Here at Whitewater Orthodontic Studios, we believe you should have all the information you need to make the best choice for your smile. That’s one reason we offer free consultations for patients of all ages throughout Lakewood, Yelm, and Lacey! You might be comparing braces vs. Invisalign, wondering which one is right for you. During your initial visit to one of our three conveniently located offices, our expert team will be happy to discuss the concerns you have about your oral health and answer any questions you may have about the treatment process. We’ll also cover a range of important topics, including:
- how orthodontic care can change your smile
- which treatment options will be the best fit for your unique needs
- any payment options that are available to you
During this visit, we’ll go over the details of our most popular treatment options: traditional braces and Invisalign clear aligners. Since these tend to be the two options we use most often, it can be helpful to understand the basics of both. To learn a bit more about the similarities and differences between braces and clear aligners, keep reading below!
Believe it or not, traditional braces have been around in one form or another for centuries. That means they come with a solid track record of successfully treating a wide range of orthodontic issues. Small brackets are attached to the front surface of the teeth, working together with a flexible wire and tiny rubber bands to move your teeth into the desired positions. Today’s braces are better than ever, with options to fit every patient’s unique needs. Our practice offers metal and clear braces for a comfortable treatment that fits your lifestyle.
We’re also proud to offer patients LightForce braces. This bracket system is one of the most cutting-edge technologies to hit the orthodontic industry in decades! It uses 3D technology to customize every bracket for the perfect fit, providing patients with the kind of custom treatment that wasn’t available before now. Since the braces are designed around each patient’s teeth, treatment is more efficient and comfortable. That means fewer appointments and faster treatment times! Custom brackets can also reduce the risk of emergencies, since the braces adhere to your mouth more precisely.
Traditional braces are a cost-effective option and can be especially effective at treating more serious or complex issues. Although the treatment time will vary from case to case, the average patient will spend anywhere from 18-22 months in braces. This could be longer or shorter for you, depending on your unique smile needs.
Your oral hygiene routine can take some adjustment after you get your braces. Brushing and flossing effectively around the brackets and wires comes with a learning curve, but with a little patience, it will become just another part of your routine in no time! There are also a variety of accessories designed to make oral hygiene easier for braces patients, like water piks to help rinse hard-to-reach places and ortho picks for braces-specific flossing.
Food restrictions are another essential part of maintaining your smile during treatment. You’ll need to avoid any foods that can damage your braces throughout the treatment process, including anything that is crunchy or sticky. That means snacks like raw apples and carrots, certain kinds of candy, and popcorn are off the menu until your treatment is complete. While this may seem frustrating at times, it will be more than worth it once your braces come off and we reveal your beautiful new smile!
Patients in traditional braces can expect follow-up visits in our office every 6-8 weeks or so. Dr. Leavitt will use this appointment time to ensure everything is progressing according to the treatment plan and change the bands attached to the brackets. He may also choose to replace the wire, depending on your specific treatment plan. These adjustment appointments generally last no more than an hour. These visits are an essential part of treatment and help ensure you achieve the best results in the least amount of time possible.
Invisalign clear aligners
Invisalign is the most popular alternative to traditional braces here at Whitewater Orthodontic Studios. Instead of brackets and wires, this innovative system uses a series of removable clear aligners to straighten smiles. These customized trays are made of Invisalign’s SmartTrack material, a smooth plastic that is designed to be comfortable, durable, and nearly invisible.
Invisalign clear aligners are less invasive than traditional braces. Each aligner is customized to fit over your own teeth, which guarantees a snug fit that won’t irritate the gums or cheeks the way braces sometimes can. As with anything new, there’s an adjustment period, but most patients have no problem getting used to their clear aligners!
Like braces, treatment time with Invisalign will depend on your specific needs, but the average tends to be about 12-18 months. The treatment time with clear aligners also depends on patient compliance—you’ll be responsible for wearing them for at least 20-22 hours every day to ensure they work properly. You’ll also need to switch aligners out for the next in the series every 1-2 weeks to keep up with the movements Dr. Leavitt plans for your teeth. Failure to do so can lead to a longer treatment time and less optimal results.
Because Invisalign aligners are removable, they are extremely easy to maintain! They’re designed to be taken out before eating and drinking anything other than water, which means no food restrictions to keep up with. Aligners are also removed before brushing and flossing, making it easier to maintain your dental hygiene routine.
Find the best fit for your smile with Whitewater Orthodontic Studios
Like everything in life, treatment with braces and Invisalign each come with their own list of pros and cons. However, they’re both excellent at improving oral health and straightening smiles! If you’re ready to explore how orthodontics can transform your teeth, get in touch today to schedule your FREE consultation with Dr. Leavitt in Lakewood, Yelm, or Lacey. We’re here to help you find the most effective solution for your smile!
Invisalign patients can expect regular follow-ups with Dr. Leavitt, too. Skipping these appointments or missing scheduled aligner changes can quickly undo any progress made in treatment, so it’s important to make these visits a priority.