So you’ve been wanting to straighten your teeth for a while and you’ve finally decided to go all in on treatment. Congratulations! You’ve taken the first step towards the brand new you. But before you can start the teeth-straightening process, you first need to decide which type of orthodontic treatment is right for you: braces or Invisalign?
At Carolina Oaks Orthodontics, we’re your destination for affordable orthodontic care for all ages. We’re here to help you understand the differences between braces and Invisalign so you can make the best decision for your smile. We offer many options for orthodontic treatment — from traditional and clear braces to Invisalign — at all of our locations across Upstate South Carolina. So no matter where you are, you have access to the very best orthodontic care.
Ready to learn more about the pros and cons of Invisalign or braces? Read on!
How Braces Work
You already know that braces are a tried-and-true method for straightening your teeth. They’ve been around for decades and have practically become a right of passage for kids and teens of all ages. But today’s braces are not your parents’ braces — orthodontic technology has come a long way from the chunky metal brackets we all remember from the 80s. The fact remains, though, that traditional braces are still a highly effective orthodontic treatment.
So how do braces work exactly? Glad you asked! Braces consist of brackets that are fixed to your teeth and wires that act as a track to guide the movement of your teeth. The device applies consistent pressure to your teeth to gradually shift them into the desired position. Depending on your unique situation, you may also need to use tiny elastics that loop onto little hooks on your brackets to give an added boost to your treatment.
Types of Braces
Now that you know how braces work, let’s look at the different types of braces we offer our South Carolina orthodontic patients.
- Traditional Metal Braces
This is what probably comes to mind when you hear the word “braces.” But don’t worry — metal braces are much more streamlined and comfortable than they used to be. This type of braces is a popular choice for patients who like to choose colorful elastics to show off their personality.
- Clarity™ ADVANCED Ceramic Braces
Clear braces are perfect for people who want a more discreet, aesthetic look for their orthodontic treatment. Carolina Oaks uses Clarity™ ADVANCED brackets, the most innovative, cosmetic, clear bracket on the market. They’re transparent, small in size, and customized to fit your teeth and mouth so they’re barely noticeable. Our clear braces are safe and effective for patients of all ages.
- Self-Ligating Braces
Self-ligating braces also consist of brackets and wires, but they don’t require ligatures (elastics or metal ties). The brackets have little doors that hold the memory wires in places. They’re a good option for patients who initially have significant crowding. The brackets are designed to provide a little less friction and, in some cases, this can boost efficiency and comfort.
Pros and Cons of Braces
Let’s start with all the awesome things about braces:
- You can’t lose your braces because they’re fixed in place.
- You don’t have to worry about taking your braces out to eat, brush and floss your teeth.
- Braces are incredibly effective at straightening teeth for people of all ages and for varying severity of cases.
- If you like to show off your personal style, braces allow you to customize the color of your hardware.
Of course, with all treatment types, there will be some drawbacks. Some of the not-so-fun parts of braces are:
- You will have food restrictions. There are certain foods (such as crunchy, hard, sticky or chewy foods, and anything you have to bite into) that simply don’t jive with braces. These foods can risk damaging your braces and your teeth, and could even delay your treatment.
- Speaking of damage, braces can also get damaged during sports. It’s always best to wear a mouthguard during physical activities when you have braces.
- Conventional braces are more visible than Invisalign.
- You need to be extra diligent about brushing and flossing your teeth because food can easily get trapped behind your hardware.
- Your braces need to be tightened regularly by your orthodontist, so you’ll have appointments every four weeks or so.
How Invisalign Works
Time to take a look at your other choice for orthodontic treatment: Invisalign. A favorite for anyone who wants a super discreet option, Invisalign is also proven to effectively straighten your smile. The Invisalign system uses clear aligners made from a smooth, BPA-free plastic that are custom-made to fit your teeth. Over the course of your treatment, you’ll switch to a new set of aligners every one to two weeks according to your South Carolina orthodontist’s specifications.
As you change your aligners, your teeth move little by little, week by week, until they reach their final positions and you have a beautiful smile to show for it. The best part? No one will notice you’re wearing them, so you can smile just as freely during treatment as you will after you’re done.
Pros and Cons of Invisalign
Why should you choose Invisalign over braces? Here are some of the benefits of Invisalign?
- You can remove your aligners to eat, so you don’t have to worry about any food restrictions.
- Since your aligners are removable, you can brush and floss your teeth just like you normally do.
- Play sports? No mouthguard required! Just take your aligners out for all practices and games.
- Invisalign is effective for teens and adults.
- The clear aligners are virtually invisible!
- Your aligners don’t need to be adjusted like braces do, so you’ll have fewer (and shorter) orthodontic appointments.
- Carolina Oaks is a leading Invisalign provider in Upstate South Carolina.
Invisalign is sounding pretty good, right? Here are some of the downsides of Invisalign:
- A removable orthodontic device sounds great in theory … until you lose it. For some people, a fixed treatment option ensures your appliance stays where it belongs: in your mouth.
- You need to wear your aligners for 22 hours a day, so if you’re likely to forget or get tempted not to wear them, Invisalign may not be right for you.
When choosing an orthodontic treatment, it really comes down to your personal preferences and your lifestyle. Fortunately, Carolina Oaks is highly experienced in treating patients with both braces and Invisalign, so no matter what you decide, you’re in good hands. Still have questions? Give us a call to book a consultation today.