Newport Beach Alternative to Braces for Teens

Almost-Invisible Braces for Teens Newport Beach, CA

For over half a century, orthodontic movement of teeth has been done with some type of fixed orthodontic appliance. Originally, bands with a bracket to hold an archwire were cemented to each tooth. Kids with these appliances had the look of “railroad tracks’ on their teeth. In the ’70s, the ability to bond a bracket directly to the tooth did away with the cemented bands. “Brace face” replaced the look known as “railroad tracks”. The brackets were always made of metal until sometime in the 80’s when clear or white plastic and ceramic brackets were created to minimize the show of metal. Like the metal brackets before them, a metal archwire tied into the brackets was still needed to provide the force to move the teeth. The wire at least could be removed if you had a big event or knew you were going to have your picture taken. From a distance, the clear brackets might not be seen but at a normal social distance, where you would talk or shake hands, they were still pretty obvious.
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    What is Invisalign Teen®?

    Invisalign® straightens teeth using a series of clear, plastic aligners. For teeth to move from their current crooked position to where they are supposed to be, pressure must be applied. With braces, this is done using metal brackets with wires threaded between them. With Invisalign®, we apply pressure using a series of clear aligners that place specific amounts of pressure on specific teeth. When worn in a series, they put the right amount of pressure on the teeth to migrate the teeth to the correct position.

    Here are six things you should know about Invisalign® prior to visiting our office.

    1. The Era of Clear Aligners In 1997 we entered the era of clear aligners. These are clear plastic shells or trays that are designed to apply pressure to the teeth and create orthodontic movement. While there are orthodontic problems that braces can treat better than clear aligners, most patients can now achieve a dramatic improvement in the alignment of their teeth without braces. The original clear aligner system was made by Align Technology and is called Invisalign. There are several other companies that make clear orthodontic aligners but Invisalign was the first and still has the greatest share of the market.
    2. Advanatges of Clear Aligners. The obvious advantage of clear aligners is that even at a social distance, they are not visible. Most teens and close to 100% of adults find it unacceptable to wear braces for two years. It interferes with looking your best for social events and business meetings. It makes it difficult to eat most foods without carrying some of it around in your smile. They can be uncomfortable to the inside of your lips and cheek as well as the teeth themselves. There are other advantages, as well: They can be removed to eat, so eating is more comfortable and food does not get stuck in the orthodontic appliance. They can be removed to clean your teeth. Braces make brushing less effective and flossing much more difficult. They can be removed to get your teeth cleaned by the hygienist or examined by the dentist. They cover the biting surfaces of the teeth and therefore protect the teeth from clenching or grinding while the teeth are being aligned. They can be used to hold bleaching gel to whiten your teeth as they get straighter..
    3. Teeth stay cleaner. Since teeth are easier to keep clean when wearing Invisalign®, there is less of a chance of developing stains or even cavities. Consider this, when a person wears braces, food can become stuck all along the brackets and underneath the wires. These areas can be hotbeds for bacteria and plaque that can eat away at the teeth and lead to decay. In order to prevent this, special brushes need to be used on a daily basis so that the brackets themselves can stay relatively clean. Proper dental hygiene can be difficult for adults, let alone children or teens. This is one reason that Invisalign Teen® is an ideal treatment option. By removing the aligners while eating, there is nothing additional for food to get stuck on or for plaque to grow on. Since they come out to brush and floss, the process of oral hygiene is as convenient as it has always been. Invisalign Teen® makes a win-win for oral hygiene and for the aesthetics of the smile.
    4. Better for self-esteem. While braces are smaller in size than in the past, many people still associate stigma with wearing braces. When teens hear they will need to wear braces, many may feel insecure about looking different, become worried about standing out, and dislike the idea of going to school with a metal mouth. At Peter T. Smrecek Jr. DDS Inc., we get it. No matter how efficient of a job braces can accomplish, some teens may prefer an alternative due to feelings of insecurity or being self-conscious. As a parent, we encourage you not to force the issue since braces are a long-term commitment and if they are not happy on day one, it is unlikely that they will be happy a few months in the process. Instead, we recommend using Invisalign Teen®. Our Newport Beach dental office can provide a nearly invisible solution for teens that other people will have trouble noticing. The discreet function while wearing Invisalign Teen® allows them to smile every day without hiding their teeth. As the teen’s smile improves during the process, he or she will remain positive and notice the changes.

    6. Treatment time. We can let you know how long the treatment will last when you visit our dental office. Generally speaking, most teens need to wear their aligners for around eighteen months. The overall treatment time with Invisalign Teen® can vary on how often the teen removes the aligners. While a teen may only need to wear the aligners for 20 to 22 hours per day, if they remove the aligners for too long, they risk extending the treatment time. Wearing Invisalign Teen® takes commitment and care, but can provide a positive experience in comparison to other methods.
    7. Invisalign Teen® is more comfortable. At Peter T. Smrecek Jr. DDS Inc., we hear many of our patients mention how comfortable they are during the treatment process. Anytime teeth move, there is bound to be some level of soreness. Whether your teen wears metal braces or aligners, there will be some soreness following an adjustment or switching to a new aligner. A small amount of soreness during an adjustment is perfectly natural. The difference in comfort is more noticeable when one considers how everything feels on a regular basis. Since traditional braces involve metal brackets and wires, that metal can rub up against the cheeks and inside of the mouth, causing irritation. It is not uncommon for people to get sores or cuts in their mouth as a result. Naturally, this is inconvenient and entirely avoidable when wearing Invisalign Teen®. Since the aligners are clear plastic, they are smooth and will be unlikely to cut your teen’s mouth during treatment.

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    Straighten Teeth Without Braces

    How do I get started with Clear Aligners?

    If you live in the Newport Beach area, call 949-759-8606 to schedule a consultation with Smrecek Dentistry. We are located at 1401 Avocado Ave #806 Newport Beach, CA 92660.
    Definition of Invisalign® Terminology
    Aligner Trays
    With Invisalign® treatment, the patient will receive a series of aligner trays and swap out each one for the next one in the series every two weeks in order to gradually straighten the teeth.
    Blue Compliance Indicator (Invisalign® Teen)
    The blue compliance indicator is a small blue dot on the aligners that will fade from blue to clear in order to indicate if the patient is wearing the aligner for the proper amount of time and where the patient is in the Invisalign® process.
    ClinCheck® Software
    ClinCheck® software allows professionals to map out the straightening process the patient’s teeth will go through with Invisalign® in great detail.
    Blue Compliance Indicator (Invisalign® Teen)
    The blue compliance indicator is a small blue dot on the aligners that will fade from blue to clear in order to indicate if the patient is wearing the aligner for the proper amount of time and where the patient is in the Invisalign® process.
    Gum Line
    The gum line is the line in the mouth where the teeth and gums meet. If a patient struggles with gum recession, then the gum tissue around the teeth may begin to wear away.
    Incisal Ridges
    Incisal ridges are the portion of the crown of the tooth that makes up the incisal portion and can be a direct cause of overbite if they are extended too far.
    iTero Element® Scanner
    An iTero Element® scanner allows professionals to create a 3D image of the patient’s teeth in minutes and predict what it will take to move the teeth into proper alignment.
    Malocclusion is the condition in which the upper and lower teeth do not meet properly when the bite is closed. Conditions of malocclusion can include overbite, underbite, crossbite and open bite; all of which are treatable with Invisalign®.
    An overbite is a type of malocclusion that occurs when the upper teeth jut out over the lower teeth, covering them and causing other issues.
    Polyurethane Resin
    Polyurethane Resin is a USP Class VI medical grade, high molecular weight compound that makes up the Invisalign® aligners.
    SmartForce Attachments
    SmartForce attachments are small attachments that professionals place on the patient’s teeth before placing aligners to help move the teeth.
    Smart Track® Material
    Smart Track® material is in Invisalign® aligners to increase comfort, improve control of movement, increases the speed of treatment and applies a gentle force to the teeth over time.
    Smile-Scan analyzes the way a patient smiles by measuring the position of the mouth and eyes before giving a score.
    Vivera® Retainers
    Vivera® retainers are a type of retainer that consists of clear plastic material and helps to maintain orthodontic corrections after a treatment.
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