Here at Buttram Orthodontics, we believe every potential patient should be informed about each step of the treatment process. If you’ve been thinking about taking the first step towards a straighter smile, you probably have a long list of questions about what the process entails. Many people find themselves comparing braces vs Invisalign, which one is right for you? Our goal is to give you all the information you need about the options that are available here in our Panama City office!
Our expert team is happy to help you find the best treatment for your unique smile. To get you started, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of our two most popular options: traditional braces and Invisalign clear aligners. Keep reading to learn more!
The basics of braces and clear aligners
To understand the specifics of the different appliances we offer, it helps to know a bit about the basics of orthodontic treatment in general. While braces and aligners are very different in appearance, they actually work in much the same way—by applying gentle pressure on the teeth to move them into straighter positions over time.
Orthodontists have used traditional braces for a very long time so they have a well-established history of successfully correcting a wide range of oral issues. Invisalign has only been in widespread use for the last couple of decades, but the system has continued to grow in popularity from year to year.
Both of these options can be effective for anyone looking to improve their smile, but there are some important differences between them to know about before getting started with your treatment.
All about treatment with braces
Traditional braces are made of metal brackets that have been attached to the front surface of the teeth, then held together by wires and tiny rubber bands. Modern braces are more discreet and comfortable than ever before and they can be especially efficient for treating cases that are more severe or complex.
Every patient responds to braces in their own way, so there is no one-size-fits-all answer as to how long treatment time will be. However, the average time spent in braces is typically anywhere from 18-36 months. Metal braces will often produce a slightly noticeable movement of the misaligned teeth within a relatively short period of time. This can give you a boost of self-confidence and get you excited about the process, too!
Traditional braces can come with a bit of a learning curve, particularly when it comes to brushing and flossing. Navigating the nooks and crannies created by the wires and brackets can be tough at first, but with a little patience, this new dental hygiene routine will become second nature. There are also a variety of at-home tools available to make things a little easier, like water piks to help rinse those hard-to-reach areas and ortho picks for flossing with braces.
Food restrictions can be one of the more frustrating parts of being a braces patient. Crunchy and sticky foods can damage the brackets and wires, so these should be avoided until treatment is complete. That means avoiding some common snacks while wearing braces, like raw apples and carrots, popcorn, chips, and certain types of candy. Remember, though, that these restrictions are only temporary. They’ll be more than worth it once the braces come off and you see your beautiful new smile!
When you’re wearing braces, you can expect follow-up visits with us every 6-8 weeks or so. During these visits, Dr. Buttram will ensure that your treatment is progressing according to plan. He’ll also change the bands attached to the brackets and may choose to replace the wire as well. These adjustment appointments are usually pretty quick, but they’re an essential part of the treatment process, so it’s important to keep them.
Information on Invisalign aligners
The Invisalign system uses a series of removable clear aligners to straighten the teeth. They’re made of a smooth plastic material called SmartTrack and are designed to fit snugly but comfortably over your own teeth. That means they don’t irritate the gums or cheeks the way some brackets and wires can.
Since Invisalign aligners are removable, they’re incredibly easy to maintain!
They’re taken out before eating or drinking anything other than water, so you don’t need to worry about food getting stuck in between the brackets and wires, reducing your chances of developing tooth decay. They’re also meant to be removed before brushing and flossing, making dental hygiene a much quicker process. Removability also means no food restrictions! You can still eat all the same things you usually do while improving your smile.
Like braces, it’s hard to estimate exactly how long each patient will need to be in aligners since every case is different. The average treatment time tends to be anywhere from 9-18 months, however. This total will also depend on your compliance. When wearing aligners, you will need to remember to keep them in for at least 20-22 hours every single day and switch them out every 1-2 weeks. This allows the aligners to keep up with the movements the teeth are making. Failure to do so can lead to a longer treatment time and for less optimal results.
Invisalign patients will also be expected to attend follow-up visits, though they tend to be slightly more spaced out than those in braces. Skipping appointments or missing scheduled aligner changes can quickly undo any progress made in treatment, so they’re still an important part of your treatment plan!
Find your smile solution at Buttram Orthodontics
It’s easy to see that both braces and Invisalign have a lot to offer anyone looking to improve their oral health through orthodontics. When you choose an experienced orthodontist like Dr. Buttram, he’ll work with you to determine which treatment option is the best fit for your unique smile, lifestyle, and goals.
If you’re in Panama City or the surrounding communities Buttram Orthodontics has your smile needs covered! If you’re ready to learn more about how our treatment options can transform your smile, get in touch today to schedule a FREE consultation with Dr. Buttram! Our expert team will be happy to help you find the most effective solution for a smile that looks great and feels good, too.