Here at Master Orthodontics, we want you to be educated and informed about the treatment process from your first appointment. This will help you feel confident in your treatment plan and allow you to be an active partner in straightening your smile!
An important part of this is a discussion of the treatment options we have available in our Bremerton, Gig Harbor, and Port Orchard offices. While we offer a range of effective treatments, traditional braces and Invisalign clear aligners tend to be the most popular.
Both can be excellent solutions for improving oral health, but there are some significant differences between them. Let’s look at what those are and how these treatment options could be a good fit for your smile!
All about traditional braces
The most obvious difference between braces and Invisalign is that braces cannot be removed until the treatment process is complete. There’s a lot to love about them, though! Traditional braces are incredibly efficient at correcting oral issues and can sometimes be faster at aligning teeth than clear aligners. This can sometimes lead to a shorter treatment time.
Speaking of treatment times, there’s no “one size fits all” answer for how long a patient will need to be in braces. This depends on several factors and is decided on a case-by-case basis. However, the average treatment time tends to be anywhere from 12-36 months. With braces, you’ll often be able to see some signs of improvement in a relatively short period of time. That may not seem like much, but seeing even a slight improvement in your smile can give you a boost as you get settled into your orthodontic journey!
A good dental hygiene routine is essential for any treatment plan, but getting the brackets and wires completely clean can be tricky since food debris can become trapped between them. This gives bad bacteria a place to flourish and increases the risk for tooth decay and cavities! The good news is there are many accessories designed to make oral hygiene easier for braces patients. For example, oral irrigators use a targeted stream of water to help rinse hard-to-reach places while ortho-picks simplify the flossing process.
One of the biggest learning curves with braces is food restrictions, which can definitely take some getting used to. To keep your braces safe, you’ll need to avoid anything that’s too crunchy or too chewy until your treatment is complete. This includes some raw fruits and veggies, popcorn, gum, nuts, and several different types of candy and sweets. Perspective is key—remember that you won’t be in braces forever and all your hard work will be worth it once you see your beautiful new smile!
As a braces patient, you can expect follow-up visits with us every 4-8 weeks or so. During these appointments, Dr. Caballero will make any necessary adjustments and change the bands attached to the brackets. He may choose to replace the wire at this time as well. Our goal is to get you in and out as quickly as possible, but it’s important that you don’t skip these visits! They’re a vital part of your treatment plan and help ensure you get the best results in the least amount of time.
The basics of Invisalign clear aligners
Invisalign is the most popular alternative we have to traditional braces, thanks to the comfort and convenience of this system. Because they’re removable, Invisalign aligners offer an extra measure of freedom and flexibility that patients love! The smooth plastic they’re made of is also easier on the mouth than braces, and won’t irritate your gums or cheeks the way brackets and wires can.
Patient compliance is a huge factor in how successful Invisalign treatment is. The system can only work if the recommended guidelines are followed exactly. If aligners aren’t worn the required 20-22 hours per day throughout the course of treatment, the results can be affected and it may also add time to the orthodontic process. The aligners also need to be switched out for the next in the series every 1-2 weeks to keep up with the movements the teeth are making.
Your oral hygiene routine will be as easy as ever with Invisalign, since the aligners are designed to be removed before eating or brushing your teeth. That means there are no food restrictions, either! You’re free to eat everything you normally would with Invisalign, as long as you’re careful to brush after every meal and floss each night before bed.
As with braces, there’s no concrete answer for how long a patient will need to wear the aligners. The average tends to be somewhere between 12-24 months although this can vary widely depending on the individual case. Invisalign patients will typically have follow-up visits with us every 4-8 weeks. You’ll be responsible for keeping up with changing your aligner at the recommended interval in between appointments. Skipping these visits can quickly undo any progress you’ve made, so make sure you stick to the schedule!
Find the right fit for your smile at Master Orthodontics
When you consider everything that braces and Invisalign aligners have to offer, it’s clear they’re both excellent options for correcting misaligned teeth. When you schedule a consultation with our expert team, Dr. Caballero will be able to recommend the treatment that’s just right for your smile! To learn more about whether braces or Invisalign could work for you, get in touch today to schedule a FREE smile analysis.