Maybe you have crowded, crooked teeth. Or maybe your smile is a little gappier than you like. Maybe you have a bit of a crossbite, overbite, or underbite. These can seem like mere cosmetic concerns, but they can actually have an impact on your overall oral health. So can fixing them.
For one, straight teeth and a properly aligned bite can make it much easier for you to brush and floss well. Bits of food are less likely to get stuck between teeth or trapped along your gum line. (The longer food or drink is in contact with your teeth, the longer harmful bacteria get to feast – and create acidic metabolic waste that destroys enamel.) A well balanced bite means less pressure on your jaw joints. It can alleviate TMJ pain.
One of the best ways to achieve that healthier, more attractive smile? Invisalign.
How Invisalign Works & Why People Prefer It to Regular Braces
Invisalign uses a series of custom clear aligners to gently and effectively correct orthodontic problems. It can be used to straighten teeth, close gaps, or correct alignment. You wear them most of the time, removing them only to eat, drink, brush, and floss. Every few months, you come in so we can check your progress and you can pick up your next set of aligners.
Even complex cases tend to be completed more quickly with Invisalign than traditional braces and require fewer visits. Depending on the specifics of your case, you could be done with treatment in as little as 6 months.
Of course, most adults prefer Invisalign because it doesn’t look like you’re wearing braces. The aligners are transparent, virtually undetectable. They’re also easy to clean and care for. Being removable, Invisalign avoids issues such as lost brackets or broken archwires that can mean even more office visits.
Patients find that Invisalign is far more comfortable than the ceramic or metal brackets of traditional braces, as well. The aligners are made of smooth, BPA-free plastic. There are no sharp edges that can irritate the soft tissues of your lips and cheeks. Because they’re metal-free, there’s no risk of allergies, sensitivities, or oral galvanism either.
But the benefits of Invisalign hardly end there.
Maintaining Good Oral Health Is Easier with Invisalign
Since you don’t wear the aligners while you’re eating and drinking (doing so could stain them), no food gets trapped as with conventional brackets. This has its benefits, as recent research shows.
One study – small but powerful – was published earlier this year in the American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics. Twelve patients took part. Half were treated with clear aligners and half with regular braces. All were examined at least twice over the course of 12 months. Microbiome composition was investigated, as well, to compare between the two groups.
Ultimately, the researchers found that those in the braces group had more plaque and gingival inflammation (a sign of gum disease), including more disease-causing bacteria. Those in the aligners group, on the other hand, maintained better oral health through the duration of the study.
This is hardly the only research suggesting that good oral health is easier to maintain with Invisalign. A couple months ago, a new review of the scientific literature analyzed 25 published studies and found that, although there were issues that indicate a real need for further research,
Within the limitations of this study, better results for periodontal health were found in the clear aligners.
No Pun Intended, but Invisalign Is the Clear Winner
Finally, there’s the study that was published this past summer in the European Journal of Orthodontics.
One hundred ten patients took part, divided into two groups and matched by age, sex, and malocclusion severity. (“Malocclusion” is the clinical term for a misaligned bite.) One group had braces; the other, clear aligners. Researchers then tracked pain perception, anxiety, and oral health-related quality of life (OHRQoL) through the course of treatment.
Their analysis ultimately found that
Patients treated with clear aligners experienced lower pain levels, less anxiety, and higher OHRQoL as compared to those receiving fixed appliances.
While Invisalign isn’t right for every person or every orthodontic case, benefits like these make it the clear winner for most folks who come to us seeking a better looking, healthier smile.