Braces, Invisalign, and More: Orthodontic Treatment Options in Falls Church

November 9, 2023

A radiant smile can be your ticket to newfound confidence and enduring first impressions. However, achieving that perfect alignment often requires a journey through the world of orthodontics—a journey that can lead to life-changing results. In the heart of Falls Church, Virginia, this path is well-traveled, with a myriad of options tailored to fit every age, lifestyle, and orthodontic need.

But what exactly does orthodontic treatment involve, and how do you navigate the choices available, from the traditional metal braces that have stood the test of time to the virtually invisible Invisalign aligners that have revolutionized dental correction? The decision is significant, and with each option offering its unique set of benefits, the road to a perfect smile is as individual as the patients who walk it.

In the following guide, we delve deep into the nuances of orthodontic care, presenting a comprehensive look at the treatments that are crafting smiles across Falls Church. 

Understanding Orthodontic Treatments

When considering orthodontic treatment in Falls Church, VA, it's crucial to understand the full scope of options available to you. Orthodontic treatments aim to correct a variety of dental issues such as crowding, overbites, underbites, crossbites, and gaps between teeth. These treatments adjust the positioning of teeth and guide proper jaw alignment, contributing to a more aesthetically pleasing appearance and functional bite. Moreover, they are a preventative measure against potential dental complications that may arise from leaving such conditions untreated.

Each smile is unique, and thus, orthodontic treatments are highly personalized. A skilled orthodontist in Falls Church will craft a treatment plan that considers several factors, including the patient's age, the complexity of the dental issues, lifestyle considerations, and the patient's oral hygiene habits. Before any treatment is initiated, a thorough examination, including X-rays or 3D imaging, is conducted to ensure that every aspect of the patient's needs is considered.

The benefits of orthodontic treatments extend beyond the obvious cosmetic improvements. Properly aligned teeth are easier to clean, reducing the risk of cavities and gum disease. An aligned bite also ensures that you can chew food effectively and avoid undue stress on your jaw muscles and joints, which can alleviate or prevent discomfort and pain in the temporomandibular joint (TMJ).

Traditional Braces: The Time-Tested Path to Straighter Teeth

When most people think of orthodontic treatment, traditional braces are often the first image that comes to mind. They are the most well-known and widely used method to correct a variety of orthodontic issues. With their time-tested effectiveness, traditional braces have evolved but continue to serve as a reliable option for patients seeking a straighter smile.

What Are Traditional Braces?

Traditional braces consist of three main components: brackets, wires, and bands. The brackets are attached to the front of each tooth and are connected by a wire. 

Tightening the wire in specific ways applies pressure to the teeth, gradually moving them into the desired position. Bands or elastic rings are used to secure the wire to the brackets and can often be customized with different colors for a personalized touch.

Types of Traditional Braces

  • Metal Braces: These are the most common type and are made of high-grade stainless steel. Modern metal braces are smaller and less noticeable than in the past, and they offer an economical and effective treatment option.
  • Ceramic Braces: Designed to blend in with the natural color of your teeth, ceramic braces offer a less visible alternative to metal braces. While they can be more aesthetically pleasing, they may require more attention to oral hygiene as they can stain without proper care.
  • Lingual Braces: These are similar to traditional braces but are placed on the backside of the teeth, making them invisible from the front. Lingual braces can be more challenging to clean and may not be suitable for severe cases.

Average Treatment Duration

The duration of treatment with traditional braces can vary depending on the individual's needs. On average, most patients wear braces for about 18 to 24 months, but more complex situations may require a longer period. Consistent follow-up visits to the orthodontist are essential for adjustments and monitoring progress.

Pros of Traditional Braces

  • Effectiveness: Traditional braces are incredibly effective for treating a wide range of orthodontic issues, including more complex or severe misalignments.
  • Durability: Made of strong materials, they are capable of withstanding most types of orthodontic situations.
  • Cost: Generally, traditional braces are more affordable than other orthodontic treatments like Invisalign.

Cons of Traditional Braces

  • Aesthetics: Metal braces are more visible than other orthodontic options, which can be a concern for image-conscious teens and adults.
  • Comfort: The brackets and wires can cause irritation to the inside of the mouth, especially when first applied or adjusted.
  • Dietary Restrictions: Patients must avoid certain foods that can damage the braces, such as hard candies, sticky foods, or very crunchy snacks.

Traditional braces have stood the test of time, offering a dependable and efficient path to improved oral health and a more symmetrical smile. While they may not be the stealthiest option on the market, their reliability and effectiveness in treating various dental concerns make them a cornerstone of orthodontic care in Falls Church, Virginia, and beyond.

Invisalign Clear Aligners: A Modern Approach to Orthodontics

Invisalign clear aligners represent a cutting-edge and discreet alternative to traditional braces, perfect for patients seeking a less noticeable orthodontic treatment. Since their inception, Invisalign has gained immense popularity due to their aesthetic appeal and convenience. Let's explore what Invisalign offers to residents of Falls Church, Virginia, who are considering straightening their teeth.

Overview of Invisalign Treatment

Invisalign involves wearing a series of custom-made, clear plastic aligners that fit snugly over the teeth. These aligners are crafted using 3D computer imaging technology, which allows orthodontists to plan the entire treatment from the initial position of the patient's teeth to the final desired position. Approximately every two weeks, patients switch to a new set of aligners, each slightly different from the last, to continue the process of gently moving the teeth.

Ideal Candidates for Invisalign

Invisalign is particularly suitable for teens and adults with mild to moderate orthodontic issues. While traditional braces might still be necessary for more complex cases, Invisalign can effectively address a wide array of concerns, including overcrowding, gaps, and certain bite irregularities. It's essential for candidates to be committed to wearing the aligners for the recommended 20 to 22 hours per day to achieve the best results.

Treatment Process with Invisalign

Customization: After a thorough assessment, your orthodontist takes impressions of your teeth, which are then used to create your personalized aligners.

Progression: Each set of aligners is worn for about two weeks before moving on to the next in the series, gradually moving your teeth toward their optimal positions.

Monitoring: Regular check-ups with your orthodontist are necessary to ensure treatment is progressing as planned. These visits are typically less frequent than with traditional braces.

Pros of Invisalign

  • Aesthetics: The clear aligners are virtually invisible, offering an esthetic advantage for patients concerned about the visibility of traditional braces.
  • Comfort: With no brackets or wires, Invisalign aligners are smooth and less likely to irritate the mouth.
  • Convenience: Aligners can be removed for eating, brushing, and flossing, making it easier to maintain good oral hygiene during treatment.
  • Predictability: Advanced 3D imaging allows patients and orthodontists to see the potential outcome of treatment before it begins.

Cons of Invisalign

  • Discipline Required: The success of Invisalign treatment relies heavily on the patient's commitment to wearing the aligners as directed.
  • Potentially Higher Cost: Invisalign can be more expensive than traditional braces, depending on the complexity of the case.
  • Not Suitable for All: Certain complex orthodontic issues may not be amenable to Invisalign treatment.

Invisalign aligners have modernized orthodontic treatment by offering an effective and virtually invisible method to achieve a straighter smile. For those in Falls Church, VA, looking for a less conspicuous orthodontic solution, Invisalign presents an appealing option that marries innovation with simplicity. It's a transformative journey that not only reshapes your smile but does so with your lifestyle in mind.

Other Orthodontic Appliances: Expanding Your Treatment Horizons

Orthodontic care extends beyond the realm of braces and Invisalign, offering a suite of specialized appliances designed to address a wide array of dental and skeletal discrepancies. These adjunctive tools can be integral to achieving optimal results, whether used in conjunction with traditional braces or as standalone treatments. Here's an insight into some of the other orthodontic appliances that might be part of a comprehensive treatment plan in Falls Church, Virginia.

Palatal Expanders

Used primarily in children and adolescents, palatal expanders widen the upper jaw to correct bite problems and make room for crowded teeth. This appliance is custom-made and fits over several upper teeth in the back of the mouth. It works by gradually widening the upper jaw when adjusted as directed by an orthodontist.


After the active phase of orthodontic treatment, retainers are essential for maintaining the new position of your teeth. They can be fixed or removable and are custom-fitted to the patient's mouth. Wearing a retainer as prescribed is crucial to prevent teeth from gradually shifting back towards their original position.

Custom Mouthguards

For patients engaged in sports, custom mouthguards provide protection for both the teeth and orthodontic appliances. They're particularly crucial for those wearing braces, as they can help prevent injury to the mouth and damage to the appliances.

Each of these appliances plays a specific role in the complex choreography of orthodontic treatment. Your orthodontist in Falls Church will recommend the most appropriate appliance based on the nuances of your orthodontic needs. It’s a tailored approach, with the aim to ensure that every phase of treatment contributes to the ultimate goal of achieving a functional and aesthetic smile.

Choosing the Right Orthodontist in Falls Church, VA

Embarking on orthodontic treatment is a significant decision, one that can influence not only your smile but also your overall dental health for years to come. It's a path best navigated with the support of a trusted and skilled orthodontist. In Falls Church, VA, where options abound, finding the right practitioner is about more than just convenience; it's about finding a partner in your orthodontic journey. Here's how to ensure you make the best choice for you or your family member's orthodontic needs.

Evaluate Their Treatment Options

A top-notch orthodontist should offer a range of treatment options and be well-versed in the latest advancements in orthodontic technology. This ensures that you'll receive care that's not just tailored to your needs but also utilizes the most up-to-date practices for effective results.

Assess Their Reputation and Reviews

Patient testimonials and reviews can provide insight into others' experiences with the orthodontist. Look for consistent patterns in feedback—these often paint the most accurate picture of what you can expect.

Check for a Welcoming and Professional Environment

Your treatment could span several months or even years, so it’s important that the practice offers a welcoming, clean, and professional environment. Consider the demeanor of the staff, the comfort of the waiting and treatment areas, and the overall atmosphere of the practice.

Ensure They Offer Comprehensive Care

A great orthodontist will look at the big picture of your oral health, not just the alignment of your teeth. They should be prepared to coordinate with other dental professionals to ensure that all aspects of your oral health are considered and addressed.

Look for Flexibility and Accessibility

Consider their office hours, the ease of scheduling appointments, and their policies for handling emergencies. Orthodontic treatment is a commitment, and you'll want a practice that can accommodate your schedule and needs.

Merrifield Orthodontics: Your Trusted Orthodontists in Falls Church, VA

As you explore your options, we invite you to consider Merrifield Orthodontics, your trusted orthodontists in Falls Church, VA. At Merrifield Orthodontics, we understand that each patient's smile is unique, and we are committed to providing personalized care. We offer a range of orthodontic treatments to patients of all ages, ensuring that whether you're a child, teen, or adult, you have access to the orthodontic care you deserve.

Choosing the right orthodontist is a crucial step towards achieving the smile you've always wanted. With Merrifield Orthodontics, you can trust that you're in good hands. Our team is dedicated to creating a comfortable, caring, and professional environment where your smile transformation can flourish. So schedule your first appointment today and get started with orthodontic treatment tailored to your needs.

Get in Touch!

(703) 573-0200

2843 Hartland Rd., Suite 100, Falls Church, VA 22043

New patient? Special offer here!
Chat with us
Welcome to Merrifield Orthodontics!
We are open and offering complimentary new patient consultations.
How can we help?
I'm considering treatment
I’m a patient and need assistance
Excellent, I can help!
Good news, We're are now offering both complimentary Virtual and In-Office Consultations
Let us know what you would like to do next:
I'd like to set up a virtual consultation
I'd like to set up an in-person consultation
I have a quick question - click to call Merrifield Orthodontics