There are different types of dental braces. Depending on the type recommended by your dental provider, the number of times you need to see your orthodontist will vary.
Metal bands and brackets – Most often worn by children, this traditional style of teeth straightening requires more dental visits than patients utilizing Invisalign clear aligners.
With Invisalign, the patient is able to continually update their teeth straightening process without a hands-on visit with the orthodontist.
The programs are very different but with a similar result achieved. The primary differences between them include:
Metal bands – The orthodontist will permanently cement the bands and brackets on teeth. A metal wire is threaded through the brackets and at each appointment the wire is tightened allowing teeth to shift toward the correct occlusion.
Invisalign – About the only similarity to metal bands is the preparation (photographs, x-rays, and dental impressions) and the final result: a corrected occlusion, straight teeth, and a beautiful smile. With Invisalign, the teeth straightening process itself is completed through the use of a series of clear aligners that the patient updates every two weeks.
The Invisalign lab will fabricate the aligners through the use of 3-D digital technology – each aligner is designed to slowly move teeth to the correct occlusion. The patient will notice that each new aligner will feel somewhat tight – in the following two weeks, teeth will shift accordingly. With each successive aligner, teeth are being moved to their correct placement.
This is very similar to what is accomplished when wires are tightened when traditional braces are worn. But since the patient can update aligners without help from the orthodontist, the number of visits with Invisalign can be considerably fewer than with metal braces.
The length of time needed to correct your occlusion is similar, and with Invisalign the aligners are removable. The patient must wear aligners 20 to 22 hours every day to keep the teeth straightening process on track. With metal braces, they are permanently placed without the option to take them out.
Of course, regular visits to the orthodontist do not mean you can skip your visits with your family dentist every six months for cleaning and dental exam. Brushing and flossing daily are critical components to supporting your dental health while teeth are being straightened.
If you have additional questions about orthodontic treatment, call our office today!