Having crooked teeth affects the appearance of your smile and can also contribute to tooth decay, misalignment of bite, and other oral problems. But traditional metal braces can be uncomfortable, and if you are older, somewhat embarrassing. For some people, clear braces, such as Invisalign in Austin, are a less noticeable alternative to traditional braces. Invisalign works through a series of clear, removable aligners that gradually shift teeth into a straighter position.
The most common type of braces used to correct teeth is metal, and can be silver or gold in color. While metal braces are strong and can fix most dental issues, they are not removable and the brackets and wires can cause some irritation to the gums and cheeks. Clear braces, however, are a series of clear, plastic orthodontic trays called aligners. The aligners are custom fitted to your mouth, designed to apply a gentle pressure to shift the teeth into the desired position. Each tray is worn for two weeks, and depending on the desired results, may take 10, 20, or more trays. Clear braces can correct crooked or overcrowded teeth, overbites, and gaps. The way the aligner fits produces the straightening force. The aligners are designed to not quite fit right when first worn, feeling snug or too tight in places. This is because the aligner is shaped to apply a gentle pressure to the teeth, gradually shifting them into the proper alignment.
Advantages of Clear Braces
Not only are clear braces less noticeable, they are removable. While traditional braces require a restriction in diet, aligners can be removed during meal times. They can also be removed for brushing and flossing, allowing for better oral hygiene and less accumulation of plaque. Many people find the aligners to be more comfortable and less painful than traditional braces, and for some, may provide faster results. But the removable factor of the aligners also means the patient is required to participate, remembering to wear the aligner at all times besides during meals and brushing. People who grind their teeth may cause damage to the aligners, and clear braces cost more than traditional metal braces. Severe malocclusions, such as severely rotated or tipped teeth, large gaps, and severe over or open bites may not be correctable by clear braces. But the addition of attachments and buttons has greatly expanded what can be corrected by clear braces.
Attachments and Buttons
Attachments are small tooth-colored dots of dental bonding placed at specific locations on the teeth to assist with difficult changes such as rotations or angled teeth. The attachments help direct the pressure from the aligner more effectively against the tooth that requires correction. When applied, the dentist will clean and prepare the surface of the tooth. The bonding, which has been made to match the color of your tooth, is then applied to the tooth with the use of a template that resembles your aligners. The bonding is set with a light. When the attachment is no longer needed, it is easily removed by your dentist.
Buttons are less commonly used than attachments and are small plastic brackets placed near the gum line for less notice-ability. The buttons are pre-made, usually consisting of plastic or metal, and are bonded onto your teeth. They work as an anchor point for elastic bands that are used to assist with more severe tooth movements and to correct the bite. To find out if clear braces such as Invisalign in Austin is a good choice for correcting your smile, speak with a local dentist or orthodontist.