There was a time when correcting crooked teeth automatically meant wearing traditional metal braces, headgear, and elastic bands. Fortunately, there are some new alternatives to braces that are more aesthetically pleasing and equally effective at straightening and aligning your teeth. At Rollins & Petersen Orthodontics in Arizona, we work with children, teens, and adults to find the best orthodontic treatment for each patient. Everyone wants a beautiful smile, and there are now new ways of achieving that.
For decades, metal braces have been the most common form of treatment for patients with teeth in need of straightening. But some patients, particularly older teens, and adults, are self-conscious about the look of braces. Thanks to advances in orthodontics, there are now alternatives — including Invisalign and the Damon System — that are less visible and more comfortable.
Invisalign, a revolutionary form of orthodontic treatment that has been around since 1997, is an invisible way of straightening teeth. Invisalign patients wear a series of clear aligner trays that gradually move the teeth into place. Patients wear each aligner tray for about two weeks, removing it only to eat, drink, brush, and floss. Orthodontic checkups take place roughly every six weeks to ensure that treatment is progressing, and the total treatment time averages 11 months and involves anywhere from 18 to 30 different aligners.
Some patients — usually those with minor tooth crowding or spacing issues — are candidates for Invisalign Express, which is a shorter treatment. Invisalign Express treatments can usually be completed in about six months. Patients who are experiencing an orthodontic relapse, or who may require some tooth straightening prior to a cosmetic or restorative treatment such as veneers, may also be candidates for Invisalign Express.
Advantages of Invisalign
There are a number of advantages to Invisalign treatment. Patients love the fact that this treatment doesn’t involve metal brackets or wires that can irritate the mouth. It’s also a convenient treatment because the trays can be removed for eating, drinking, and other short amounts of time.
This means you can eat and drink what you want and easily keep up with regular brushing and flossing of your teeth. Best of all, Invisalign is an invisible treatment. You won’t have to worry about the look of braces. In fact, most people will never know you’re undergoing orthodontic treatment.
The Damon System
The Damon System is another discreet and comfortable alternative to traditional braces. Damon System braces are attached to the teeth much like conventional metal braces, but the system uses clear brackets and non-affixed high-tech wires. In addition to being virtually invisible, the Damon System allows the wires to move more fluidly, which can cause less discomfort for some patients than traditional metal braces. The Damon System can be a good solution for patients who aren’t candidates for Invisalign treatments.
Advantages of the Damon System
There’s a lot to like about The Damon System. One of the big advantages of this treatment is that it’s so discreet. Friends, family, and coworkers won’t even know you’re wearing braces. And because The Damon System also doesn’t require the use of elastic ties, which can accumulate bacteria, the teeth are less likely to stain or yellow during treatment.
Patients have an easier time keeping up with their oral hygiene during treatment thanks to the fact that the wires move freely within the brackets. The technical design of The Damo System also minimizes the need for tooth extractions and headgear use.
Who Is a Good Candidate for Alternatives to Braces?
Adults and older children whose mouths have fully developed are the best candidates for Invisalign. Because the aligners need to be worn for 22 hours out of the day, children and teens who use Invisalign need to be mature enough to keep track of their usage time. Just about any patient can be a candidate for The Damon System.
How Can I Tell Which Treatment Is Best?
Selecting the right form of orthodontic treatment is tough. A lot depends on your specific oral needs as well as what you’re looking for in an orthodontic treatment. Our practice can work with you to determine which of the alternatives to braces will best suit you.
We usually start by scheduling a complimentary consultation, where we will evaluate your oral needs and take into consideration your lifestyle, concerns, and other factors. We’ll then create a personalized treatment plan for you. Once that consultation is complete, it’s just a matter of scheduling your first appointment.
Benefits of Orthodontic Treatment
Whether you opt for traditional metal braces or one of the alternatives to braces, like Invisalign or The Damon System, the beautiful smile you’ll have after orthodontic treatment will boost your self-confidence and help you make a great first impression. You’ll be amazed at just how great it feels to smile. But straightening your teeth and improving your appearance aren’t the only reasons to seek out treatment. Undergoing orthodontic treatment can also improve your ability to bite and chew foods and leave you less susceptible to cavities.
A Better Bite
Teeth that aren’t properly aligned can chip and wear when you are biting and chewing food. This leaves you vulnerable to jaw problems and the possibility of pricey dental restorations down the road. Orthodontic treatment corrects jaw issues like an overbite, underbite, or crossbite, giving you stress-free jaw movement and keeping your teeth safe from damage over time. Addressing issues with your bite can serve as a preventative step that wards off longer-term dental problems.
Straightening your teeth and correcting your bite can also ensure that the food you swallow has been properly chewed, making life easier for your digestive system.
Easier Oral Hygiene
If your teeth are properly aligned and evenly spaced, they’re easier to clean and maintain. When you are brushing and flossing, you’ll be more successful at reaching the small spaces between your teeth where bacteria can build up, making it easier for you to fight gum disease and cavities. Your mouth will also feel cleaner, and the regular cleanings your dentist performs will be easier.
Protection for the Teeth
When teeth are out of alignment, they are more vulnerable to cracking or other types of damage, especially when you are consuming chewy, tough, or crunchy foods. Misaligned teeth are also more at risk of damage if you are involved in a traumatic event, like an accidental fall, an automobile accident, or a sports injury.
Better Face Alignment
We’ve talked about how straightening twisted or crooked teeth can improve your smile, making you more comfortable and confident in social settings. But did you also know that in some cases, realigning your teeth through orthodontic treatment can make your lips and jaw better proportioned to your face?
The alignment of the teeth, just like everything else about the structure of your mouth, affects the way certain words sound as you speak. Patients whose teeth are not properly aligned sometimes have difficulty pronouncing certain sounds.
Common Questions About Orthodontic Treatment
Still curious about orthodontic treatment and whether it’s right for you? Here are answers to some common questions.
Am I Too Old for This Treatment?
It’s never too late to correct bite issues, resolve crooked and out-of-place teeth, and achieve the smile you’ve always wanted. In fact, growing numbers of adults are seeking out orthodontic treatments. Metal braces used to be a teen rite of passage, but many of the alternatives to braces — like Invisalign and the Damon System — are particularly appealing to older patients because of their discreet appearance.
Got a big presentation coming up or maybe a job interview? If you’re an Invisalign or Damon System patient, you won’t have to worry about the look of traditional metal braces getting in your way.
How Long Will Treatment Take?
Orthodontic treatment usually lasts anywhere from one to three years, depending on the patient’s age and the severity of his or her problems. For some adults, orthodontic treatment can be completed successfully in as little as six months. It all depends on your individual oral needs and the specific type of treatment and appliances that are used.
How Should I Care for My Teeth While Undergoing Orthodontic Treatment?
Brushing and flossing are important parts of any dental hygiene program, including when you are undergoing orthodontic treatment. Admittedly, flossing can be a little more tricky when you are wearing braces, but it’s still worth the time and effort. Floss threaders, which are widely available at retailers as well as at our office, can help. Our office locations also sell an electric flosser made by Waterpik that works well.
What Causes Orthodontic Problems?
Most orthodontic problems, such as crooked teeth and tooth and jaw irregularities, are inherited. Some orthodontic problems can also be brought on by development factors, such as the premature loss of baby teeth. Poor oral habits, such as thumb sucking or tongue thrusting, can be a factor in some patients. The overall goal of orthodontic treatment is not only to straighten teeth and create an attractive smile but also to ensure that patients have a bite that can promote oral health.
What If My Teeth Move Again Later?
Once your orthodontic treatment is complete, our practice will give you a clear removable retainer that will keep your teeth stable after treatment. We’ll also give you detailed instructions regarding the use and care of your retainer. In addition, we’ll conduct 6-month and one-year retainer check-up appointments to monitor your teeth, your bite, and your dental function. Wearing the retainer and abiding by your post-treatment instructions will help keep your newly treated teeth in place for decades to come.
Why Choose Our Practice?
If you’re tired of hiding your teeth and are ready to take the first step toward a bright new smile, call Rollins & Petersen Orthodontics in Mesa, Arizona, today to schedule a complimentary consultation. We pride ourselves on the family-friendly environment at our practice, and we’re eager to work with you to determine which of the alternatives to braces are best suited for you.