First off, we’re glad that you’re considering orthodontic treatment! It can be a big step, but it’s a great way to improve your oral health and your self-confidence. You have many choices ahead of you on your orthodontic journey, and we think you should have as much information as possible about the orthodontic process before taking the plunge. One of the most common—and most important—questions we get here at Scaffidi Orthodontics is simple: “Should I choose braces or Invisalign?”
Our practice has been creating beautiful smiles for New Orleans and the surrounding communities for many years. Now it’s your turn! Our expert team is committed to helping you explore all the options available to you, and that begins with your initial consultation. Your first visit will give us the chance to discuss any concerns you have about your teeth, as well as:
- how orthodontic treatment can change your smile
- which treatment would be the best fit for your needs
- what payment options are available to you
During your consultation at our offices in New Orleans, Slidell, or Kenner, we’ll also outline the differences between our most popular treatment options: metal braces and Invisalign clear aligners. We tend to use these options most frequently, and knowing a bit more about each will help you understand which one would suit your smile needs. Let’s take a look at their pros and cons below!
The basics of orthodontic treatment
Although they look very different, braces and aligners actually work in more or less the same way. Both gently apply force to your teeth to move them into more optimal positions over time. Not only does this align your teeth and jaws, but it improves your oral health and gives you a fully functional smile that looks great and feels good, too.
Traditional braces have been around for hundreds of years in various forms, and have a proven track record of successfully correcting a variety of orthodontic issues, from simple to complex. Invisalign is a more recent treatment method that has become increasingly popular over the last twenty years with teen and adult patients.
Braces and clear aligners are both excellent options for anyone interested in achieving a healthier smile, but there are some important differences between them.
Metal braces are very efficient at correcting a wide range of orthodontic issues and can be especially useful for more severe or complex cases. Because every case is different and each patient responds in their own way, the treatment time will vary from person to person. However, the average patient we see here at Scaffidi Orthodontics will usually spend anywhere from 18-36 months in braces.
Unlike Invisalign aligners, which are removable, braces are a fixed appliance. That means they can come with a bit of a learning curve! There are certain foods you’ll need to avoid throughout treatment since crunchy and chewy foods can damage the brackets and wires.
You’ll also need to make some adjustments to your dental hygiene routine to ensure you’re keeping your teeth, gums, and appliances nice and clean. It can be tricky learning to navigate around braces, particularly where flossing is concerned, but this is an essential part of the treatment process. Fortunately, there are a variety of accessories available to make cleaning easier!
Here at Scaffidi Orthodontics, we’re proud to offer our patients the In-Ovation braces system. The Damon system uses unique high-tech wires to straighten the teeth faster with fewer adjustments and less pressure. Instead of elastic tie-ins, In-Ovation braces are self-ligating, which means no elastic or metal ties are required! The braces are attached to a light “shape memory” wire that connects slide brackets without the pressure elastics often produce.
The tie-ins typically used with traditional braces can sometimes cause friction and pressure, making treatment less comfortable. In-Ovation braces use a patented slide mechanism to hold the archwire in place while allowing teeth to move freely and quickly without as much friction. Since there are no elastic ties, there is no tightening required. These braces are also less likely to attract plaque since they tend to be easier to clean.
Like traditional braces, In-Ovation braces from Scaffidi Orthodontics are very adept at fixing a variety of oral issues. In fact, they can sometimes work faster at closing gaps and aligning teeth than other treatments might. Noticeable signs of progress can often be seen in a relatively short amount of time, which can be a real boost to your self-confidence!
Invisalign clear aligners
Invisalign aligners are nearly invisible and they’re also removable, making them the most popular alternative to braces by far. The SmartTrack material Invisalign aligners are made of is smooth and tends to be more comfortable than traditional braces. When worn as directed by Dr. Scaffidi, Invisalign aligners can be just as efficient as braces at correcting many of the most common orthodontic issues.
Just like braces, the total treatment time for Invisalign patients will vary from case to case, with it averaging about 9-18 months. The number of aligners needed to straighten the teeth will also depend on your unique smile, as well as your level of compliance and how your teeth respond to treatment.
Because Invisalign aligners are removable, you have an extra measure of freedom during treatment. They’re designed to be taken out before eating or drinking anything other than water and should also be removed before brushing and flossing. Since you don’t wear your aligners during mealtimes, there are no food restrictions, something our Lexington patients love. You can continue eating all your favorite snacks as long as you’re careful about brushing and flossing afterward, which makes the entire treatment process a bit easier to manage.
The aligners must be worn for 20-22 hours each day and switched out every 1-2 weeks to be successful. Because they’re custom-designed to fit each patient’s unique needs, these frequent changes are necessary to keep up with the shifting of the teeth. Just like braces patients, you’ll be expected to attend follow-up visits with Dr. Scaffidi every 6-8 weeks or so. Skipping these appointments or missing your scheduled aligner changes can quickly undo any progress you’ve made, so you’ll want to make them a priority!
Find the best fit for your smile with Scaffidi Orthodontics
In the end, both metal braces and clear aligners are amazing options for achieving an incredible smile. When you trust your teeth to Scaffidi Orthodontics, you can be sure that our expert team will only recommend the treatment they feel is best for your unique needs, lifestyle, and goals.
If you’re ready to take the first step towards the confident smile you deserve, get in touch today to schedule a FREE consultation with Dr. Scaffidi!