We recently completed a case for a female youth patient using traditional metal braces. We assessed her case and determined that she exhibited a fairly common example of crowding and an anterior openbite - that is, minimal overlapping of the front teeth. In an openbite case, where there should be a more natural and comfortable contact and subtle overlap where teeth would make contact, there is instead an unnatural opening even when the patient’s jaws are fully closed.
Openbites can be genetic - particularly in more severe cases - but lifestyle habits such as thumb or finger sucking, as well as mouth breathing and tongue thrusting, can unnaturally create an openbite. An openbite creates a cosmetic shortcoming which orthodontic patients are often excited to correct, but it is also common for patients with openbites to have other functional issues such as overcrowding and airway complications.
In some severe cases of overcrowding an orthodontist may need to perform extractions in order to create space, but in this particular case we were able to create more space for her tongue, open up her airways, and create a larger and broader smile using only traditional metal braces during a 21 month treatment. Traditional metal braces were chosen as the treatment strategy for their high degree of control, and their ability to allow for a very nuanced rotation of teeth over time by the orthodontist.
Traditional Metal Braces can generally be seen easily due to the metal brackets that are glued to the patient’s teeth. In some cases enamel colored metal brackets can be used for a more discrete appearance. Invisalign uses transparent plastic retainers. These are not easily noticeable, and the casual observer will not notice that you’re wearing retainers unless they look very closely.
Traditional metal braces require two years to treat an average case. Invisalign requires slightly less treatment time for an average case, and significantly less time for mild cases.
With most practices, Invisalign can cost more than twice the amount of traditional metal braces. Because we’re a Top 1% Elite Invisalign provider, we can actually provide Invisalign treatment for the same cost as traditional braces, and even lower in some cases.
The frequency of your office visits is dependent on your unique case and the treatment plan developed by your doctor. Most patients will require office visits every 4-8 weeks.
Metal braces are able to correct some complex cases more effectively than Invisalign. Your doctor will assess your case and determine if Invisalign is a good treatment option for you.
Invisalign provides a discrete visual appearance which is an important deciding factor for many patients, but another important feature is the ability to remove the retainers. Invisalign allows you to remove the retainers prior to eating (in fact, they must be removed prior to eating), so you don’t experience any of the food limitations that metal braces can present. Invisalign in general is also less intrusive and more comfortable because you’re only wearing retainers, and nothing is attached to your teeth.