There are many things to consider when you’re exploring orthodontics as a way to improve your oral health. After all, treatment is a big decision, and not one you want to take lightly. You should have as much information as possible about everything the orthodontic process involves before taking the plunge, but you may not be sure where to start. If you’ve been wondering “Are braces or Invisalign better for my smile?” Shiney Smiles Orthodontics is here to help!
Dr. Sheinis is a board-certified orthodontist committed to creating beautiful smiles throughout Huntington and Woodbury. We would love to do the same for you! Our expert team is committed to helping you explore all the options available to you, and that begins with your initial consultation. This visit will give us the chance to discuss any concerns you have about your teeth, as well as:
- how orthodontic treatment can change your smile
- which treatment would be the best fit for your needs
- what payment options are available to you
We’ll also outline the differences between popular treatments like metal braces and Invisalign or Clarity 3M clear aligners during your consultation. We tend to use these options most frequently, and knowing a bit more about each will help you understand which one would suit your smile needs. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each below!
The basics of orthodontic treatment
Although they look very different, braces and aligners work similarly. Both orthodontic appliances apply constant gentle force to the teeth, causing them to move into more optimal positions over time. This aligns the teeth and jaws and increases your oral health, giving you a fully functional smile that looks great and feels good, too.
Traditional braces have been around for hundreds of years in various forms, and have a proven track record of successfully correcting a variety of orthodontic issues, from simple to complex. Invisalign and Clarity 3M are newer treatment methods that have become increasingly popular over the last twenty years with teen and adult patients. Braces and clear aligners are both excellent options for anyone interested in achieving a healthier smile, but there are some important differences between them.
Metal braces are an efficient way to correct a wide range of orthodontic issues and can be especially useful for more severe or complex cases. Because every case is different and each patient responds in their way, the treatment time will vary from person to person. However, the average patient will usually spend anywhere from 18-36 months in braces.
Braces are a fixed appliance, so they can come with a bit of a learning curve! Certain foods must be avoided during treatment since crunchy and chewy foods can damage the brackets and wires. You’ll also need to adjust your dental hygiene routine to ensure you’re keeping your teeth, gums, and appliances in the best condition. It can be tricky learning to navigate around braces, particularly when flossing, but this is an essential part of the treatment process.
Fortunately, there are a variety of accessories available to make cleaning much easier! Waterpiks help rinse inaccessible places while ortho-picks simplify flossing for you. It may seem like a lot to handle at first, but don’t worry—these precautions will become part of your daily routine before you know it.
At Shiney Smiles Orthodontics, we also offer clear braces to our patients. These work the same way as metal braces but are made from clear, ceramic materials that blend in with your smile. Clear braces are an excellent option if you’re worried about the esthetic aspects of orthodontic treatment.
Since ceramic brackets are about the same size and shape as metal brackets, they’re just as effective at straightening your smile. However, since the material they’re made of is slightly prone to chipping, we typically recommend clear braces for older teens and adult patients.
Invisalign + Clarity 3M clear aligners
Invisalign and Clarity 3M aligners are nearly invisible and they’re removable, too, making them the most popular alternative to braces by far. The material Invisalign and Clarity 3M aligners are smooth and tend to be more comfortable than traditional braces. When worn as directed by Dr. Sheinis, Invisalign and Clarity 3M aligners can be just as efficient as braces at correcting many of the most common orthodontic issues.
Like braces, the total treatment time for Invisalign and Clarity aligner patients will vary from case to case, averaging about 9-18 months. The number of aligners needed to straighten the teeth will also depend on your unique smile, as well as your level of compliance and how your teeth respond to treatment.
Because Invisalign and Clarity aligners are removable, you have an added measure of freedom throughout treatment. They’re designed to be taken out before eating or drinking anything other than water and should also be removed before brushing and flossing. Since you don’t have to wear aligners during mealtimes, there are no food restrictions, something patients love! You can continue eating all your favorite snacks as long as you’re careful about brushing and flossing afterward, which makes the entire treatment process a bit easier to manage.
The aligners must be worn for 20-22 hours each day and switched out every 1-2 weeks to be successful. Since they’re custom-designed to fit each patient’s unique needs, these frequent changes are necessary to keep up with the shifting of the teeth. Just like braces patients, you’ll be expected to attend follow-up visits with our doctors every 6-8 weeks or so. Skipping these appointments or missing your scheduled aligner changes can quickly undo any progress you’ve made, so you’ll want to make them a priority!
Find the best fit for your smile with Shiney Smiles Orthodontics
When you get down to it, metal braces and clear aligners are both fantastic options for achieving a stunning smile. When you trust your teeth to Shiney Smiles Orthodontics, you can be sure that Dr. Sheinis and the team will only recommend the treatment they feel is best for your unique needs, lifestyle, and goals.