Invisalign Pros and Cons
Invisalign® is one of the most widely known brands of orthodontic treatment. Over 5 million patients have chosen Invisalign over traditional braces due to the system’s discreet aesthetics, ease-of-use, and comfortable, state-of-the-art materials. However, like any dental treatment, Invisalign has potential disadvantages, including candidacy limitations and the level of patient compliance which is required for a successful outcome. Understanding Invisalign pros and cons can help you make an informed, confident decision when choosing which orthodontic treatment is right for you.
Virtually Invisible Aligners
The most obvious benefit of Invisalign is it is nearly unnoticeable to others during use.
Benefits of Invisalign
Invisalign treatment is competitively priced and constantly evolving to provide the most comfortable and effective orthodontic solution for patients.
For teens and adults, metal braces can present a major drawback. Some patients who are concerned about their appearance may avoid treatment altogether. Fortunately, Invisalign offers an alternative. The aligners are made of clear, virtually invisible SmartTrack™ material, allowing you to inconspicuously straighten your smile.
Improved Oral Hygiene
Archwires, elastic ties, and brackets cover a large portion of your teeth and can make it difficult to thoroughly remove food and debris. Poor oral hygiene can lead to cavities, periodontal disease, and more serious health problems. Invisalign aligners can be removed for brushing and flossing, which makes it easy to continue practicing good oral hygiene.
Conventional braces often require you to refrain from eating certain foods, such as chips and sticky candy, which can cause damage. With Invisalign, you can remove your aligners before each meal and continue enjoying all your favorite foods.
Invisalign’s smooth, plastic aligners are more comfortable than metal braces, which can irritate the inside of your mouth and cause redness and irritation. Patients with braces who play sports are also more prone to injury, such as painful lesions and cuts in the mouth. The Journal of Clinical Orthodontics has credited the introduction of SmartTrack material with providing more effective, flexible, precise, and comfortable treatment.
Invisalign treatment is discreet and comfortable but requires diligent patient compliance in order to be effective.
Advanced Treatment Planning
Prior to beginning treatment, your dentist will create digital impressions using an advanced imaging system such as the iTero® Intraoral Scanner. This allows your dentist to provide you with a proposed treatment plan and accurate timeline. For your convenience, you can receive all your trays at once so you do not have to visit your dentist each time you need a new aligner. You will still need to attend appointments every four to six weeks so the doctor can assess your progress.
Expedited Treatment Options
While conventional braces often require up to 24 months to achieve your desired results, the average length of Invisalign treatment for adults is approximately 12 months. Depending on the condition of your smile and the treatment options available at your dental office, you may also be eligible for Invisalign Express, which works even faster and can lower your overall treatment cost.
Drawbacks of Invisalign Treatment
While traditional orthodontic treatment can be customized for virtually any case, Invisalign may not be the best option for treating severe gaps or certain types of misalignment. Patients should also consider treatment timeline, their lifestyle, and budget.
Length of Treatment
While alternatives such as porcelain veneers can help transform the symmetry, shape, and size of your teeth in a matter of weeks, Invisalign treatment can span several months. If you need a more immediate boost to your confidence or would like to achieve a straighter smile before a quickly approaching special event, such as a wedding, Invisalign treatment may not be the best option for you.
Although advancements have made Invisalign available to a greater pool of candidates, it is not designed for cases of severe malocclusion or misalignment. These concerns, as well as severely rotated or tipped teeth, are best treated with traditional orthodontics. You can determine whether you are a good candidate for Invisalign using their smile assessment and attending a consultation with a cosmetic dentist.
In most cases, Invisalign treatment costs approximately the same as traditional braces. However, depending on your needs and goals, Invisalign treatment can be more expensive. Invisalign is also generally more expensive than other clear aligner brands like ClearCorrect®.
The success of your Invisalign treatment will greatly depend on whether you are committed or not. Although the removable aligners can make eating and brushing more comfortable, neglecting to wear the trays for the recommended 22 hours per day can negatively affect your treatment.
In order to reap the full benefits of treatment, Invisalign patients must be committed to wearing their aligners for 20-22 hours per day.
You may find that your aligners no longer fit comfortably if you do not wear them often enough. As your entire treatment is pre-planned, your dentist may have to create new impressions and sets of aligners. Retreatment is expensive and can extend your treatment timeline by several months.
Adjusting to the Aligners
Although Invisalign’s customized trays fit securely over your teeth, they may not feel natural during the first few days of treatment. Most patients are able to adjust to their aligners relatively quickly, but a small number of patients feel that they have trouble speaking properly. A persistent lisp, for example, could impact your confidence.
Weighing Your Options
Although you have many orthodontic systems to choose from, the proven benefits of Invisalign make the treatment a great option to consider. During an Invisalign consultation, you can discuss all your questions and concerns with your doctor.
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