If you’ve got kids of your own, you probably remember braces as they used to be when you were young: wired, permanent, painful, and a sorry reminder you could no longer chew gum or eat popcorn.
Times have changed.
Today, kids (and adults) have it much easier thanks to Invisalign, clear and removable braces that are generally as effective as the wired variety.
“It depends on the dentist, of course, and his or her comfort using that particular tool,” says Dr. Karim Lalani, a dentist at the New Westminster location of Family Dental Centres. “But in most cases, Invisalign is just as effective as old braces.”
The difference is that Invisalign is a much more comfortable way to straighten your teeth. It also plays a therapeutic role, relaxing your muscles and preventing clenching. Best of all? There are no food restrictions since you take out the trays to eat.
Dr. Lalani likens it to a more comfortable mouth guard.
“People assume that you straighten your teeth for cosmetic reasons, but a lot of it is functional,” he says. “When teeth are in proper condition and they’re not crowded, the chewing function is more normal, there’s less gum recession, and your teeth aren’t taking in more than they need. It’s like a house with a good foundation.”
Invisalign has the same insurance coverage as regular braces and can be put in by either a dentist or an orthodontist.
“I’m trained in Invisalign and I’ve done a lot of orthodontic cases,” says Dr. Lalani. “But patients always have the option of seeing an orthodontist if they prefer.”
The process is straightforward. With an intraoral scanner, the dentists at Family Dental Centres are able to see how a patient’s bite looks immediately and painlessly. The scanner acts as a camera, providing an accurate simulation for the Invisalign trays.
“The technology is quite amazing right now,” says Dr. Lalani. “It’s way more comfortable than having to take those molds!”