Dental treatments for a perfect smile
Getting that perfectly straight smile is an exciting event, but from the moment braces are put on, the orthodontic patient imagines the day they are taken off. Today, more than 4 million American children and teens receive orthodontic treatment, so chances are you, or your child is one of them. It is estimated that nearly 75% of children and adolescents have tooth spacing or alignment problems that require treatment with brackets and retainers. So what's the difference between them?
What are braces?
If you have crooked teeth and/or a misaligned bite (underbite or overbite), braces can help straighten your teeth. The orthodontist will ask you questions about your health, do a clinical examination, collect impressions (molds) of your teeth, take photos of your face and teeth, and order x-rays of your mouth and head. A treatment plan is then developed where the appliances will correct the bite and alignment of the teeth. The wires exert gentle pressure on the teeth, bringing them into the correct position. The brackets, made of stainless steel, are attached to the front of each tooth. Regular visits to the orthodontist are necessary to check the progress of the teeth and adjust the tension as needed. Braces help straighten your smile, can also treat serious problems, such as misaligned or underdeveloped jaws, and contribute to good oral health.
What are retainers?
It is essential to understand that braces are not the end of the process. On the contrary, the end of the braces is where the most crucial part of the journey begins. Retention is a critical follow-up stage that keeps the teeth in their new position and even continues to provide minor corrections in some cases. Like braces, retainers may initially cause discomfort or pressure, which will resolve as your mouth adapts to the appliance. Teeth can take a year or more to stabilize after braces, which means they are very susceptible to shifting. Retainers can be removable or permanent. Removable retainers are custom-made to fit your teeth and prevent them from shifting, while permanent retainers are bonded to the lingual side of the teeth, so they are not visible. One of the leading causes of relapse where teeth partially or fully return to their original position is not following the retention treatment plan recommended by experts. Retainers can also curb the patient's teeth grinding habit. If worn at night, the jaw cannot close completely, inhibiting their ability to grind their teeth while they sleep.
Your invisible option; clear aligners
Treatment with clear aligners, such as Invisalign uses a series of clear plastic aligners to facilitate the placement of teeth into a new position. Each aligner in the sequence has small gaps that apply gentle pressure to the teeth to be moved. You must wear Invisalign for at least 22 hours daily as a patient. After that, the only times you will need to remove them are during meals, when drinking anything other than water, or at specific times of personal preference, such as smiling at pictures. Unlike fixed braces, each aligner should last only two weeks. After these two weeks, you will receive a new aligner, and so on. Each aligner will only fix your dental misalignment by a minimal margin, making them much smoother and more comfortable in your mouth. And because they're clear, most people won't even know you're wearing them!
What is the best option for you?
As you can see, braces, retainers, and aligners are not the same and cannot be used interchangeably to treat all conditions. Choosing which is best for you is not a choice between them but a combined effort to give you a perfect, long-lasting smile. The only way to know which option is right for you is to make an appointment with Dr. Imanian and his team of specialists for a personalized consultation.
Your cosmetic dentistry in Parker, AZ
When you're unhappy with your smile, it affects how you interact with others. After all, your smile is one of the first things people see when they meet you. A crooked smile can lead to low self-esteem, poor body image, and increased levels of social anxiety. Cosmetic dentistry combats that. At Parker Dental Center, our experts can correct even the most severe dental cases in just a few years, achieving healthier bites and more beautiful smiles. Don't hesitate to visit us to learn about our full range of state-of-the-art braces and revolutionary services that ensure all our patients get the straight teeth, proper bite, and perfect smile they've always dreamed of.