Invisible braces such as Invisalign braces are a popular choice for straightening teeth, as these plastic trays are less noticeable and more comfortable than standard wire braces. While invisible braces are an excellent option for teens and adults, it's good to consider whether they're the right option for you personally. Note a few details about invisible braces so you can then discuss this choice with your dentist or orthodontist, and ensure you opt for the best method of teeth straightening available.
Metal Braces Versus Plastic Trays
The most critical difference between metal braces and plastic trays is that traditional braces are better able to address complex tooth issues. For instance, metal braces might be able to close severe gaps in teeth faster and more effectively than plastic trays.
Plastic trays are recommended for those who want aligned teeth for cosmetic reasons, and not necessarily because their teeth are causing headaches or damage to tooth enamel. Plastic trays can also be removed as needed, so they're a good choice for adults especially, as they can take out the tray to give a presentation at work, when having their photo taken and so on.
Can Teens Use Plastic Trays?
Only an orthodontist can tell you if invisible braces are right for your teenager. The answer often depends on the severity of their teeth misalignment and if plastic trays will be effective in moving their teeth into position.
Parents also might worry about their teens not wearing their trays throughout the day as required. Many trays today have small dots or other indicators on the outside; the dots fade as the tray is worn, so a parent can check this indicator and see whether or not a child is wearing the tray as needed!
Are Plastic Braces Comfortable?
Traditional metal braces are often uncomfortable, as their wires rub against the inside of the mouth or tongue. When a wire breaks, it creates a sharp edge that cuts the inside of the mouth until you can have it repaired. Plastic trays are softer and don't have rough wires that irritate the mouth. If a tray should break, you can also remove it entirely while waiting to see your orthodontist.
One consideration, however, is that plastic trays nudge teeth into position, and this can cause a slight bit of discomfort. Someone wearing invisible braces might experience some soreness or muscle aches, simply as part of the process of straightening the teeth. Your dentist or orthodontist can tell you how much discomfort you might expect with plastic trays and ensure you're as pain-free as possible while using them.