Do you hide your smile when you pose for photographs? Do you feel self-conscious about your teeth when you’re meeting someone for the first time? If you live in San Diego, you have a million reasons to smile, so why not put your best face forward?
Why Invisalign for Your Mouth
As the saying goes, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. Having a smile that you can be proud of may be the difference between making a new friend, acing a job interview or attracting a partner.
A smile is often the first thing we notice about someone. It can light up a face and make someone seem approachable. A bright, straight smile is often perceived as a sign of good health as well. If you’re hiding your smile because your teeth are crooked, then you’re missing out on all that life has to offer!
If you’ve resisted getting your teeth straightened, you might not have relished the idea of wearing braces. No one really loves having a mouth full of metal, especially as an adult or teenager. Not only can they look awkward, but they’re also uncomfortable. Plus, considering the fact that braces have to be worn for at least 18 months, and sometimes as long as three years, it’s a huge commitment.
That’s where Invisalign comes in. Unlike having metal braces to straighten your teeth, an Invisalign treatment involves wearing a series of clear aligners in your mouth that gradually straighten your teeth. These aligners, called trays, get replaced at regular intervals during a treatment plan. The trays look like a slim and streamlined mouth guard. Every two weeks (sometimes every week for extreme cases), you’ll get a new aligner.
Unlike braces, you’ll be able to take your Invisalign tray out of your mouth to eat, drink, brush your teeth, and floss. For people who don’t want the stigma of wearing metal braces or who prefer a less painful and efficient approach to teeth straightening, Invisalign is a highly recommended course of action.
What are (Metal-Free) Clear Braces?
Clear braces and Invisalign are both alternatives to having traditional all-metal braces, but the similarities end there. In the case of clear braces, you are still wearing braces. However, they are more subtle-looking because the brackets on each of the teeth are clear.
Though they aren’t as visible as metal braces, they can still be seen because the wire itself is metal. When it comes to clear brackets, there are a variety of materials to choose from, including ceramic, porcelain, or plastic-like options. If cheap or poor-quality materials are used, the clear brackets can stain over time. That’s why Dr. Parsi uses only the best materials at Wellness Dentistry.
One unavoidable source of staining will be the rubber bands that wrap around the brackets. If you drink coffee, tea, or eat foods that stain your teeth, then over time, the rubber bands will turn yellow. Fortunately, the rubber bands get changed every time you visit the orthodontist, which is usually about every six weeks. For patients especially concerned about staining, self-litigating braces are also an option. They don’t use the elastic ties, and instead, have a door apparatus to hold the wire in position.
Clear braces can also be made with white wires to make them less visible. However, the white is susceptible to breaking down and chipping, which will show the metal color underneath. The overall effect when this happens can be perceived as unattractive, so most patients are okay with the traditional metal wire with clear brackets.
Clear braces are often the choice for teens and adults who are not candidates for Invisalign. As Invisalign’s technology has continued to improve, more and more people are eligible for this treatment, even if they have crossbites, crowded teeth, and gaps. Clear braces are also slightly expensive than Invisalign (though they cost more than traditional metal braces). When given the choice, most patients elect for Invisalign if they are eligible. Dr. Parsi and his team will provide expert guidance and develop an individualized treatment plan when it comes time for you to make a choice.
Invisalign Pros and Cons
There are pros and cons to any type of treatment, and we’ll share both with full transparency. Our goal at San Diego Wellness Dentistry is for you to get the smile of your dreams and enjoy the process along the way.
- Discreet appearance: As the name Invisalign suggests, the apparatus is virtually invisible. Most people you meet won’t even know that you’re wearing an Invisalign aligner. There’s no stigma associated with wearing metal in your mouth, and you can smile confidently. As your teeth begin to straighten, that smile will only become wider!
- Eat whatever you want: There are food restrictions when you’re wearing braces. No chewy candies are allowed, and you have to be careful with anything hard or crunchy or it can damage the brackets. Even biting into a crisp apple can be problematic. With Invisalign, you take your aligners out of your mouth to eat, so you have no limitations.
- Easier to clean teeth: Trying to brush and floss around wires and brackets is challenging, to say the least. During a patient’s time wearing braces, they are more susceptible to tooth decay and plaque buildup because the teeth are harder to reach. When you have Invisalign, however, you remove the aligners to clean your teeth, so you’ll be able to continue your oral hygiene routine as usual.
- Less discomfort: The first couple of weeks of wearing braces can be unbearable for some. There will metal and sharp edges rubbing up against the inner tissues of your mouth, that up to this point, had only felt your smooth teeth. The inside of your mouth, especially under your lip, will need to form callouses to protect it from this friction. The process is painful and comfortable. By contrast, Invisalign aligners are more comfortable and take less time to adjust to.
- Faster: Invisalign aligners are precise and work quickly. Throughout your treatment, you’ll get approximately 20 to 30 trays that you change every two weeks. Your orthodontist will give you a few trays at a time, so you can change them without having to make a trip to the orthodontist. Traditionally, orthodontist visits for braces occur every six weeks, meaning that the patient has to wait six weeks between adjustments, slowing down the process. While every patient’s case is different, the average Invisalign treatment plan is 12 months, while braces must be worn from 18 to 24 months.
- Phonetics: For a few days, patients may experience a subtle lisp until they’re able to train their tongue to adjust its movement. Counting from fifty to seventy will help you pronounce “Fs” and “Ss”. Almost all patients overcome this in less than a week.
- Responsibility: Invisalign works only if you wear it. Braces are stuck in your mouth, and they’re not going anywhere for two years. With Invisalign, you’re responsible for the aligners, and you have to remember to put them back in after brushing your teeth and eating. People who are scattered and forgetful might end up losing their aligners or forget to put them back in their mouths.
- Initial Discomfort: Similar to when an orthodontist tightens your wires, switching to a new aligner can feel tight in your mouth. Remember, your teeth are moving, and that can be uncomfortable at first. Not everyone experiences this discomfort.
Overall the pros of an Invisalign treatment far outweigh the cons. It is a relatively pain-free process, and it allows you to remain confident about your appearance. Being able to remove the aligner for eating and oral hygiene is a major benefit, as it will enable you to enjoy your meals without sacrificing the health of your teeth and gums.
Having an accelerated treatment plan is also a big win. Granted, the Invisalign treatment isn’t disruptive, but even so, most people are eager to get back to their daily routine without having to worry about wearing an aligner for 22 hours a day.
Every smile is unique, so the cost will vary. We don’t charge more for Invisalign than for braces. In many cases, insurance will cover a bulk of the cost. patients can also opt to use the pre-tax dollars in their FSA (flexible spending account) or HSA (health savings account).
And finally, there is the option to set up a payment plan to make the treatment even more affordable. Ready to take the next step toward a perfect smile? Schedule a free Invisalign consultation today with Dr. Parsi.