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You want your children to have a smile they are confident with. Unfortunately, not everyone was blessed with the straight and perfect-looking teeth that you often see in the media. There are a long list of reasons why your child’s teeth, which looked straight as they came in, can begin to shift as your child ages. Years ago, an orthodontist would recommend traditional braces to straighten the teeth and correct their positioning.
While metal braces have proven that they are effective in correcting tooth positioning, as technology changes new methods are introduced that may be more effective and more user-friendly. In the world of orthodontics, this new method is referred to as Invisalign. This new and improved method uses trays to improve the smile instead of brackets. If you or your child currently have braces, it is only reasonable to wonder whether or not they should be replaced with the latest in orthodontic teeth-straightening technology. Before you make that decision, learn what causes crooked teeth, how metal braces differ from these advanced trays, and then decide if replacement is a wise decision.
What Causes Crooked Teeth in Childhood?
There are a long list of different reasons why a child goes from having healthy straight teeth early in life to having teeth that are out of position as they reach adolescence. One of the main causes is hereditary and has to do with the size of the jaw bone in correlation to the size of teeth. When the jaw bone is too small to accommodate the need for space, it leads to tooth crowding and puts pressure on neighboring teeth that are just looking for a place to fit in. This is something you cannot reasonably correct before needing braces because it is ingrained in your DNA.
Understanding how habits can affect teeth and how they shift over time is critical when you want the smile of your life. Sucking the thumb, extended periods of bottle feeding, poor nutritional habits, and bad myofunctional habits can all lead to incorrect dental development. As soon as you notice the shift in the teeth and how it affects the smile you start to take action by researching orthodontists and learning about treatment options. It can be helpful to learn that 3 out of 4 children have crowded teeth, so you are not alone.
How Do Traditional Braces Work?
Since you have already seen what is done at an appointment to get braces put on, you have a good understanding of what they look like. You know that orthodontists will adhere small metal brackets to each tooth and give you the option to choose a color band that will blend with your wardrobe or even the season. You also know that the doctor will run a wire through the brackets and that you must come back for regular appointments so that the doctor can fiddle with this wire. What you do not know is why all of this is necessary.
Brackets are bonded to the front of teeth that are banded and then connected to the wire. These brackets are necessary because they act like handles that will hold the arch wire that is responsible for moving the teeth in place. During every visit, the doctor will evaluate movement and then tighten the arch wire so that it can guide the movement of the crooked teeth. This is why you must schedule appointments every 2 to 3 weeks to tighten or replace your wire. This can be both painful and inconvenient for the patient regardless of how necessary it is.
How Does Invisalign Work to Straighten the Teeth?
Instead of using metal brackets and arch wires to force the teeth to move, some orthodontists will recommend a much less visible option where invisible trays are used to spark movement. By fitting the patient with see-through aligners that have been custom made just for the wearer, orthodontists can treat crooked teeth with a more modern approach. Like the brackets and wires, the trays will gently and gradually shift your teeth with the movements planned out by the doctor.
Wearers will change their trays as teeth get closer and then will use the last tray as a retainer to prevent teeth from shifting back. The trays are smooth, comfortable and can even be removed when you are eating or brushing. It is important that the wearer does keep their tray in for at least 20 to 22 hours out of the day for the best results.
Are Invisible Aligning Trays a Better Alternative to Metal Braces?
If you are considering replacing current metal braces with invisible aligning trays, you have to consider many different factors. When you go from traditional to modern dental treatment approaches, you are changing your treatment plan in its entirety. This is why you need to consider how far you are into the plan and how much longer you have left before making a move.
Cost is also something to consider. The modern trays must be molded to the mouth and this creates an added expense. While they are a great treatment option, aligning trays do bear an extra expense. If you are willing to take on a greater expense for comfort and convenience, replacement should be considered. Here are some of the many benefits to consider:
- Trays are smooth and will not rub inner lining and cheeks
- Trays can be removed which allows wearer to brush thoroughly and take better care of teeth
- Trays are nearly invisible so that you do not feel social embarrassment
- Trays are much more comfortable to wear as they do not rub or require tightening
- Trays can be removed and have little interference on daily life
If you have come to the conclusion that modern orthodontic solutions are best for you, it is time to call King Orthodontics to schedule your orthodontist appointment to replace your traditional braces with Invisalign. The King Orthodontics team is committed to excellence and will make you feel comfortable as you work to attain the smile of your life.
Samuel B. King, D.D.S., M.S. – King Orthodontics – Specialist in Orthodontics for kids, teens and adults in Centerville and Fairborn.