If you’ve been thinking about straightening your smile with orthodontics, you may not be sure where to begin. It’s a big decision, after all, and you should have all the information you need before taking the next steps. You may be considering Invisalign or braces, wondering which treatment option is right for you. Fortunately, Moon Orthodontics is here to help! When you schedule a complimentary consultation with our Overland Park or Olathe office, you’ll be able to discuss any concerns you have with Dr. Moon. Our expert team will also be happy to answer any questions you have about the orthodontic process, including the treatments that are available to you.
Before you get started, it can be helpful to know a bit more about the treatment options we offer, and how they can give you a healthier smile. Our office has traditional braces and Invisalign clear aligners available to patients, and while they look very different, these appliances work in much the same way. Both are designed to move the teeth into the desired positions over time by applying continuous but gentle pressure to them. This will bring your teeth and jaw into alignment and improve the appearance and function of your smile.
The underlying mechanism of braces and Invisalign may be similar, but there are also some significant differences between the two. We’ll explore these in more detail below!
An overview of traditional braces
Traditional braces have been around for a long time, and have a proven track record of successfully correcting a wide range of orthodontic issues. Braces are what we call a fixed orthodontic appliance, which means the brackets are affixed directly to the teeth using a bonding agent. A flexible wire runs through them, which is used along with tiny elastic bands to shift the teeth into more optimal positions.
Modern braces have undergone a major makeover in recent years. Not only is the appearance improved, but they’re also more comfortable and effective than previous versions! Here at Moon Orthodontics, we offer two different types of braces to fit every patient’s needs: traditional metal braces and clear ceramic braces. Treatment time with braces will always vary from case to case, but the average tends to be anywhere from 12-36 months.
Caring for traditional braces can sometimes come with a bit of a learning curve. This is especially true when it comes to brushing and flossing around the brackets and wires, which can be tricky at first. Although this will become easier with a little practice, there are also a variety of accessories available for braces patients. This includes tools like water piks to help rinse those hard-to-reach areas and ortho picks for braces-specific flossing.
Food restrictions are another essential part of oral care with braces. To protect the brackets and wires, patients will need to avoid anything crunchy or sticky, like popcorn, chips, gum, and some candy. It can be frustrating to have these favorites off the menu throughout the treatment process, but it’s only temporary and there are still plenty of orthodontic-approved treats available!
Patients in traditional braces will visit us every 6-8 weeks or so for follow-up appointments. Dr. Moon will ensure that everything is progressing according to the treatment plan, then change the bands attached to the brackets. He may choose to replace the wire at this time as well. These adjustment appointments generally don’t last more than an hour, but they’re an essential part of treatment and help ensure the best results in the shortest amount of time possible.
An overview of Invisalign clear aligners
Invisalign is an innovative system that uses a series of removable clear aligners to straighten smiles instead of brackets and wires. These aligners are a removable orthodontic appliance, and custom-made to fit snugly but comfortably over a patient’s teeth. Because they’re made of a smooth thermoplastic material, they don’t tend to irritate the gums or cheeks the way braces sometimes can. Most patients adjust to their aligners quickly.
Like braces, the treatment time with Invisalign will vary based on the particular case and how the patient responds. However, the average time in aligners tends to be somewhere between 12-18 months. Invisalign differs from traditional braces in that the treatment time depends in part on patient compliance. Invisalign patients must keep their aligners in for 20-22 hours every day throughout treatment. Each aligner also needs to be switched out for the next in the series every 1-2 weeks. Failure to do so can lead to a longer treatment time and less optimal results.
Because Invisalign aligners are removable, they’re very easy to care for! They’re designed to be taken out before eating and drinking anything other than water, so patients don’t have to worry about food restrictions. Aligners are also removed before brushing and flossing, which makes dental hygiene a much quicker and simpler process.
Like braces patients, Invisalign patients will have regular follow-ups with Dr. Moon. These are usually scheduled for every 8-12 weeks. Skipping appointments or missing scheduled aligner changes can quickly undo any progress that’s been made, so it’s important to keep up with these visits.
Find the best fit for your smile with Moon Orthodontics
While traditional braces and Invisalign clear aligners each have their own list of pros and cons, both treatments are excellent options to improve your oral health and give you a straighter smile. When you choose our practice to help you achieve that, Dr. Moon will create a custom treatment plan for you based on your specific needs, lifestyle, and goals. You can trust that he’ll only recommend the best treatment option for your unique smile!
If you’re in Overland Park, Olathe, or the surrounding area and would like to learn more about the treatments we offer, get in touch today to schedule your FREE consultation with Dr. Moon. Our expert team is here to help you find the most effective solution for giving you a smile that feels as good as it looks!