
When your dentist decides whether you qualify for orthodontic treatment, he will review many variables when developing a customized treatment plan. Thankfully, age is rarely a deciding factor.
Comparatively, orthodontic treatment is a little more complicated for adults. Children and adolescent bones are still developing, making it an ideal time to get braces.
On the contrary, adult bones have stopped growing. Therefore, orthodontic treatment might require extended treatment time or even surgery. Additionally, grown-ups are more likely to have oral health issues that must be addressed before orthodontic treatment can begin (for example, gum disease). Although adult orthodontic treatment might be more complex, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible.
Your dentist will inspect your alignment and oral health at your initial consultation. Then, he will decide if you qualify for Invisalign, braces, or other orthodontic treatment.
Visit Your Dallas, Texas Dentistry to Discuss Your Orthodontic Treatment Options
If your smile reduces your self-esteem or if you have issues with your bite, get in touch with Lakewood Dental Group in Dallas, TX, by calling 214-827-1885 or messaging us online.