For those in the market for a cosmetic dental services or perhaps an orthodontist because of a crooked smile, there’s an understandable dread of having a mouth full of metal – in other words, braces.
There are several choices in the world of orthodontics, some you may not even have heard of. Here is an overview of current types:
- Metal (or traditional) braces – nearly everyone is familiar with the traditional set of braces. Many adults had to deal with being called “brace face” during the already-challenging middle school years! They consist of metal brackets placed on your teeth. Modern day braces are a tremendous improvement, however – as the brackets are much smaller, and less painful than those of the past. These are the least expensive choice.
- Lingual braces – although the name sounds like a speech-impediment, lingual braces are really the same thing as traditional braces, but they are placed on the inside of your teeth, and therefore invisible to outsiders. While this does seem to be a plus, it’s important to know that these are more expensive and can be more painful than traditional metal braces.
- Ceramic braces – basically, these are “tooth-colored” or clear brackets – in other words, very similar to metal braces except less noticeable. They are more expensive than metal braces, but move your teeth much faster.
- Invisalign – these are the new kid on the block, and worth boasting about because they are virtually invisible, and people are raving about them.
Let’s assume you are leaning toward Invisalign as a choice for your teeth-straightening needs – if so, read on for the low down on how they work, pros and cons, and finally, the big question before signing on: how much does Invisalign cost?
How Invisalign works
Invisalign works using custom-made clear aligners to straighten your teeth. The series of aligners you get are designed to fit your teeth, perfectly and uniquely. The aligners (plastic) that fit over your teeth are smooth and clear, nearly invisible, which is probably the number one reason they are so popular!
The way they work is by slowly shifting your teeth into the desired position for optimum straightening, based on the goals you agree upon with your orthodontist. You will get a new set of aligners every couple of weeks, based on the improvement your teeth are showing – how well they are moving into place, that is.
What are the benefits of Invisalign?
Patients using or who have used Invisalign report many pros:
- No one can tell you’re wearing braces.
- The aligner trays are comfortable and easy to wear and remove.
- You get to remove them! For example, for brushing and flossing, meals, playing an instrument, a special occasion – really for any reason, you can just pop them out!
- You don’t have to take them out because people don’t even notice them.
- Fewer doctor visits than those required for regular metal braces.
- Less gum and mouth irritation than regular braces, as reported by those who have had both methods.
What are the disadvantages of Invisalign?
While there are clearly many advantages to Invisalign, there are some factors to consider in making your choice:
- Not always applicable – some dental misalignment problems cannot be appropriately addressed by Invisalign. You’ll have to discuss these exceptions with your dentist or orthodontist.
- Responsibility – if you’re the forgetful type, this method might not be ideal for you. If you lose your aligners, or forget to wear them often, this can delay your results significantly.
- Removing them for eating – this is both a pro and a con. Definitely a pro in that you can take them out to eat things forbidden (or difficult) with traditional braces – like corn on the cob! On the other hand, having to take them out before eating requires you to make a trip to the bathroom before and after eating (unless you don’t mind popping it out in front of people, which could be a bit unseemly).
- Lisp – some people have reported having some speech difficulties when wearing the aligners, mainly developing a lisp as your mouth and tongue try to “work around” the barrier.
- Cost – it can cost more than traditional metal braces – but not always – depending on your orthodontist.
Why traditional metal braces aren’t always ideal
So now we’ve gotten a brief overview of some of the disadvantages that come with Invisalign. Let’s check out the negatives that are common with traditional metal braces.
- Pain and discomfort
- Mouth sores
- Tooth decay (if you don’t brush and floss correctly)
- Tooth discoloration
- Plaque buildup
- Bracket breakage
- Painful wire tightening
- Forbidden goodies, such as corn on the cob, popcorn, nuts, certain chocolates and more.
So let’s say you’ve read through the pros and cons of both traditional metal braces, other options, and Invisalign, and decide that Invisalign is the right choice for you. Now you are probably asking – how much does Invisalign cost?
How much does Invisalign cost?
There are several options to consider when it comes to cost. A lot of dental insurance plans cover Invisalign, just as they do other orthodontic treatments like metal braces. You’ll need to check with your insurance provider for an estimate of what they will cover.
You can also use your FSA – Flexible Spending Account – toward your treatment with Invisalign.
Another option is through payment plans offered from your orthodontist, many offer several different kinds of affordable plans for you to choose from.
Don’t delay this treatment if you really want it – just do your homework by working with your insurance, dentist and/or orthodontist to find the perfect solution for you. Your teeth will thank you for it!