This is the second part of my article explaining some common misconceptions or myths about braces and Invisalign. These are things that I hear and see on a daily /weekly basis and that patient often misunderstand.
- When patients come to see me for a consult and are interested in Invisalign treatment, there are differences that braces that they need to be aware of. First, there are some tooth movements that Invisalign just is not good at. Often times to approach the same quality that you receive from braces, elastics (rubber bands) must be worn, bumps called attachments may need to be bonded to the face of your teeth, and “ramps” on the back of your upper trays may prevent you from closing your back teeth together. I like patients to be aware if these adjuncts are needed before deciding between braces and Invisalign. The relative advantages of Invisalign (aesthetics, the ability to remove them) can then be weighed against the disadvantages (also the ability to remove them, sometimes limitations in correcting the bite, and usually an increase in cost). I will be glad to help you decide which option is the best for your smile and your lifestyle.
- “I would like clear braces, but I heard that they can discolor or stain.” For years now, the clear ceramic braces that I use at Meadows Orthodontics do not stain or discolor! The small clear ties that hold in your arch wire can discolor (especially from coffee, tea, red wine and curry), but these are changed to brand new ties at each visit, so they never really get the chance to be noticeably discolored. It is really nice that the clear ceramic braces have advanced to the point that this is no longer an issue!
- “If I double up on the elastics that I was asked to wear, I will get my braces removed faster” Kids- do not do this! Wearing double the rubber bands will not speed up your treatment, and could likely break the brackets off your teeth, cause pain, and slow down tooth movement! There are many sizes and strengths of elastics, and I choose the most efficient ones for you to wear (if needed) at every visit.
- “I heard that Damon (or self-ligating) Braces will speed up my treatment, or are more comfortable.” Damon braces are one of MANY brands of braces, and each manufacturer touts the merits of the product that they are selling. The fact is teeth do not know what brand of braces is on them, and it is mainly the decisions of the orthodontist that determines the quality and length of your treatment. Damon is a really nice system of braces and I offer self-ligating braces as an option to my patients, but I am honest with them and explain that the latest research (and my own clinical experience) do not support the above claims from the manufacturers. Please see my blog article from August 21st, 2014 for more detailed information on this topic.
- “Phase 1 (or early) treatment will eliminate the need for braces later on, or reduce the total time in orthodontic treatment.” In general this is not the case. The majority of children do not need early intervention, but it is very important to identify the children that do. If I have informed you that your child needs early or Phase 1 treatment, it is because of one of the following: 1). If not treated now, there is a window that will be missed that will negatively affect his/her future outcome, 2). If two phases are done a better or more stable outcome will be attained, or 3). The appearance, function or health of the patient will be improved as an adult if treated in two phases versus one phase. Because the need for early treatment is very specific, you should have a full understanding of WHY early treatment is needed and why it is not advised to wait until one complete set of braces (which I prefer if possible). Phase 1 treatment is limited treatment before all the permanent teeth have erupted, is very specific in its focus, and the limited braces are are usually removed after 9-12 months. Because there are so many baby teeth present during phase 1 treatment, full alignment of the teeth is not the intention of this early phase. The term “Phase 1” implies that there will be another second phase of treatment, when a full set of braces is placed to align the permanent teeth when they have erupted. Usually the time in treatment of Phase 1 and Phase 2 added together is longer than most one phase comprehensive cases, so this should be made clear also.
Dr. Dan Rejman is an Board Certified orthodontic specialist, and exclusively treats patients with braces and Invisalign in his Castle Rock Colorado practice. Meadows Orthodontics is located in the Meadows community, and will soon open a second Castle Rock location in the Founders Marketplace (in February 2016)!