I love braces. I do. Back in the early/mid 1990s, braces changed my life. Using braces, my orthodontist gave me the ability to smile confidently and I believe that he changed the course of my life forever by giving me the confidence to smile fully.
In the 1990s, braces were the only option; today, I can move teeth and create beautiful smiles with customized plastic trays (Invisalign). I did my orthodontic residency at the University of the Pacific (San Francisco, CA), the school were the first clinical trials of Invisalign took place. Pacific still is the leading residency for orthodontic training in Invisalign and I was excited to join Parks Orthodontics, a Top 1% Invisalign provider. Simply put, nobody else in the area has as much experience using Invisalign as Parks.
I’d like to present several reasons why I like using Invisalign on my teenage patients:
- Fewer visits. I typically see Invisalign patients once every 8 weeks versus every 4-6 weeks for braces. That can add up to as many as 13 fewer visits over the course of a two year treatment! I’m a parent of two kids. I get it. Your time is valuable. Let me save some of your time by using plastic instead of braces!
- Fewer emergencies. Braces are more apt to break and, with braces, wires can poke. Both can cause discomfort and may result in additional visits. With clear, plastic trays, the potential for breakage is significantly less resulting, once again, in fewer visits.
- More hygienic. Braces make it harder to keep teeth clean and gums healthy. With Invisalign, you can remove the trays and have full access to brush and floss. The hygienic benefit of clear aligners over braces is well supported in the orthodontic literature.
- Less root resorption. Minor, inconsequential loss of root structure is a common side effect of moving teeth with braces. Rarely, severe loss of root structure can occur and there is new research to suggest that this does not occur with Invisalign.
- Invisalign can act as a mouthguard! Invisalign cannot and should not take the place of a mouthguard for contact sports like football, but it serves as a great mouthguard for non-contact sports like soccer or even the neighborhood touch football game .
- No dietary restrictions! Sticky candy gets stuck in braces. Hard foods can break off brackets. With Invisalign, most of these dietary restrictions are gone!
As you can see, moving teeth with Invisalign has its advantages. That being said, each individual is different and there are teens I prefer to treat with braces over Invisalign. Likewise, the ability to take Invisalign aligners in and out of the mouth at will is not desirable in every teenager. My hope, however, is that this article may help a few parents (and teens) feel confident about the choice to use Invisalign over braces.