What is Orthodontic Treatment? An Overview of Traditional Braces vs. Clear Aligners.

Orthodontics Treatment

What Does Orthodontic Treatment Means?

When it comes to defining Orthodontics, one of the first ideas is the aesthetics of a beautiful smile. This statement is true. Though, when it comes to Oral Health, Orthodontics is a major player, and Oral health directly affects your overall health. 

“Orthodontics is a treatment of one or many conditions related to the functionality of teeth.”

A practical description of Orthodontics refers to making your teeth aligned, so you can bite properly to avoid excessive pressure on certain teeth. Also, Orthodontics alignment improves digestion by enhancing food chewing function.

Not less important, misaligned teeth cause teeth irregular wearing, so it prevents unnecessary and expensive visits to fix broken or worn-out teeth. Aligned teeth are easier to brush and floss, improving a patient’s overall hygiene standards.     

An Orthodontic Treatment starts with a complete evaluation of a patient’s oral health condition to treat problems such as cavities and gums disease. After clearance, a specialist takes X-rays to generate a model of your teeth. This process is the canvass for an Orthodontics Specialist to design a customized treatment. 

How Do Professionals Use Various Appliances?

Today, Orthodontists use various treatment options and appliances. The most common options are braces that come in different varieties: stainless-steel and ceramic teeth-colored brackets bonded in the front part of teeth; and lingual bonded in the back of teeth facing the tongue.

Braces generally work by applying controlled stress to teeth safely and effectively. An Orthodontist fixes the Brackets to teeth connected by a wire. The wires are adjusted in a calculated manner periodically to exert stress on specific teeth and force them to align slowly.

Lately, more sophisticated and technologically advanced appliances have been introduced with great acceptance by patients. Clear appliances are revolutionary alignment systems that reduce problems associated with the unaesthetic look produced by braces and wires while smiling. The most prominent system of this kind is Invisalign.

Invisalign, as a referent, is a system that corrects misaligned teeth and improper bitting, as well as all sorts of braces, do. Among its differences from conventional braces, Invisalign consists of clear, almost invisible trays produced from 3D digital impressions of a patient’s jaw and teeth structure.

 A patient receives a few trays that have to switch from one to another every couple of weeks. Clear aligners use the same mechanic concept of braces, with a different method to align teeth.

All appliances work to produce a mechanically induced movement of dental pieces. However, each system has advantages of its own. Next, we will discuss the different appliances available for orthodontic treatment, emphasizing Conventional or Stainless-Steel Braces and Invisalign.

What Are Conventional or Stainless-Steel Braces?

Generally speaking, braces are the most popularly accepted and original orthodontic treatment mechanism. Believe it or not, researchers found incipient forms of braces in mummies from the Egyptian era. Today, as in many other fields, development and research have contributed to technological advancements in Oral Health.

Technology advancements have made Conventional or Stainless-Steel Braces less painful but especially effective in getting aligned teeth, a proper and healthy bite, and a not less important, beautiful smile for millions of people around the globe.

Conventional or Stainless-Steel Braces use metal brackets glued to the front of each tooth. An Orthodontist connects brackets through a metal wire adjusted on every patient’s visit for check-ups. Conventional or Stainless-Steel Braces are a reliable option to get a straight and healthy smile. Unfortunately, the main disadvantage of Conventional or Stainless-Steel Braces is that they are the most noticeable. Many patients contend with the idea of having their mouth full of metal glued to their teeth and wires across their mouth.    

How Much Do Braces Cost?

 Financially speaking, Conventional or Stainless-Steel Braces are the less expensive option for teeth alignment. In many cases, these types of braces have full insurance coverage. So, if you or someone in your family need braces, we recommend you revise with your insurance provider about braces coverage. An expected cost of Conventional braces falls between $3,000 to $7,500.

 Several factors influence the cost of braces; they are the type of braces you and your Orthodontist define, the length of the treatment, where you live, and the extent of your insurance coverage. We show some rough numbers of different braces according to their specific characteristics:

Tooth-Colored or Ceramic Braces

They differ from Conventional or Stainless-Steel Braces as they mimic teeth color to be less evident. You can expect to pay from $2,000 to $8,500. 

Lingual Braces

The main difference between Conventional or Stainless-Steel Braces is that Lingual braces are glued to the backside of your teeth, making them unperceivable. They are usually the most expensive, ranging from $5,000 to $13,000.

Hygiene Directions and Utensils to Take Care of Conventional Braces

One of the disadvantages of conventional braces, i.e., stainless steel, ceramic and lingual, is that they accumulate food particles that later attract bacteria. As bacteria get caught up, plaque produces tartar and gum disease. A diligent and strict oral hygiene routine can help braces wearers prevent all potential problems associated with braces usage. We have listed the most important measures and utensils required to perform correct oral hygiene during orthodontic treatment with Conventional Braces. 

Brushing

Braces patients shall try to brush their teeth after every single meal. If this is not possible, patients must brush their teeth at least 2 to 3 times a day. A specialist recommendation is to brush teeth at least for 30 seconds on each quarter with a soft bristle brush to avoid damaging the brackets and wires. Mechanically, wearers should brush softly against the braces and over and above the brackets and wires, trying to remove any food or debris.

Flossing

If all people, not only braces wearers, know that brushing removes only half of plaque and bacteria, they will pay more attention to flossing. During Orthodontic treatment, flossing is a crucial part of Oral Hygiene. 

Orthodontic Flosser

This type of flosser can replace your conventional flossing threader. The Orthodontic Flosser has a thicker plastic designed to help get the threader between teeth above and below the brackets and wires. To use it, you can push the tip of the floss among teeth and make a U-type form with the threader by holding both sides and waving it from side to side and up and down to cover the most space possible.

Water Flosser

A Water Flosser is a contingent or secondary option for practicing good oral health while wearing braces. A Water Flosser cannot replace conventional or orthodontic flossing as it does not guarantee proper removal of particles. However, a water flosser is an excellent ally in getting into difficult access areas with a stream of pressurized water applied directly to the required zone.

Interproximal Brush

The use of an Interproximal Brush could be the best form to practice good oral health, especially during braces usage. By maneuvering Interproximal brushes, a braces wearer can get to the space behind the brace to remove small and hidden pieces of food or debris. Using an Interproximal Brush requires proper maneuvering to insert the thread full of tiny brushes and move it up and down, getting the trickiest pieces of food loose. 

What Are the Dietary Restrictions While Wearing Braces?

There is a long list of foods you can and can’t eat while undergoing orthodontic treatment and in certain stages. We have listed five different foods for each.

During the first week of Orthodontic Treatment During Orthodontic Treatment Food to avoid during Orthodontic Treatment
Soup Boneless cooked seafood Steaks
Mashed potatoes Hamburgers and hot dogs Popcorn
Yogurt, pudding, or Jell-O Pasta & sauce Hard Candy
Soft, boiled vegetables Rice Crunchy & hard to bite processed food
Scrambled eggs Soft fruits or fruit cut into small bites Any sticky food

Invisalign Clear Aligners

As we have previously stated, Invisalign is the referent of Clear Alignment Appliances. The trays are a patented thermoplastic engineering material named SmartTrack. As its name states, the material generates traction over teeth fitting tightly and exerting controlled mechanical stress over the entire denture. We have listed several advantages of Invisalign for your knowledge:

Esthetics

There are significant factors that relate, for instance, to Oral Hygiene. However, many Orthodontic patients place a high value on the cosmetic benefit that Invisalign brings.

Invisalign, as its name implies, is almost invisible to the eye.  

Improved Oral Hygiene

One of the most common issues with traditional braces has long been to recur to specific cleaning methods and tools to avoid oral illnesses. Notwithstanding, Invisalign is removable, making it easier to practice good oral habits. Along with brushing and flossing, patients just have to soak their appliances in cleansers provided as peripheral products and place them back in their mouths.  

Fewer Problems

In an emergency, braces-wearing patients must immediately visit an Orthodontist to fix any fallen bracket or broken wire. Invisalign appliances might get lost or forgotten, but they do not cause an emergency like their counterpart.

Despite the noticeable advantages of Invisalign over conventional braces, there are a few cons. For instance, Invisalign is not intended to solve complex issues and requires compliance, which means patients must wear trays at least 22 hours a day. The cost of Invisalign is usually more expensive than conventional braces, with prices between $3,000 to $7,000.

What Are Invisalign Attachments?

Attachments are complementary components of Invisalign’s treatment. Invisalign SmartForce attachments are not intended for all patients and depend on the complexity of a case, so not all patients need them. Attachments are tooth-colored forms applied to specific teeth during treatment. The purpose of these complementary components is to exert force while switching appliances.

Despite the advantages of repositioning teeth according to specific and complex needs, Invisalign SmartForce attachments have some disadvantages. In between changes of trays, some pain and temporary discomfort might appear. There is also the possibility of plaque buildup as in brackets.

Therefore, we recommend extending oral hygiene habits if attachments are in place. Patients should remember that plaque buildup might eventually lead to tooth decay. So, it is essential to take extreme hygiene measures if attachments turn part of the treatment.

In some cases, attachments fall off. The recommendation is to immediately visit an Orthodontics specialist to get a new attachment fixated, as they are an essential part of the Orthodontic treatment.

Invisalign or Braces, Which One Needs More Time and Care? 

There are numerous advantages and benefits of each system. However, when it comes to the amount of time required for each type of treatment, Invisalign has an advantage. Depending on the severity of each case, braces treatments might take 1 to 3 years for a complete treatment, but it covers the Severe Orthodontic case possibilities.

Meanwhile, Invisalign can run from 6 months to 2 years. However, patients may need supplemental treatment with braces for complex cases.    

There is a debate on what it means to be the more significant maintenance problem regarding maintenance. Patients need to clean Invisalign trays daily, and being removable makes them easier to forget and lose. On the other side, Conventional braces don’t get lost, but they require thorough cleaning and dietary measures to be fully effective.

As we have got to the final part of this article, we invite our readers to visit our website or walk by Silver Lakes Orthodontics and ask our kind staff about the Orthodontic Treatments available. We will gladly serve our community with a beautiful and healthy smile.  

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