No doubt about it, Invisalign and invisible braces are a hot topic in dental and orthodontic circles.
For patients who’ve felt discomfort, embarrassment and crooked teeth – sometimes for a lifetime – it’s easy to understand why.
Invisalign and invisible braces is a real solution for straightening teeth that works. Yes, there’s a price tag, but we’ll get to that part later. First, let’s cover the basics.
What is Invisalign or invisible braces?
Invisalign and invisible braces is a teeth straightening system that uses SMARTForce Technology, which creates a series of custom-made clear plastic removable aligners.
Aligners are the ‘braces’ used to straighten teeth. They perform the same job traditional metal braces perform, only there almost invisible.
Where traditional braces use brackets connected by wires to encourage teeth to move, aligners are a series of tight-fitting custom-made retainers that slip over the teeth. Gradually, over time, teeth move into the ideal position to create a straight beautiful smile.
Why straighten your teeth?
This is a great question so let’s answer it. For me, there are two big reasons to invest in teeth straightening.
#1 Straight teeth are easier to clean and keep clean
Straighter teeth means there are fewer difficult to reach spots and straighter surfaces to work with. This makes it is easier to floss and brush and less likely you’ll miss something.
With a cleaner mouth and teeth, the chance of other more complex issues emerging down the track is reduced. And as a dentist, I can tell you, prevention is way better than the alternative.
The flow on effect for patients is good health and teeth for life. Research now shows good oral health is a strong indicator for overall health and wellbeing too. This makes straightening teeth a very worthwhile lifetime investment.
#2 Smiling feels good
It might sound weird to you, but anyone who’s lived with crooked, discoloured and damaged teeth will tell you they’ve experienced embarrassment at least once in their life. The net effect? They smile less (rarely in some cases) because they simply don’t feel good about doing it. For people with super model perfect smiles, this might be difficult to understand, but for someone who’s lived with it forever, having a smile they don’t love can be very demoralising.
It’s true, people straighten teeth for purely cosmetic reasons and that’s fine. While I agree it’s better than doing nothing, I always encourage patients to straighten teeth for the purpose of creating a healthier, straighter smile for my number 1 reason.
You only need to read testimonials of people who’ve been through the Invisalign and invisible braces straightening process to see that any discomfort associated with treatment is far outweighed and soon forgotten when results become visible. This usually happens relatively quickly with Invisalign/invisible braces treatment; in some cases in less than a couple of months.
What’s great about Invisalign?
We’ve touched on the benefits of straight teeth and feeling better, but what’s great about Invisalign?
Braces can cause people to feel self conscious about their appearance, so one clear advantage (no pun intended) is that Invisalign treatment is, well, barely visible.
Unlike traditional metal brackets, out there for all to see, Invisalign retainers allow the wearer to maintain a natural appearance. This is a big consideration for many people (adults mainly) who want life to continue, largely unaffected by their straightening treatment.
The other great advantage of Invisalign treatment is patients enjoy improved oral hygiene. As a function of wearing the aligners, it’s really important to clean and floss teeth after each time you eat, and definitely before reinserting the aligners. Skipping this step leaves the pathway open for decay and bacteria, and worst case, detracting from the beautiful smile you’re creating.
And the not so great?
As with all things in life, there are a couple of drawbacks to Invisalign.
To start with, Invisalign, like all braces requires commitment.
For some, this commitment may not be long; for others, the commitment could run up into a couple of years. Before heading down the treatment road, know that to be effective, aligners must be worn 22 hours a day, every day. Twenty-two?! I know, but just think, that allows two hours for eating, drinking and cleaning. Fantastic! If oral hygiene has never been your strong suit, this is one way to make it so.
Treatment can also come with a side serve of discomfort. Invisalign requires teeth to have constant, gradual pressure. This, together with aligners, can make for a challenging time, most especially in the early days of treatment. Even with the smooth surfaces of aligners (and the fact you have an appliance in your mouth), wearers can experience sore and bleeding gums until things settle down. For most people, however, this will last only a short time and is manageable using pain relief.
And then of course there’s the cost of Invisalign.
Any orthodontic treatment carries a price tag and Invisalign is no exception. Typically, costs will be around the same for regular braces and range between $5,000 and $8,000, depending on your specific needs and complexity of treatment. Once your dentist or orthodontist has developed a treatment plan, you will be given an exact cost before you decide and you can work out how to manage your treatment within your budget.
On the upside, there are now finance options available to patients that help make treatment a manageable investment. With most requiring an upfront deposit, payments can be spread over the duration of treatment, or even longer, depending on the finance provider.
Closing the circle
So coming back to our original question, is Invisalign worth it?
It’s a yes from this Gold Coast dentist. Good oral health, supported by beautifully straight teeth is one of things over which we have control in terms of our health. My opinion? We should do everything we can to look after our health, including investing in straightening our teeth with Invisalign.
Awaiting at the finishing line, Dental as Anything includes an at home complimentary Mini Teeth Whitening Kit (valued at $160) for every patient who invests in an Invisalign teeth straightening program. Consider it our reward for taking good care of you.
Dr Mark Miller is a Gold Coast dentist who specialises in straightening teeth. He works with patients to develop an ideal treatment plan they can live with. If straighter teeth is one of your big rocks for 2017, make an appointment on (07) 5573-0188 to see him.