It’s a difficult decision, you want to straighten your teeth but can’t decide which way to go when weighing the pros and cons of braces vs Invisalign.
You should do your research, ask questions and - with the help of your orthodontist - make an informed decision. The type of orthodontic treatment that is suitable for you also depends on the type of orthodontic problem you need to have corrected - Invisalign isn’t always the best option for some patients which is why getting expert advice from your Orthodontist is essential.
In this article we lay out many of the pros and cons of Invisalign and braces to help you make a more informed decision.
Braces are traditionally made of metal and attached to the outside of the teeth, although there are now different options for braces including ceramic and lingual (behind the teeth) braces. Metal wires and rubber bands are attached to the brackets to manipulate your teeth to correct orthodontic problems.
Invisalign treatment uses clear, plastic aligners. The aligners are customised for each patient by making a 3d scan of their mouth. Customised aligners are then made to move the teeth in small steps until the correct position is reached.
The Advantages of Invisalign
Here are some of the advantages of Invisalign:
Invisalign Looks Better
The biggest benefit of Invisalign is that the retainers are virtually invisible. Adult patients love that colleagues and clients can’t see they are undergoing orthodontic treatment. Self-conscious teens do too.
With Invisalign you don’t go through a period of people commenting on your new braces. You won’t be worried about your smile in photos - all you will see in photos is the progress of your ever-improving smile.
You Can Take the Aligners Out to Eat
Patients often ask us “do you have to wear Invisalign all the time?” For best results Invisalign needs to be worn for 20 - 22 hours each day, which means you can take your aligners out when you are eating. This means you don’t have to change what you eat or how you eat it. With braces people find some types of foods difficult or uncomfortable to eat.
It’s Easier to Brush and Floss Your Teeth
As well as when eating and drinking, you’ll also remove your Invisalign retainers to brush your teeth. With nothing on your teeth to worry about, you can continue brushing and flossing as you did previously.
Fewer Consultations Required
With Invisalign, much of the orthodontist’s work happens before you wear your aligners. A 3D scan of your teeth is used for making all the customised retainers in a laboratory. You should change the multiple sets of retainers on your orthodontist’s directions. There is no need to visit the orthodontics for adjustments so visits are kept to a minimum to check on progress. Few visits to the orthodontist means less time off work.
Comfortable to Wear
You may be wondering “are braces or invisalign more painful?” Moving teeth around with Invisalign can be uncomfortable and painful, much like traditional braces. However, there are also fewer mouth and gum problems with Invisalign. Invisalign retainers are made of a special plastic and fitted to each patients mouth, so - unlike braces - there are typically no cuts on the inside cheeks or salt washes to deal with.
There are several disadvantages of invisalign that you need to consider:
Patients Need to be Disciplined
Being able to remove your aligners is both a pro and a con. If you aren’t someone who is disciplined about putting your aligners back in your mouth after eating or brushing, you aren’t going to wear them the required 22 hours per day. Your treatment may not produce the best results if the aligners aren’t worn as long. The major reason for Invisalign treatment failing primarily relates to lack of patient compliance with wearing the aligners.
Taking your Aligners In and Out Can be Inconvenient
Aligners need to be removed before eating and drinking anything other than water. When you are out in public, you need to remove your aligners discreetly and not lose them. Before replacing your aligners, you need to brush your teeth. Food particles can stop your teeth from moving and can stain your aligners. You are also at increased risk of cavities and bad breath.
We are often asked “is it cheaper to get braces of Invisalign?” Due to advances in the 3D scanning technology and the flexible material involved in making the aligners, the cost of Invisalign can be similar to braces. Depending on the specific problem, some treatment is difficult if not impossible to achieve with Invisalign alone so your Orthodontist may discuss the possibility of finalising tooth positions with braces which could result in a more expensive treatment. Lingual (inside) braces are often compared to Invisalign because they both offer an almost invisible appearance. Like Invisalign, lingual braces are a fully custom option so they are more expensive than traditional braces.
Invisalign Effectiveness vs Braces
Invisalign is not always the best treatment method. It’s typically not recommended for more complex orthodontic cases. Before deciding on which treatment you should use, ask your orthodontist if you can expect the same result from all methods. This will allow you to make an informed decision on which type of treatment is right for you. An experienced and ethical orthodontist will advise you on the best treatment options for your own specific situation.
Some Invisalign patients require attachments to help the aligners grip and move teeth into place. You may need only a couple or you may need them on most teeth. While the button-like attachments are similar to the colour of your teeth, they can look like you’re wearing clear braces rather than aligners.
The Advantages of Braces
Traditional braces, or newer lingual braces, have a lot going for them. Some of the pros of braces are:
Suitable for All Treatments
With braces it doesn’t matter how difficult your case is. You may have multiple dental and facial issues that need correcting - braces can be used to fix each one so you finish treatment with an incredible smile. Braces use anchors and an arch wire to pull the teeth into place. They are the most powerful treatment method in moving teeth into a desired position.
Possible to Achieve a Perfect Result
Braces can achieve a better result than Invisalign. Braces have more force to move teeth into the desired position. Invisalign is limited in terms of how much teeth can be moved at a time.
Multiple Types of Braces to Choose From
Braces are not just the traditional metal brackets and wires. Patients now have the choice of lingual and ceramic braces to ensure the braces are less noticeable. So it’s possible to benefit from the power of braces without the metal look if that’s a concern for you.
Faster Treatment Time
One thing for you to keep in mind is: which is faster, braces or invisalign? Generally, when closing gaps and aligning teeth the treatment time can be faster with braces vs Invisalign. Speed of treatment can be a big factor as many people like to get their orthodontic treatment finished as fast as possible. The skill and experience of the specialist Orthodontist can also contribute to consistently faster treatment times.
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Of course, there are some drawbacks associated with braces:
Aesthetics of Braces
Some people don’t like the look of traditional braces. They are worried they will feel self conscious about their appearance in some social settings.
Brushing Your Teeth
Brushing and flossing your teeth is little more difficult with braces. If you don’t clean your teeth properly, you risk having plaque build up around the braces which can lead to staining and decay. Patients need to follow the instructions of their orthodontist on how to correctly brush and floss while your braces are on.
Diet and Food Preparation
Some care needs to be taken with the food and drink you consume with braces. Hard and sticky foods can cause the arch wire to break or a bracket to dislodge from a tooth. Once this happens, the braces won’t work until you have the breakage repaired. Multiple breakages can prolong your treatment time.
More regular visits to the orthodontist are required with braces to check on progress and have them adjusted. Around once per month your orthodontist will check how much your teeth have moved and make changes so they continue to move your teeth in the direction they need to go.
Invisalign patients visit the surgery roughly bi-monthly because their aligners have already been made and can be changed without the orthodontist.
Making the Right Decision on Your Treatment Method
There’s a lot to consider when you are weighing up the options of orthodontic treatment. Decide what pros or cons matter most to you to help make your decision easier. Most importantly, ask questions. Make sure you have all the information you need to make an informed decision.
If you have any queries or you would like a second opinion, make an appointment to see a qualified and highly experienced orthodontist by calling (08) 9381 2788 or contact us online