If you’ve been considering orthodontic treatment for yourself or a loved one, it’s important to have all the information you need to make the best choices for your family. This is one reason Lincoln Orthodontics is proud to offer free consultations with Dr. Willett! During your first visit to our south Lincoln office, you’ll be able to discuss any concerns you have with our expert team. You might be considering braces or Invisalign, wondering which one is right for you. We’ll also be happy to answer any questions you have about the orthodontic process, including the treatment options available to you. Keep reading to learn more about braces, Invisalign, and the basics of orthodontic treatment!
How braces and aligners work to straighten smiles
While the two appliances look very different, traditional braces and Invisalign clear aligners actually work in much the same way. Both appliances are designed to move the teeth into more optimal positions by applying gentle force to them over time. This aligns the teeth and jaws, improving the appearance of your smile and the overall function of your mouth. Although the basic mechanisms are similar, there are some significant differences between these two treatment methods.
Traditional braces have been around for centuries in one form or another! As such, they have a well-established history of successfully correcting a wide range of orthodontic issues. Braces are a fixed orthodontic appliance, which means the brackets are affixed directly to the teeth using a bonding agent. A flexible wire runs through them, which is used along with tiny elastic bands to shift the teeth.
Modern braces are better than ever! Not only is the appearance improved, but they’re also more comfortable and effective than any previous versions. Lincoln Orthodontics offers three different types of braces to fit every patient’s needs: traditional metal braces, the lingual InBrace system that fits behind the teeth, and clear braces. Treatment time with braces will vary from case to case, but the average tends to be anywhere from 18-30 months.
Maintaining traditional braces can come with a bit of a learning curve, especially when it comes to brushing and flossing around the brackets and wires! With a little patience and practice, however, this will become just one more part of your daily routine in no time. There are also a variety of accessories available to make oral hygiene easier while a patient is in braces, like water piks to help rinse those hard-to-reach areas or ortho picks for braces-specific flossing.
Food restrictions are a part of this maintenance, as well—patients will need to avoid anything that can damage their brackets and wires throughout the treatment process. This includes anything crunchy or sticky, so favorites like raw carrots, certain kinds of candy, popcorn, and gum are off the menu until the braces are removed.
Patients in traditional braces can expect to visit our office for follow-up visits every 6-8 weeks or so. After she ensures that everything is progressing according to the treatment plan, Dr. Willett will change the bands attached to the brackets. She may choose to replace the wire at this time as well. These adjustment appointments are generally pretty quick—most last no more than an hour. These visits are an essential part of treatment and help ensure the patient achieves the best results in the least amount of time possible.
Invisalign clear aligner therapy
Invisalign is our most popular alternative to traditional braces! Instead of brackets and wires, this innovative system uses a series of removable clear aligners to straighten smiles. These aligners are custom-made to fit snugly but comfortably over a patient’s teeth. Because the thermoplastic material they’re made of is smooth, it won’t irritate the gums or cheeks the way braces sometimes can. Most patients can adjust to their aligners quickly.
Like braces, the treatment time with Invisalign is dependent on how the patient responds to treatment. However, the average time in aligners tends to be somewhere between 12-18 months. Invisalign is unique in that the treatment time (and overall success of the aligners) will also depend on patient compliance. Invisalign patients must keep their aligners in for 20-22 hours every day throughout treatment. Each aligner also needs to be switched out for the next in the series every 1-2 weeks. Failure to do so can lead to a longer treatment time and less optimal results.
Because Invisalign aligners are removable, they are extremely easy to maintain! They’re designed to be taken out before eating and drinking anything other than water, so patients never need to worry about food getting stuck in between the brackets and wires. Aligners are also removed before brushing and flossing, which makes dental hygiene a much quicker and simpler process. This removability also means there are no food restrictions for Invisalign patients!
Like braces patients, Invisalign patients will be scheduled for regular follow-ups with our Dr. Willett. These are usually every 8-12 weeks. Skipping appointments or missing scheduled aligner changes can quickly undo any progress made in treatment, so it’s important to keep up with these visits.
Find the best option for you with Lincoln Orthodontics
Like everything in life, traditional braces and Invisalign clear aligners each have their own list of pros and cons. However, both options can be an excellent choice for patients looking to improve their oral health and achieve a beautifully aligned smile!
If you’re in the Lincoln area and ready to explore everything orthodontics has to offer, get in touch today to schedule your FREE consultation with Dr. Willett! Our expert team would love to help you find the most effective solution for straightening your smile.