There are many ways teeth can be moved. No single system is perfect for everyone.
Dr Maria Avis offers a number of popular ways orthodontic treatment can be performed. For example Invisalign can be an excellent alternative to conventional braces for some patients. It is a system of clear removable aligners that is virtually invisible.
Not all cases can be treated with Invisalign though. Sometimes the best way to move teeth is with braces. At Akoya Dental Boutique we use the Damon braces renowned for excellent treatment outcomes and shorter treatment times.
Invisalign vs Braces
I often get asked “what would be better for me? Invisalign or braces? What is the difference?” Braces cannot be taken off like aligners.
Particularly in the first few weeks while you are adjusting to your fixed appliances, you may have difficulties eating and struggling with oral hygiene.
Hard foods need to be cut up into smaller pieces.
These problems are not relevant to Invisalign wearers as the aligners are taken off for eating and cleaning. Speech difficulties are common with both but I find that people adjust to braces much quicker. Cost wise and discomfort wise the two options are very similar and in theory treatment times should be very similar as well.
At first glance it seems that the aligner therapy is the best thing ever and the choice should be simple.
Not so 🙂
The first thing I explain to patients is that Invisalign or indeed any other aligner system, such as TruLine, ClearCorrect etc, were originally designed as a compromise for people who, for one reason or another, could not wear braces. This could be someone extremely self conscious of their appearance while having braces on, or someone working on TV with their role precluding them from having braces.
There is no question, fixed braces therapy is far more versatile in what can be achieved. The fine tuning of final result can be difficult to impossible with any aligner therapy. In fact, the information sheet issued with the aligners emphasises that towards the end of orthodontic treatment your dentist may choose to put braces on for a very short time to achieve the perfect finish of your therapy. In some rare circumstances Invisalign therapy may actually be not possible at all as certain tooth movements are extremely unpredictable with aligners and can only be achieved with fixed options.
In addition, the fact that aligners are removable may be beneficial in that they can be taken off to eat and clean your teeth, but at the same time it’s a bit of a curse because unless the aligners are in for 23 out of 24 hours of every day the orthodontic treatment is not going to progress to time…
So very often, when people forget to put their aligners in here and there, leave them out for an event now and then, we end up not tracking in accordance with the treatment plan.
Of course invisalign will mill you additional aligners to get you back on track but guess what… the time of treatment extends quite significantly!
So even though treatment times should theoretically be very similar for braces and Invisalign, in practical terms the aligner therapy ends up taking longer. So if you know you are not going to be reliably diligent with your appliance wear- Invisalign is not for you.
Early Orthodontic Assessment
Every child between the ages of 7 and 9 should have an assessment of their dento-facial development. This early orthodontic assessment should include an examination of the child, an interview with the parent(s) and a panoramic (OPG) study of the child’s jaws.
There is a number of potential developmental issues that must be identified and corrected in early childhood in order to avoid potential complication later in life.
Early intervention programs often tend to be cheaper, more in tune with your child’s development, less invasive and ultimately more successful than alternatives that can be offered to a grown individual.
The following are examples of some problems that we try to identify in early childhood:
- Breathing difficulties / upper air-ways issues
- Early signs of jaw growth discrepancies (for example upper jaw being too narrow for the lower jaw, or vice versa)
- Early indications of potential severe crowding
- Signs of tooth impactions (adult teeth being unable to grow properly and getting “stuck” in jaw bones)
- Cross bites, potentially traumatic bites (eg. protruding upper front teeth)
- Congenitally missing adult teeth
- Early orthodontic assessment may help your child avoid invasive and expensive treatments in future, such as tooth extractions to relieve crowding, or jaw bone surgery to compensate for growth discrepancies.
Quite often unsightly crowded teeth can be the result of some muscular habits in and around the mouth. For example mouth breathing, thumb sucking, tongue thrust and other non-functional repetitive movements can cause teeth to go out of alignment.
Whether your crowding or spacing of teeth is caused by a myofunctional habit or not can only be determined by a properly trained practitioner.
In theses cases braces or Invisalign may not be the best way to achieve good cosmetic results.
Myofuctional trainers are removable appliances. They are designed to stop non-functional habits thereby preventing detrimental influences on tooth alignment. The result is a beautifully straight smile and a healthy bite without the need for braces. Myofunctional trainers are particularly popular in early orthodontics for young children, but can be used for both adults and children.