A beautiful smile makes a great first impression. It’s one of the first things that a person will notice about you. It’s a great feeling, greeting the world with a confident smile. A beautiful smile is also a healthy smile. At Ragan Orthodontics in Dallas, TX we specialize in creating beautiful smiles by using braces for adults and children, as well as advanced Invisalign dental technology. Both are effective, but there are some clear benefits to to the newer technology that we will discuss.
Why Straighten Your Teeth?
Straightening your teeth is not only a great way to gain confidence in your appearance but is important for your overall dental health. Crooked teeth crowd each other and create multiple problems. They are harder to keep clean, leading to issues of plaque and tartar build-up, cavities, and gingivitis. Crowded teeth can also cause problems for your jaw, and lead to headaches.
An Unhealthy Bite
Having an uneven bite can cause you to develop jaw problems. In severe cases, these problems can cause you difficulty chewing, breathing, and speaking. An uneven bite can also cause undue wear on your teeth as they clash together in unhealthy ways. This wears down the protective enamel and raises the risk of tooth decay and deep cavities.
Some problems that overcrowded teeth can cause include:
- Tooth wear, decay, and loss
- Difficulty chewing
- Jaw pain
- Grinding and jaw stress
- Gingivitis and gum disease
Orthodontic treatments are important in order to prevent these problems or reverse them if they have begun. A common and effective treatment of the multitude of problems that a bad bite and crowded teeth cause is to use some form of braces. These might be traditional metal or ceramic braces, or the newer Invisalign option. When you come in for your examination and consultation, we can help you understand the differences between these treatments and find the best solution for you.
The Benefits of Invisalign Over Metal Braces
Traditional braces for adults and children are still a very effective orthodontic tool in correcting teeth placement and jaw issues. However, having those metal pieces in your mouth isn’t everyone’s idea of fun. Newer options that have come from technological advancements include clear aligners. There are a number of things that set these two treatment types apart. We’ll give you an overview here to help you decide which treatment may be better for you.
Food and Drink
When you have traditional metal braces there are certain foods that should be avoided. Some foods can damage the wires of the braces or get caught in them. One of the benefits of using Invisalign is that the aligners can be removed before eating, so you don’t have to change any of your dietary habits. With this treatment method, you would remove the aligners, or trays, eat or drink, clean your teeth well, and then put the trays back into your mouth.
The clear aligner trays are often preferred for their subtle, unobtrusive appearance. They are clear and fit perfectly over the teeth, making them hard to notice. If you would rather not have people know that you are having orthodontic treatment, this can be a big plus.
If you actively play sports, metal braces can cause lip injuries in some cases. If you are careful or do not play contact sports, however, this is unlikely to happen. If you engage in contact sports or other vigorous activities, traditional braces may not be the best choice for you.
Cleaning Your Teeth
Metal braces can make it a bit tricky to clean your teeth properly. There is a lot of equipment that can get in the way of your brush and floss. The braces also create more places for food to get trapped and cause plaque and tartar build-up.
On the other hand, aligners can be removed. You can brush and floss normally and effectively, and then simply reinsert the aligners. Invisalign can also make working around previous dental work, like crowns, much simpler.
How It Feels
Our patients generally prefer Invisalign’s smooth, tooth-hugging material to the feeling of the metal braces. They are fairly comfortable to wear, and you can easily forget you even have them on.
Choosing aligners over traditional metal braces does allow you to spend less time in the orthodontist’s office. With traditional braces, you can expect to come in for a check-up and tightening about every 6 to 10 weeks. With aligners, you should be able to come only every 10 to 12 weeks to change aligners.
How Does It Work?
A special set of aligners will be custom-made to fit your teeth and mouth. This aligner will gradually encourage your teeth to move into their correct position, little by little. You will wear an aligner for about two weeks before your teeth reach a new position and a new aligner is placed to continue the progress.
Up to 30 aligners may be used in your treatment, allowing for the gradual and comfortable movement of your teeth at a healthy speed. It is common to come in for follow-ups every 8 to 10 weeks. The entire treatment will usually take from 6 to 15 months.
Can Teens Use Invisalign?
This treatment can be used by anyone of any age, but they are a particularly good choice for teens for a few reasons. Many teens who may worry about how they will look with braces on, or whether they will be teased, may prefer the near-invisible aligners. The trays can also be removed for special occasions. If your teen is stressed about having to wear braces for their graduation pictures, going this route could help save a lot of anguish!
Teens are also more likely to be involved in sports where traditional braces can cause cut lips. For all of these reasons, clear aligners are a great choice for teen orthodontal work.
Stylish Braces For Adults
Aligners are also a great choice for adults because it makes the process of fixing teeth less obvious and more convenient for someone with a busy schedule. Many adults find it hard to find time to make it in for all those visits to the dentist every 6 to 10 weeks necessary for traditional braces. These professionals also like the fact that they don’t have to let everyone know that they are wearing braces. They can continue on with their work without having to feel self-conscious.
What You Need To Know
For this treatment type to work, it is important to follow your orthodontist’s directions. The aligners should be worn day and night, with two to four hours a day being an acceptable amount of time to keep them off. Don’t worry if you think your child might be taking them off a bit more regularly than they were directed. The aligners that are given to teens will actually indicate whether they are being worn for a long enough period of time.
It is very easy to care for the aligners. All you need to do to keep them clean and free of stains is to rinse them every night and give them a gentle brushing. There are also a number of products that can help to clean the trays.
When it comes to clear orthodontic aligners, Invisalign is a standout leader. Patients consistently report that their aligners have a better fit and are more comfortable than competitor brands. This product also provides results in half the time as its competitors, due to its innovative custom-made material.
Making a Dental Impression, The Modern Way
We always begin treatment by taking an impression of your teeth. This helps us to plot out where your teeth are and thereby develop a plan for how to get them where they need to be. We now use advanced digital scanning technology to make these impressions.
In the not too distant past, dental impressions were not a fun experience. Taking an impression consisted of having a thick tray full of putty put in the patient’s mouth for them to clamp down on for up to five minutes. The impression was also sometimes slightly imperfect.
Thankfully, we are living a brand new age of dentistry, with clear and comfortable braces, and easy, reliable tooth impression tools. The iTero scanner is the latest in dental technology to revolutionize the way that we take an impression of your teeth.
Modern Technology: iTero Scanner
Instead of uncomfortable putty molds, we use digital technology to create an accurate impression of your teeth. This is done using a digital wand, which scans an area of your mouth to create a digital picture. The entire process usually takes less than five minutes.
You Get To See How It Works
Having a digital impression made allows us to really involve you in your treatment plan. You are able to see a digital rendering of your teeth as they are, and a representation of what they will look like at the end of the treatment. We use this to explain to you how the process will work, what it will look like, and empower you to be a part of the journey! We find that the clearer the result is to you, the more committed you will be to doing your best to achieve it.
Making a Mold
The digital impression that we take is used to create molds that perfectly match your tooth and mouth contours. Afterward, we can use those molds to make your custom-made aligners.
Your First Visit
We will first examine your mouth and teeth to determine how we can best help you. This will probably also include looking at your jaw joint and muscles. We want to be as thorough as possible to give you the best results. After this initial examination, we will take a digital impression of your teeth with the iTero scanner. This impression will be sent to Invisalign in order to create your set of aligners.
Each aligner will persuade your teeth to move slightly in the desired direction. Once they have done so, it will be time for the next aligner, which will push them slightly further, and so on until you have a lovely and straight smile. This will usually take about 12 months.
Get Your Smile Back
To take pride in your smile again, and to ensure good dental health in the future, consider orthodontic treatment. With new technologies like Invisalign, these treatments are easier, more comfortable, and less noticeable than ever before. Call us at Ragan Orthodontics in Dallas, TX to schedule a professional consultation and get your smile back!