Looking to straighten your teeth? There are two main options that people typically choose: Braces or Invisalign. There are many pros and cons to both and we will discuss that in this article. In the end, it is really up to you which better fits your lifestyle and what you want.
What’s the deal with braces?
Braces can be metal or ceramic/clear brackets that are glued using a special tooth glue to your teeth. Then a wire is placed in the braces and held in place by colored rubber bands. Sometimes, depending on the type of braces, there could also be a small metal door that holds the wire in place. Then, every 6-8 weeks the wires are adjusted until the teeth are in the desired place. On average, braces are worn for 18-24 months, but this depends on the severity of the orthodontic issues.
What’s the deal with Invisalign?
Invisalign is the most popular clear aligner system. Although there are many others, Invisalign is the most well known and the most advanced. Invisalign is made of an FDA approved plastic. They are worn for 22 hours a day and each set is typically worn for 1-2 weeks depending on what your orthodontist or dentist recommends. The length of treatment, like braces, varies on the complexity of the orthodontic issues but can be as little as 6 months or up to 24 months.
Pros of Invisalign
They are clear in color
The plastic material that is used to make the Invisalign aligners is basically invisible! This is probably the biggest reason people choose Invisalign. It is a very discreet way to straighten your teeth.
Increase comfort vs braces
The clear Invisalign aligners are smooth and do not require any wires like traditional braces. This leads to a more comfortable fit and no issues with poking wires.
Invisalign being removable is both a pro and a con, but we will discuss the pros in this section. Due to Invisalign being removable, there are almost no food restrictions when undergoing treatment. It is also much easier to keep your teeth clean because you can brush and floss like you would normally!
Cons of Invisalign
Depending on where you go, sometimes Invisalign treatment can cost more than traditional braces.
As described above, there are pros to Invisalign being removable. However, there are certainly some serious cons. The biggest one being if you do not wear the aligners as prescribed, for 22 hours per day, the end results will be compromised and will not be achieved. So it is very important to understand and commit to wearing the aligners before starting any treatment.
Pros of Braces
Better for complex cases
Traditional braces are better for certain complex cases such as impacted teeth (teeth that are stuck in the bone and require a surgeon to assist with moving). While Invisalign has come a long way in terms of its ability to treat complex cases, there are still some that require traditional braces. Your orthodontist can assess and tell you what is best for you.
Braces are fixed to your teeth, so patient compliance in terms of getting the teeth to move is eliminated. There are other necessary things for people to do with braces, but overall the orthodontist has more control over the tooth movements.
Traditional braces can cost less than Invisalign, but this is again dependent on where you go.
Cons of Braces
Traditional braces, especially metal braces, are easily seen and very visible. While this might not be an issue for everyone, some people love the look of braces and their colors, some may want a more discreet approach to treatment.
Traditional braces make it more difficult to brush and floss. While in treatment, it is very important to make sure that oral hygiene is top notch! It takes longer to brush and floss when braces are on. However, if you do not keep up with maintaining clean teeth, you can develop white spots, cavities, and stains on your teeth that are permanent.
Traditional braces sometimes can cause discomfort after the wires are tightened. At times, the wires and brackets can also irritate your cheeks or poke your cheeks. Orthodontic was can be used to help alleviate these issues until you can get in to see your orthodontist.
Invisalign and traditional braces each have their own advantages and disadvantages. When deciding which is best for you, it is important to weigh out all the pros and cons. Since it is also case-dependent, your orthodontist can help guide you to which may be better for your situation. Whichever you end up choosing, a beautiful healthy smile is always the goal of orthodontic treatment!