Understanding Adult Orthodontics
As a general and cosmetic dentist, I often see patients who are interested in adult orthodontics to correct issues with their current smile. From teenagers looking to avoid the eyesore of braces in their prom photos to established professionals who do not wish to alter their professional image, adult orthodontics provide a way for individuals to improve their smile without the burden of traditional braces.
Yet, not all cases are ideal for adult orthodontics. In fact, this option is only available for those individuals in need of aesthetic enhancements to their front teeth. For those patients with issues extending to their posterior teeth, traditional braces are likely the solution.
While determining the candidacy of a patient for adult orthodontics will ultimately be decided during a patient consult, there are a number of questions that can be answered prior to this visit. The first being: What is the difference between Invisalign and Six Month Smiles®?
What is Invisalign? – A popular adult orthotics solution, Invisalign utilizes a series of clear and customized aligners that sit comfortably over your dental arches to exert a gentle amount of pressure onto the teeth. Aligners are changed every two weeks until you have reached your desired result, which typically takes 12-18 months.
Pros of Invisalign – The biggest advantage of Invisalign is that the aligners are virtually invisible at a conversational distance. Meaning you can undergo treatment without anyone knowing that you are straightening your smile. In addition, aligners are completely removable and no hardware is required, so brushing and flossing your teeth does not require any special care.
Cons of Invisalign – The biggest con of Invisalign is that you must wear aligners 22 hours a day, 7 days a week – removing them only to eat and brush your teeth. This is important, as noncompliance will result in delays, and in some cases require that impressions and aligners be reset completely. In addition, patients must come in for regular visits every six weeks to ensure their teeth are progressing as predicted.
What to Expect – While Invisalign does not require brackets or hardware, patients will have attachments placed on the teeth that help the aligners grab and move the tooth. At most, eight tooth colored attachments will be placed on the teeth. Interproximal reduction, or shaving of the teeth, may also be necessary to create space between the teeth that are moving.
Six Month Smiles
What is Six Month Smiles? – Six Month Smiles utilizes clear braces that combine advanced orthodontic technology, modern materials and innovation to exert a gentle amount of pressure onto the teeth and improve smile aesthetics in an average time of six months.
Pros of Six Month Smiles – The clear advantage of Six Month Smiles is that most cases are complete in six to eight months. Unlike traditional braces, wire and brackets are also clear or tooth colored to provide a more aesthetically pleasing braces option. Because wire is only replaced every two months, patients will also require fewer visits. In addition, because brackets and braces cannot be removed, compliance is 100%.
Cons of Six Month Smiles – Because Six Month Smiles transforms smiles very quickly one disadvantage is the tooth soreness many patients experience as teeth shift and move into place. In addition, brackets will be placed on every tooth, using the back teeth as anchors to move the front teeth around.
What to Expect – On the first visit, patients can expect to have all brackets and anchors placed on the teeth, as well as the first round of wire. Wire is then replaced with thicker wire every two months. Like Invisalign, interproximal reduction may also be necessary. However, because teeth move so quickly, the tendency for them to move back is much higher than Invisalign.
Which Option is Right for You?
While there are pros and cons to each option, deciding which is right for you is ultimately a decision that you and your dentist must make together.
If you are looking to improve your smile in a short period of time, Six Month Smile might be for you. However, if you do not want people to know that you are correcting your smile, Invisalign might be the best option. Personal eating habits and will power are also factors to consider, as Invisalign will not be effective if it removed frequently to snack, or not used as directed.
Remember, the sooner you address the problem the less invasive, less expensive and more predictable it will be. For more information on how you can improve your smile with adult orthodontics, call us at 813-689-4226 to schedule a consultation today.