Invisalign vs Braces?

New orthodontic patients always have questions and doubts about the right option for them when choosing to go in to for orthodontic treatment. Braces and Invisalign are important tools in the orthodontist’s hand. When used appropriately, both of these treatment methods can produce amazing results. The experience, expertise, and ability of the orthodontist play an important role, along with patient compliance in determining the success of orthodontic treatment.

Both are excellent options, so how do you determine which is best?

The orthodontist recommends options based on the type of correction required, the needs expressed by the patient—some people are very self-conscious about having a metallic smile and would prefer a less noticeable treatment—and budget. Let’s get into the pros and cons of both options so that you can work with your orthodontist to make an informed decision.

BRACES

These are bonded to the tooth surface. The brackets and arch wires exert pressure on the teeth constantly, resulting in tooth movement. Follow up is needed every four weeks to adjust the wires. They can be metal, ceramic, or incognito braces. Treatment duration is usually 12-24 months.

PROS

  • As they are fixed to the teeth, compliance is not an issue; there is nothing to be done on the patient’s part. The treatment is usually takes less time to attain desired results, since the orthodontist has more control on the tooth movement due of the brackets and wires.
  • Pretty much any oral issue can be corrected with braces. All kinds of malocclusions ranging from simple to complex types respond well with braces.
  • They are less expensive compared to Invisalign and budget-friendly, as most insurance companies will cover the cost or part of the cost.

CONS

  • The biggest issue with braces is that they are bulky and highly noticeable in the mouth. Their bulk also causes physical discomfort in the mouth until the patient gets used to having them.
  • Broken brackets and wires can cause irritation and ulceration of oral mucosa.
  • They are not removable by the patient. So, cleaning, brushing, and flossing takes time and if one is lax in maintaining oral hygiene as per instructions, tooth decay and bad odor from the mouth is a given, as the brackets tend to accumulate plaque and food debris.
  • Usually more discomfort is felt during treatment
  • Patient should avoid hard food such as hard pretzels or hard candies, to avoid breakage of appliances

INVISALIGN

The Invisalign process makes use of a series of computer-generated, clear, removable aligner trays that are worn by the patient to bring the malposed teeth into their correct positions. Each set of trays gently moves the teeth towards their correct position and is worn for approximately two weeks before moving on to the next set of aligners. Generally, the doctor will give you 2 sets at every appointment and you are responsible for changing them every two weeks. The treatment duration is approximately 12 to 24 months or more based on the type of issue and compliance.

PROS

  • Almost undetectable when worn.
  • Aligners are removable. So, there is no need to change any routine with respect to brushing, flossing, or eating.
  • The aligners are fabricated such that they have a smooth finish so that the chances of irritation or ulceration of the oral mucosa are nil to minimal.

CONS

  • They cannot be used to treat complex orthodontic problems like vertical movement of teeth, severe rotations, or significant bite issues. In some cases, fixed appliances are needed before Invisalign or after Invisalign treatment
  • They are a more expensive option due to expense of custom fabrication.
  • The treatment process may be longer than with fixed appliances due to the nature of tooth movement that naturally occurs with Invisalign and the multiple needs of refinement. Plus, if the trays are misplaced/broken/lost, they have to be re-fabricated in the Invisalign lab which further delays progress and increases cost.
  • Unless patient is compliant and wears them for almost 22 hours a day, the treatment is not very effective.

Keeping all these pros and cons in mind, it is best to take into consideration the orthodontist’s recommendations and your level of commitment. It is imperative that you seek the best orthodontic care provider in your area. A well experienced doctor, who cares about his patients and reputation, will ensure that you get the perfect smile using the right tools and methods.

Thinking braces might be for you? Read All About Braces.
Considering Invisalign? Read Invisalign Overview.

Ready to consult a professional? Call us today and let’s get started on your smilification!