Functionally Driven, Minimally Invasive Cosmetic Dentistry
Greenwich Family Dental

Why Invisalign is a Better Alternative to Braces

For most people, their braces experience brings back memories of mouths full of metal, snapping wires, regular tightenings, food and drink restrictions and general unpleasantness. However, my personal experience couldn’t have been more different. When it was decided a few months before starting university that braces were something I needed, I was reluctant as I didn’t want to start university with a mouth full of metal. I therefore opted to have Invisalign braces instead of the conventional train tracks.

With celebrities such as Khloe Kardashian, Tom Cruise and Gisele Bunchen all accrediting their straight smiles to Invisalign it is easy to see why this beauty treatment is creating a stir. But what exactly are Invisalign braces? They are clear plastic retainer-like braces which clip over your teeth for 20-22 hours a day. That means that you can take them out for eating and if you have an event like a party and don’t want to wear them. Now, from that description you wouldn’t think they would have much effect at all, and I was dubious myself as to whether it would work. However, now being at the end of my treatment I couldn’t be happier with the result.

The process begins with x-rays and moulds being taken of the teeth. The results are then run through a computer system and a digital before and after is produced so you actually get to see what your teeth will look like at the end of your treatment before you start. The aligners are then made in California and sent back to your dentist. Each aligner moves your teeth a few millimetres and a new set of aligners is put in on average once a fortnight so as not to move the teeth too quickly and risk cracking the roots.

Depending on the movement you need, you may have to have attachments placed on your teeth during the alignment process. These are hard, tooth coloured blobs which help give the teeth extra surface area to get greater pull and thus greater movement. I personally found these the worst part of my treatment as they could feel scratchy and limited what you could eat and drink. However, I grew accustomed to them quickly and they soon became normal. At the end of your treatment you are then fitted for your retainers which are worn nightly (as with normal braces).

So what are the pros of getting Invisalign rather than ordinary braces?

  • They are clear and practically invisible meaning most people won’t know you are wearing them
  • You can take them out
  • When the aligners are out you aren’t restricted in what you can eat and drink (unless you have attachments)
  • You don’t have to get them tightened you just put a new set of aligners in every fortnight
  • You don’t have to worry about wires snapping
  • They are more comfortable to wear
  • You don’t have to have teeth removed (the teeth instead are made thinner by a process called IPR which is painless, quick and not harmful for your teeth)

The process is not, however without cons:

  • When the aligners are in you cannot eat and can only drink water
  • You have to be very dedicated to the process and make sure you wear the aligners for the recommended amount of time
  • You should clean your teeth before putting your aligners in if you have eaten which can be a nuisance if you are eating away from home
  • If you have attachments you are advised to not eat things such as nuts
  • The aligners can make you sound like you have a lisp
  • They can cost more than train track braces

Overall, I highly recommend Invisalign. After 18 months of treatment, I could not be happier with the results. There have been times when the process was a bit of a nuisance but I do not regret my decision in the slightest. If you are considering tooth straightening treatments but are reluctant to have train tracks, I would definitely recommend discussing Invisalign with your dentist or orthodontist.