It may not be a question of the ages, but if you’re looking into straightening your teeth, it’s an important one. Should you go with traditional braces or Invisalign? Braces have been around seemingly since the beginning of time, and while Invisalign is a relatively new product, it has been on the market for twenty years. There are pros and cons to both options and many things to consider before choosing the best way to straighten that smile. There’s a lot to cover, so let’s get started!
Traditional Braces vs. Invisalign
It’s important to note that if your teeth are severely out of alignment, metal braces may be your only choice. Obviously, a visit to your orthodontist is the only way to know for sure what orthodontic treatment you need. Metal Braces work by using brackets that are permanently glued to each tooth and are connected by a set of wires. The wires are then manipulated by your orthodontist to move your teeth into place over time. Invisalign uses alignment trays made from BPA-free plastic to gently move teeth into the correct positions. If you have the option to choose Invisalign vs braces, the deciding factor may come down to what fits best into your lifestyle.
One of the biggest differences between Invisalign vs braces is their appearance. When you think of braces, the first picture that comes to mind is those metal brackets glued to each tooth and connected by wires. Granted, traditional braces have come a long way. They now come in different colors and you can even change out the rubber bands to match the seasons or even your favorite sports teams! But there’s no getting around the fact that your mouth is full of metal, and everyone knows it. Now is that a big deal? Maybe not to all, but it can definitely make someone feel self-conscious about their smile. On the other hand, one of the main benefits of Invisalign trays is that they are made from clear plastic, making them virtually invisible. From a distance, people won’t even notice that you are wearing them. As far as appearance goes, Invisalign is the clear winner here.
Metal braces are permanently affixed to your teeth throughout the entire course of your orthodontic treatment. They are not removable. This non-removability makes patient compliance very easy. It also means that your teeth are getting the correction they need 24/7. Invisalign trays can be removed whenever the patient wants. Many people remove them when they brush and floss, and also when they eat. Are you the type of person who would forget to put them back in? Would you lose them? In order for them to work correctly, the alignment trays must be worn at least 22 hours a day. Compliance is often a challenge here, especially with children. If you think this might be an issue for you, traditional braces are probably the better option.
Wearing braces is never going to be the most comfortable experience you’ll ever have. The point of both braces and Invisalign are to move the teeth, so some soreness is part of the deal. People who wear traditional braces sometimes deal with poking wires and annoying bands, but after an initial adjustment period, most people forget they have them on. Invisalign may have a slight edge on comfort simply due to the lack of brackets and wires. You will still experience discomfort when you get a new set of aligners, but that is how the aligners work to move teeth. That’s why it’s so imperative to make sure to use them at least 22 hours per day. If you take them out of your mouth because they hurt, it won’t work.
If worn correctly, Invisalign treatment can correct moderate dental alignment issues more quickly than regular braces. Invisalign aligners have a treatment time of between 6 and 18 months, while traditional braces are usually worn for about two years. Invisalign often takes less time because of the way type of force created by the aligners. Regular braces move each tooth individually whereas the aligners are able to move teeth as a whole. However, if the trays are not worn properly, the overall treatment time is affected.
There is a long list of foods that you should not eat while wearing traditional braces. Anything that is hard, sticky, or requires a lot of chewing is off-limits. That means giving up lots of yummy things, such as nuts, pizza crusts, bagels, caramel, hard or chewy candy, and even ice for two years. Patients that choose Invisalign have no such constraints. Since the aligners are removable, you can simply take them out while you eat, brush your teeth, and put them back in. On a side note, being able to remove the trays also makes brushing and flossing easier.
This is the biggie, right? Everyone knows that orthodontic treatments can be expensive. The cost of attaining that beautiful smile varies greatly from person to person. Patients with more complex cases require longer treatment and therefore may be more expensive. Typically, the cost for regular braces runs anywhere from $1,700 – $6,000, whereas Invisalign treatment runs from $2,400 to $9,000. As you can see, traditional braces usually win when it comes to cost.
Which Is Better?
All in all, both Invisalign and braces do a great job and are effective in getting you the results you’re looking for. Both options require regular follow-up visits every four to six weeks. With Invisalign, changing out your aligners every two weeks is needed to straighten teeth, whereas regular braces need their wires tweaked about once per month. The important thing is to choose what is best for your lifestyle. Traditional braces are definitely effective. After all, there is evidence of traditional braces being used all the way back to ancient Egypt. But some patients may find using Invisalign might be more your speed if you’re interested in something less noticeable. In any case, be sure to visit your orthodontist if you decide to straighten your teeth. They give each patient a full dental checkup and are very experienced in deciding on the best course of treatment.
Whichever you get, both Invisalign and traditional braces will do wonders for your oral health. But it’s also important to remember to visit your regular dentist, as well. We would say it’s even more important to stay on top of your routine dental care when you’re dealing with any kind of aligners or braces. You don’t want any build up around your braces, and you don’t want to trap plaque and food particles in between your teeth with aligners.
If you live near the Twin Cities Metro area and greater Minnesota, make sure to contact us at Family & Cosmetic Gentle Dentistry to schedule your next appointment.