Invisalign vs. Braces: Pros and Cons To Match Orthodontic Treatments to Your Lifestyle

Orthodontic treatment has always been the ticket to a perfect smile. From correcting minor issues like mild crowding and single tooth misalignment to eliminating severe bite problems, countless people have improved their health, appearance, and self-confidence with the help of orthodontics. 

For the last 14 years, the team here at Beverly Hills Orthodontics has treated a lot of patients throughout the Los Angeles area. From our locations in Beverly Hills/Century City, Toluca Lake, Alhambra, and Downtown Los Angeles, the BHO team has been providing the greater Los Angeles area with top-notch orthodontic care since 2008.

We have consistently emphasized the importance of tailoring treatment plans to each patient’s preferences and lifestyle—then and now. As fellow LA residents, we know how hectic life can get around here, which is why we design orthodontic treatments to work around your schedule. A personalized treatment plan is especially important when discussing Invisalign vs. braces. 

During consultations, patients nearly always ask us how to choose between Invisalign and braces. As the two most popular orthodontic options today, the majority of our patients already understand how braces and Invisalign work, they just don’t know which option is right for them.

Truthfully, it’s impossible to say that one treatment is better than the other. Both options deliver great results and have their own strengths and weaknesses. The most important thing to consider is which option will work best for your lifestyle. 

If you’re considering orthodontic work, these “Invisalign vs. Braces: Pros and Cons” should help you determine which treatment is right for you:

Invisalign vs. Braces Pros and Cons

Invisalign vs. Braces: Visibility Levels

Aesthetics is a primary concern for many of our patients. After all, if you’re going to be wearing orthodontic appliances for 6 to 24 months, you’ll want to know how they will change your appearance. 

One of Invisalign’s biggest advantages is its inconspicuous look. Invisalign clear aligners are completely transparent: once patients put them in place, it’s difficult for others to tell they’re even there. If you want your appearance to remain relatively unchanged throughout treatment, Invisalign is likely the right choice for you. 

Compared to Invisalign, braces are much more obvious because they use wires and brackets to realign your smile. Although modern wires and brackets are smaller and more comfortable than those of the past, they won’t go unnoticed by others. Thankfully, many patients don’t mind the look of braces—some even take to social media to show them off! #smilegoals #loveyoursmile

For those who are less enthusiastic about the look of braces, ceramic and lingual braces provide a more discreet alternative to conventional metal wires and brackets. 

Invisalign Visibility Braces Visibility
Pros: Discreet, clear aligners provide a natural look during treatment. Modern braces are smaller and more attractive than those of the past, plus there are clear braces. 
Cons: With Anterior Attachments, trays become slightly less visible. Braces are still highly visible to others.

Invisalign vs. Braces: Personal Responsibility

Both Invisalign and braces require a certain amount of personal diligence to see results. However, these responsibilities differ greatly from one treatment option to the other. 

Invisalign patients need to wear aligners for 20-22 hours a day to achieve desired results. In general, patients should only remove them for eating, drinking, brushing, flossing, and physical activity. Aside from those instances, patients should always wear their aligners, or they risk losing progress. In certain cases, patients may need new trays or require additional procedures to put their treatment back on track.

Braces don’t require the same level of conscious daily commitment. By and large, patients with braces simply need to brush and floss 5 times a day —and avoid foods that could damage brackets/wires (e.g., hard or sticky foods, popcorn, etc.). Beyond that, the most important personal responsibility for patients with braces is to attend regular orthodontist appointments.

Invisalign Personal Responsibility Braces Personal Responsibility
Pros: Removable aligners make oral care easy and erase dietary restrictions. Braces are stuck on your teeth and can’t be removed.
Cons: Patients need to wear their aligners for around 20-22 hours a day to stay on plan and keep teeth moving. You need to brush your teeth 5x a day and floss at night, there is a significant amount of food you can’t eat, you have to maintain good oral hygiene, and brackets may break. 

Invisalign vs. Braces: Tooth Pressure and Discomfort

Invisalign and braces correct dental alignment problems by strategically exerting pressure on teeth. As such, patients of both will feel mild discomfort throughout their treatments. 

New Invisalign trays will cause a bit of discomfort for a few days. The discomfort is easily manageable and less acute than the pressure of braces, but it does last a bit longer and will return each time you progress to the next set of aligners—every 7 to 14 days. Moreover, every time you replace your aligner after removing it, you’ll feel the pressure resume. 

Braces can be uncomfortable in the immediate aftermath of a tightening appointment. Although the pressure isn’t painful, it is more uncomfortable than the pressure from Invisalign aligners. After a day or two, the pressure is usually gone until the next appointment. 

It’s also important to note that the brackets on braces can cause cheek, gum, and lip irritation. Because Invisalign trays are smoother than braces, they cause less overall discomfort.

Invisalign Tooth Pressure and Discomfort Braces Tooth Pressure and Discomfort
Pros: Invisalign’s smooth, clear aligners typically don't cause skin irritation. Tooth pressure from braces subsides more quickly than from Invisalign.
Cons: Can remove aligners when you feel discomfort which leads to lack of tooth movement.  Braces exert more powerful pressure than Invisalign, and the brackets may irritate patients’ cheeks, gums, and lips.

Have More Questions about Orthodontic Treatment? BHO Has Answers

Invisalign and braces are today’s most popular orthodontic treatments for a reason—they both work extremely well! Although they differ in terms of alignment methods, daily upkeep needs, and visibility, Invisalign and braces are both capable of correcting the vast majority of alignment problems. 

When seeking orthodontic treatment, it’s important to work with a practice that prioritizes your comfort and preferences. At Beverly Hills Orthodontics, founder Dr. Monica Madan emphasizes the value of the patient experience and crafts treatment plans that perfectly fit the unique needs of each individual. If you’re ready to begin your orthodontic journey, call Beverly Hills Orthodontics today to schedule a consultation and discover which treatment is right for you!

Invisalign vs. Veneers: What Is the Best Treatment for Malocclusion?

Although “malocclusion” may not be a term that you hear every day, chances are that you see malocclusion cases nearly every day. Also called “bad bites,” malocclusions are dental problems arising from improper alignment of the upper and lower dental arches. In other words, you know that you have a malocclusion if your teeth are crooked or if they don’t align when you close your mouth. 

Malocclusion cases are diverse and come in a variety of forms. Common malocclusion issues include:

Malocclusions occur for a variety of reasons as well. For example, genetics, early tooth loss, poor dental habits, and physical trauma/injuries can all cause malocclusions to occur and influence their severity. Consequently, malocclusion cases greatly differ from person to person, ranging from mild crowding to severe bite problems. 

No matter if you’re dealing with a mild or severe malocclusion, any alignment problem can take a toll on your health. Crowding, for instance, can cause people to feel socially anxious and complicate oral care routines. Bite issues can lead to chronic jaw pain and cause speech problems as well.

Thankfully, malocclusions can be corrected in a variety of ways. In the past, braces were the go-to option to correct malocclusions. However, patients today can choose from a variety of treatment routes, with two of the most popular options being Invisalign and veneers. 

In this article, we examine the “Invisalign vs. veneers” dynamic. Along the way, we review how each approach works, detail how they differ from one another, and explore which treatment is right for certain situations. If you’re looking to treat your malocclusion, here’s what you need to know:

Invisalign Vs. Veneers: An Orthodontic Vs. Cosmetic Approach to Oral Beauty

Although Invisalign and veneers are both used to improve one’s smile, they do so in very different ways.

Invisalign is an orthodontic treatment that rotates teeth, closes gaps, and repositions teeth into perfect alignment with one another. The Invisalign system accomplishes these feats with sets of custom-made clear aligners. 

Every Invisalign aligner set contains anywhere from 20 to 30 aligners. Patients wear each aligner for around 2 weeks before switching to the next one. Each aligner strategically applies pressure onto misaligned teeth to move them into the ideal locations. 

As Invisalign patients progress through their aligner sets, their smiles gradually become straighter and straighter. By the time a patient reaches the end of their set, their teeth are perfectly aligned.

Veneer treatment, on the other hand, is a cosmetic dentistry procedure—not an orthodontic procedure. Unlike Invisalign, veneer treatment doesn’t treat malocclusions by repositioning teeth. Instead, veneers are placed over crooked or misaligned teeth to make them appear straight. 

During veneer treatment, a cosmetic dentist:

  1. Creates a custom set of veneers that are to be placed over the patient’s teeth. The veneers are created using patient impressions, ensuring a natural look.
  2. Removes a small amount of enamel from the patient’s teeth to make room for the veneers. Enamel removal is a permanent process that forever changes the size of one’s teeth.
  3.  Cements the veneers onto the patient’s teeth to create a flawless smile appearance. The veneers are a permanent addition to the patient’s smile and require periodic replacements for life.

Now that we’ve seen how distinct Invisalign and veneers are, we can explore which one might be right for your needs.  

Invisalign Vs. Veneers: Which Approach is Right For You?

When used to correct malocclusions, Invisalign and veneer treatments offer different benefits. As such, they are ideal for different situations. 

Invisalign—like other orthodontic treatments—offer a permanent solution to malocclusions. 

Depending on how severe your malocclusion is, Invisalign can take anywhere from 6 - 24 months to complete. After that period, you will obtain a perfectly straight smile for life. Benefits of choosing Invisalign include:

Veneers also deliver a perfect smile appearance, but at a much quicker rate. While Invisalign takes up to two years to complete, cosmetic dentists can complete veneer procedures in just a few weeks. However, there are some drawbacks to choosing veneers over an orthodontic option like Invisalign.

As an aesthetic procedure, veneer treatment does not treat the root causes of malocclusions. Therefore, veneers do not provide some of the health benefits of orthodontic treatment (e.g. lower risk of chronic pain, improved speech, etc.). Veneer treatment also requires permanent enamel removal, which makes teeth weaker and more sensitive. To keep teeth healthy and functional, veneer patients will have to replace their veneers every few years. 

That said, there are a number of unique benefits to veneers, including:

For help deciding between Invisalign and veneers, see the table below for a summary of their different advantages and disadvantages.

Invisalign Veneers
Permanent, holistic treatment that corrects malocclusions Prosthetic solution that provides a flawless appearance but doesn’t actually alleviate malocclusions
Does not require future treatment beyond retainer services Requires periodic veneer replacements
Enhances oral functionality Weakens the teeth underneath the veneers
Helps alleviate the muscle strain associated with misaligned jaws Does not address medical issues associated with misalignment
Patients retain their natural smiles Requires permanent alteration of the natural tooth
Treatment typically takes 1-2 years to complete Treatment is complete in a matter of weeks

Have More Questions about Invisalign and Veneers? Contact Beverly Hills Orthodontics Today

Both Invisalign and veneers are capable of completely remaking one’s smile. However, the ways in which they do so are very different. 

If you are looking for a holistic treatment to correct your malocclusion, Invisalign is the right choice. As an orthodontic solution, Invisalign will physically eliminate your bite problems and crowding issues for a lifetime of healthier oral functionality. Veneers—while capable of creating a great smile appearance—do not correct malocclusions, thus only providing aesthetic benefits.

At Beverly Hills Orthodontics, we are recognized as one of the top Invisalign providers in the country. If you are interested in discussing your options, our team can speak with you about whether Invisalign or veneers will best suit your needs. Contact one of our four LA locations today to schedule an appointment. 

Teeth Shaving: Why Interproximal Reduction Is Part of Orthodontics

Smiles are unique. From person to person, the differences in how our teeth are shaped and spaced give us all a one-of-a-kind appearance. With these smiles, we are able to fully express ourselves, communicate with one another, eat, laugh, and lead fulfilling lives. 

At the same time, these differences also open the way for a wide variety of tooth alignment problems. From aesthetic issues like tooth gaps to health-affecting bite problems, smile problems are plentiful and often occur naturally. Fortunately, quality orthodontic care is easier to find now than ever before.

Thanks to hardware and technology advancements, modern orthodontic treatment is much more comfortable and effective than in decades past. For example:

With these tools, orthodontists are now able to more effectively treat all kinds of alignment problems. Of course, sometimes some extra steps are needed to treat patients with uniquely challenging alignments. Teeth shaving, for instance, is a common requirement for individuals with severe crowding issues. 

Also known as interproximal reduction (IPR), tooth stripping, or polishing, teeth shaving may sound intimidating at first, but in reality it is a quick, painless procedure that leads the way to major smile improvements. In this article, we take a close look at teeth shaving, focusing on how it works, why it’s performed, and when it becomes necessary for the patient. 

IPR 101: What Teeth Shaving Is and How It’s Performed

So, what exactly is IPR? 

Like the term “teeth shaving” implies, IPR is a simple procedure that entails systematically removing a small amount of enamel from the patient’s teeth. In general, the amount of enamel removed during IPR does not exceed 0.1mm and the procedure is completed in a matter of minutes. 

When performing IPR, orthodontists can use a few different methods to shave teeth. Techniques include using:

Each of these tools is capable of producing high-quality results. Orthodontists often decide which one to use simply based on personal preference. 

Why Orthodontists Shave Teeth

Now that you know how orthodontists shave teeth, you’re probably wondering why orthodontists shave teeth. Like many procedures in orthodontics, the answer varies based on patient treatment needs. 

One of the most common reasons that orthodontists perform IPR is to create more space in the patient’s mouth. Alignment issues like overcrowding and overjet are frequently caused by a discrepancy between the size of teeth and the size of the jaw. When teeth are too big for the jaw, they start to overlap. Similarly, if a patient loses a baby tooth too early, the other teeth move in to fill the space, resulting in a crowded, crooked appearance. 

In severe crowding cases, it can be difficult to find enough space to effectively use braces or Invisalign. With the help of IPR, orthodontists can create more space in between teeth in order to realign them. 

Beyond creating additional space, orthodontists use IPR to:

Frequently Asked Questions about Teeth Shaving

At Beverly Hills Orthodontics, we regularly use IPR to enhance the patient experience and make our treatment plans more effective. When we tell patients about IPR, we tend to hear some familiar questions. 

Here are three of the most frequently asked questions about teeth shaving as well as their answers:

FAQ #1: Is Teeth Shaving Painful?

Not at all! Although patients do regularly report small amounts of sensitivity during the procedure, sensitivity quickly dissipates afterward. 

FAQ #2: Do Orthodontic Patients Often Require IPR During Treatment?

Teeth shaving has been a part of orthodontics since the 1980s. While IPR is not necessary for most orthodontic patients, it can greatly benefit patients with severe crowding, especially those interested in Invisalign treatment. If you only have mild-to-moderate crowding/bite problems, IPR likely isn’t required.

FAQ #3: How Do I Know If I Require Teeth Shaving?

The only way to know if teeth shaving is necessary for orthodontic treatment is to visit a professional orthodontist. At Beverly Hills Orthodontics, for example, our team can quickly tell you if teeth shaving is necessary during your first consultation.

Searching for Top-Notch Orthodontic Care in the Greater Los Angeles Area? Beverly Hills Orthodontics Has You Covered 

For decades, teeth shaving has provided a way for orthodontists to more effectively correct severe alignment issues and eliminate bite problems. Although teeth shaving isn’t necessary in all orthodontic cases, it is a quick, pain-free procedure that can greatly benefit patients. At Beverly Hills Orthodontics, we use teeth shaving to ensure that our patients both have a comfortable treatment experience and end up with the healthiest, best-looking smile possible.

With locations in Beverly Hills/Century City, Toluca Lake, Alhambra, and Downtown Los Angeles, Beverly Hills Orthodontics is dedicated to providing top-notch care to the greater Los Angeles area. If you have been considering orthodontic treatment, contact one of our offices today to learn how BHO can improve your smile. 

How to Clean Invisalign Retainers/Aligners

At Beverly Hills Orthodontics, we know Invisalign. Since BHO was founded in 2008, we have been using Invisalign to correct a range of orthodontist issues throughout the greater Los Angeles area. From correcting minor misalignment to treating severe problems with hybrid methods, the team here at BHO is well-versed in creating Invisalign plans to create beautiful, healthy smiles. 

Of course, it’s essential that all Invisalign users practice basic oral hygiene for optimal results. That doesn’t just mean twice-daily brushing and flossing—Invisalign patients also need to clean their retainers/aligners on a daily basis.

Although patients switch out trays every few weeks during treatment, aligners constantly come into contact with a host of foreign materials, including:

Without regular aligner cleanings, these materials accumulate and contribute to plaque build-ups and a mounting threat of dental decay.

Fortunately, it only takes a small amount of effort to keep aligner trays in tip-top shape. In this blog post, we take a close look at how to clean Invisalign retainers/aligners and then answer some of the most frequently asked questions regarding proper Invisalign hygiene:

How to Clean Invisalign Retainers

To keep your mouth healthy throughout Invisalign treatment and stay on track with your treatment, it’s important to regularly clean your retainers/aligners. Thankfully, once you know how to clean Invisalign retainers, it’s easy to make it part of your daily routine.

Unless your trays are extraordinarily dirty, a simple nighttime rinse and brush are all that’s needed to keep retainers/aligners in good condition. Follow these steps to keep your aligners clean and free of debris:

  1. Run cool or lukewarm water from your sink faucet
  2. Hold the retainer/aligner in the water stream
  3. Take a mechanical or electrical toothbrush and gently scrub the inside and outside of the tray (it is preferable to use a new toothbrush that you don’t use on your teeth)

Once you have completed these steps, you can either place the aligners back in your mouth or you can soak them for a more thorough clean. Although daily soaking isn’t necessary, it is a good practice to soak your trays on a weekly basis to avoid plaque buildup. 

If you choose to soak your retainers/aligners, we recommend that you use one of these two soaking products:

As you may expect, the Invisalign cleaning system is Invisalign's official soaking product recommendation. However, the cleaning system is significantly more expensive than Polydent without delivering many additional benefits. If you want to save some money while keeping your trays clean, Polydent will work just fine. 

Now that we’ve reviewed how to clean Invisalign retainers, let’s take the time to answer some frequently asked questions about aligner upkeep.

Invisalign Hygiene FAQs

When patients begin Invisalign treatment, questions are to be expected. Beyond patient-specific topics like “How long will my treatment last?” and “Will I need a new retainer once treatment is over?” some of the most common questions we receive involve basic aligner upkeep. 

FAQ #1: What Can I Do to Keep My Aligners as Clean as Possible?

Aside from daily rinsing and weekly soaking, there are some additional best practices to keep aligners in top shape:

FAQ #2: What Should I Do About Calcium Deposits?

Notice a white film on your retainers/aligners? Chances are that film is either a calcium deposit or tartar buildup. And if you've tried to brush it away, you’ve likely noticed that it isn’t as easy to clean as it initially appears. 

Fortunately, calcium deposits are easy to remove with the help of a quick soak. Simply follow our soaking instructions above to eliminate your calcium deposit problem. 

FAQ #3: What Should I Avoid When Cleaning My Invisalign Retainers/Aligners?

Although it isn't difficult to clean Invisalign retainers, there are a few common mistakes that we see patients make when performing aligner care. To prevent damage to your aligners, make sure to follow these instructions:

By avoiding these common mistakes and closely adhering to BHO’s cleaning instructions, you can keep your retainers/aligners clean, clear, and plaque-free throughout treatment. 

Have More Invisalign Questions? Beverly Hills Orthodontics Has Answers

Recognized as one of the top Invisalign providers in the country, Beverly Hills Orthodontics offers Invisalign services to both teens and adults. Along with conventional braces and accelerated orthodontic treatments, Invisalign forms the backbone of BHO’s services.

With locations in Beverly Hills/Century City, Toluca Lake, Alhambra, and Downtown Los Angeles, Beverly Hills Orthodontics is here to help you improve your smile. Whether you want to know how to clean Invisalign retainers or what to expect from treatment, we’re always happy to answer any questions you may have. Contact us today to get started.

How to Fix Crowding Teeth and Get a Smile You Love

Dental crowding is one of the most common problems facing orthodontic patients today. Naturally occurring in 30-60% of the global population, dental crowding is a type of malocclusion (i.e. smile misalignment) that develops when your mouth doesn’t provide enough room for permanent teeth to grow in a straight manner. Without sufficient space, the teeth begin to rotate and overlap one another. 

The causes of dental crowding are diverse and often include multiple factors, ranging from genetics to how a patient’s permanent teeth replaced their baby teeth. Dental crowding cases range in severity:

Mild

Only one anterior tooth (i.e. an incisor or canine tooth) is slightly rotated

Moderate

2-3 anterior teeth overlap one another

Severe

Most or all anterior teeth overlap one another

Although dental crowding is not considered a disease, severe crowding can compromise oral health and increase the likelihood of developing conditions like:

Beyond the physical health implications, crowding teeth can damage your self-confidence and keep you from laughing, smiling, and feeling comfortable in social situations.

If you want to know how to fix crowding teeth, Beverly Hills Orthodontics has the answers you’re looking for. 

How to Fix Crowding Teeth: Mild Cases

Invisalign is ideal for treating mild cases of dental crowding. This is particularly true if you seek the care of an orthodontist. 

Approved by the FDA in 1998, Invisalign allows orthodontists to use clear aligners to effectuate tooth movement and reorient your smile. Each aligner is designed to move your teeth little by little over the course of one to two weeks or so. As you progress through treatment, the alignment of your teeth will gradually improve. By the time you finish treatment, your teeth will be perfectly straight and free from crowding.

Benefits of Invisalign:

  • Uses transparent aligners that are barely noticeable to others
  • Won’t cause gum irritation or soreness
  • Doesn’t complicate oral care
  • Doesn’t require dietary restrictions

How to Fix Crowding Teeth: Moderate Cases

In the past, Invisalign was only able to correct minor alignment problems. But advances in alignment technology have expanded the possibilities of Invisalign treatment and opened up opportunities to treat moderate crowding. Today, orthodontists can combine Invisalign with other orthodontic strategies to address even complex alignment issues.

If Invisalign is not the right treatment for you, fixed braces are an effective treatment option to fix moderate crowding problems.

How to Fix Crowding Teeth: Severe Cases

Most cases can be treated with Invisalign. Depending on the case, an orthodontist may offer clear aligners as part of a more extensive treatment plan which may include braces and other appliances. We call this “hybrid-treatment” where we do the majority of treatment with Invisalign and use auxiliary appliances for very efficient, specific movements often in conjunction with clear aligners. 

Severe crowding issues are naturally complex to treat and require a heavily personalized approach. In many cases, an orthodontist can correct the alignment issues with fixed braces, although some cases will require additional methods. If you have severe crowding, a complimentary consultation with Beverly Hills Orthodontics will reveal which course of action will provide the best outcome.  

Tired of Having Crowded Teeth? We’re Here to Help

Regardless of whether you have mild, moderate, or severe crowding, Beverly Hills Orthodontics can help you create a perfect smile. Since 2008, Dr. Monica Madan and the BHO team have been solving alignment problems with patient-friendly treatment options in a comfortable environment.  

As an Invisalign VIP Diamond Plus Provider, Beverly Hills Orthodontics is one of the top Invisalign providers in the country. But our expertise goes far beyond Invisalign. With our advanced training and experience, we offer a full range of orthodontic services and tailor treatment to your unique needs. Together, we’ll unlock the potential of your smile.

Safe Tooth Whitening: Ensuring Beautiful and Healthy Smiles

The market for teeth whitening has exploded in recent years. According to one study, in-office teeth whitening is now the most popular dental procedure in the United States, accounting for around 32% of in-office treatments. Beyond in-office whitening, modern supermarkets and drug stores are filled with over-the-counter whitening products such as strips, toothpastes, and mouthwashes. 

It’s easy to see why these procedures and products are so appealing. Having a bright smile can give you a boost of confidence, whether you’re preparing for a special event or want to look your best every day.

Of course, with so many teeth whitening treatments available today, it can be hard to know which one is right for you. Those new to whitening often have questions like:

To clear up any confusion, we spend this article looking at everything whitening. From in-office work to OTC products, read on to learn which safe tooth whitening approach will best meet your needs:

What Causes Tooth Discolorations 

Before delving into specific whitening treatments, it’s important to explore why teeth become discolored in the first place. While it is common knowledge that things like coffee and smoking will cause discolorations, not everyone knows the specifics behind why discolorations occur. 

Just like any part of the body, teeth undergo regular wear-and-tear over the years. Daily chewing and drinking, smoking, and physical activity can all take a major toll on how teeth look. Although regular cleanings at the dentist will keep your teeth healthy, pigmented foods, coffee/tea, and smoke can all cause lasting discolorations that survive cleanings. But why do discolorations occur? The answer lies in how teeth are structured. 

Teeth are made of four layers. Beginning with the outermost layer, these include:

  1. Enamel, the hard calcified tissue that protects the tooth from damage while eating
  2. Dentin, the porous calcified tissue that reinforces the enamel and supports the tooth’s structure
  3. Cementum, the hard connective tissue that covers tooth roots
  4. Pulp, the nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissue that makes up the center of the tooth

Enamel is naturally white while dentin is yellow. Dental discoloration occurs when:

Given all of the different factors that cause tooth discolorations, it’s easy to understand why it becomes increasingly difficult to maintain a white smile over time. Fortunately, there are a number of effective and safe tooth whitening treatments available that can correct discolored teeth and give you the bright white smile you want. 

Today’s Most Popular Tooth Whitening Treatments 

Tooth whitening treatments come in a variety of forms, many of which can be found in your local drug store or supermarket. Whitening strips, toothpastes, and rinses can easily be picked up without a prescription for immediate use. However, there can be drawbacks to over-the-counter products, including:

For quicker, more powerful results, professional in-office teeth bleaching is the better option. 

Available from a cosmetic dentist or a practice like Beverly Hills Orthodontics that offers whitening services, in-office bleaching is a quick and safe tooth whitening treatment that delivers great results within 24 hours. At BHO, our in-office bleaching services involve the following steps:

  1. Cleaning the patient’s teeth
  2. Applying a whitening gel to the teeth. This whitening gel contains much stronger whitening agents than OTC products, allowing for much better results
  3. Shining a UV light on the teeth for 20 minutes to accelerate the whitening process
  4. Reapplying the whitening gel for another 20 minutes of bleaching
  5. Reapplying the whitening gel again for a final round of bleaching

After treatment, you will see immediate results. Although these results will vary on a person-by-person basis, you can expect your teeth to be 5-10 shades lighter within 24 hours.

In addition to bleaching, many practices—including BHO—offer custom-made whitening trays for at-home use. The trays resemble Invisalign aligners and are worn for around 2-3 hours a day. After three weeks of use, most patients will see a significant improvement in the color of their smile. These trays can either be used alone or after in-office whitening treatment to maintain your results. 

Searching for Safe Tooth Whitening Treatments in LA? 

In-office treatment and at-home whitening kits are the two easiest and most effective ways to brighten up your smile. Simple, safe, and capable of brightening teeth by multiple shades, professional whitening treatment is one of the quickest ways to improve your smile. 

Here at Beverly Hills Orthodontics, we want all of our patients to have a smile that they love. That’s why we provide both professional in-office whitening and custom-made at-home whitening kits. Whether you want the instant results of in-office treatment or the convenience of trays, Dr. Madan and the BHO team will help you look and feel your best.

Understanding Orthodontics Vs. Cosmetic Dentistry

Between posting on social media, attending Zoom meetings, and speaking on FaceTime, we spend a lot of time looking at ourselves these days. 

In one sense, this level of self-familiarization can be a great thing. Consistently working to look your best online and in real life can lead to a more positive body image—a key component of good mental health. On the other hand, when people don’t feel comfortable with their appearance, it can have the opposite effect and lower overall happiness. 

To help people feel more confident in their appearance, dental and orthodontic practices have long provided services that:

Beginning in the 1980s, some of these treatments became grouped together under the umbrella term “cosmetic dentistry.” However, this term can be a bit confusing given that orthodontists also heavily focus on improving patient appearance via teeth straightening and smile reconstruction. As a result, some patients may be confused over whether an orthodontist or cosmetic dentist will best suit their needs. 

If you’re looking for clarification on the “orthodontics vs. cosmetic dentistry” dynamic, you’ve come to the right place. We’ll break down how these two specialties intersect and differ from one another.

So, What’s the Difference Between Orthodontists and Cosmetic Dentists?

At first glance, orthodontists and cosmetic dentists may appear to fulfill similar care roles. After all, they both work to improve patient smiles by fixing things like misaligned bites and damaged teeth. However, the ways in which orthodontists and cosmetic dentists provide treatment are very different. 

Orthodontics is a specialty of dentistry that is focused on treating teeth and jaw misalignments. Similar to how dermatologists are medical doctors who undergo extensive training to work with children, orthodontists are dentists who  attend 3 years of extra training as part of a “residency program” after the 4 years of dental school to learn how to diagnose, treat, and prevent jaw/teeth misalignment. They spend almost as much time in orthodontic training as they did in dental school. Orthodontists do not do fillings or cleanings etc, they specialize in straightening teeth and retention.

Accredited orthodontics programs are known to be extremely competitive, which is part of the reason why there are only 11,000 orthodontists currently practicing in the US as compared to 200,000 general dentists. Only 1-2 graduating dentists get into an orthodontic residency program per year per class.

Compared to orthodontics, cosmetic dentistry is a much broader field that requires no special credentials to practice. As a term, “cosmetic dentistry” refers to a range of treatments that any general dentist can provide to fix aesthetic issues related to one’s teeth, bite, and gums. Although some of these treatments do improve oral functionality, the main goal of cosmetic dentistry is to improve smile appearance—not to treat health problems.   

Orthodontic treatments, on the other hand, focus on improving oral health by correcting bite and jaw issues. As a result of treatment, the patient’s smile will look significantly better than it did before.

Orthodontics vs. Cosmetic Dentistry: Differences in Treatment Options and Goals

Although orthodontics and cosmetic dentistry are two different dental disciplines, they do intersect in a few ways. For instance, orthodontists and cosmetic dentists both offer treatments for crooked teeth. 

However, the ways in which they treat crooked teeth can be very different:

In addition to veneer treatment, many cosmetic dentists offer Invisalign as well. However, because cosmetic dentists lack the specialty training of orthodontists, they can only offer Invisalign to patients with very minor alignment issues. Minor alignment issues can very quickly turn into major alignment issues if not treated correctly the first time. Comparatively, an orthodontist can use Invisalign in conjunction with other specialty treatments to correct complex oral health issues. 

In this comparison, we can see the general “orthodontics vs cosmetic dentistry” dynamic at play. The orthodontist will create a comprehensive treatment plan to improve the patient’s oral health and oral beauty. Meanwhile, the cosmetic dentist will likely focus solely on improving appearance and may not be able to correct any alignment issues that go beyond aesthetics. 

That said, cosmetic dentistry is a valid treatment option for a number of smile problems. For example, cosmetic dentists are great at fixing issues like missing/damaged teeth and stained smiles. When it comes to smile alignment, however, you can’t beat the specialty knowledge and comprehensive treatment options provided by an orthodontist. 

If you’re trying to decide between visiting an orthodontist and cosmetic dentist to treat your crooked teeth, consider the comparison chart below for guidance on which treatment option may be right for you:

Invisalign/Braces Treatment from an Orthodontist 

Traditional Veneers from a Cosmetic Dentist

Permanent solution for crooked teeth

Prosthetic solution that will likely need to be replaced in the future

Increases smile functionality 

Non-permanent solution, often without increased function

Helps alleviate the muscle strain associated with misaligned jaws

Does not address medical issues associated with misalignment

Patients will retain their natural smile

Requires permanent alteration of the natural tooth

Treatment typically takes a few months 

Treatment takes a few weeks to complete

Ready to Permanently Fix Alignment Issues?

Cosmetic dentistry is a great treatment avenue if you want to treat aesthetic issues like damaged teeth or a discolored smile. However, there are significant limits to what a cosmetic dentist can do to treat a misaligned smile.

Orthodontic treatment offers a way to obtain a permanently straight smile without any compromises. At Beverly Hills Orthodontics, Dr. Monica Madan has been helping patients achieve perfect smiles on their own terms since 2008. Recognized as Diamond Plus Invisalign Provider, Dr. Madan and the BHO team work hand-in-hand with patients to transform smiles, improve health, and boost confidence.