When you go to an orthodontist to have your teeth straightened, two of your choices are braces and Invisalign. Traditional metal braces have been around for many decades. Invisalign is a system that uses clear, nearly-invisible, plastic aligners. Both systems shift the teeth over time until they are properly aligned. You end up with a perfect smile and straight teeth. Here’s a comparison of braces and Invisalign to help you make the decision between them.
If you have dental insurance that pays most of the cost for braces or Invisalign, the price might not be a factor in your decision. Invisalign generally costs more than traditional braces. This can depend on how many Invisalign trays you require to shift your teeth into place however. If cost is a factor in your decision, braces are likely to be the more affordable option.
Invisalign is nearly undetectable unless someone really tries to get a close look at your teeth. Metal braces are obviously much more noticeable. Braces no longer have the stigma attached to them that they used to for kids. Many children and teens enjoy picking out different colored bands to go with their braces, to express their own style. However, if you are an adult and a working professional who wants your oral adjustments to be discreet, Invisalign is the better choice.
Both options will be uncomfortable for the first few days. The systems apply pressure on the teeth to shift them, and it takes time to adjust to that pressure. Most people that have had both say that Invisalign exerts less pressure overall. The brackets on metal braces can also be a little more rough feeling to the lips, cheeks, and tongue. Another thing to keep in mind is that if you wear braces and play contact sports, you will have to wear a mouthguard to protect the braces and the inside of the mouth.
Braces stay on the teeth 24 hours a day, seven days a week. So long as you keep up with your appointments with your orthodontist to regularly adjust and tighten the braces, they will do their job of shifting your teeth.
Invisalign trays are supposed to be worn for at least 22 hours a day. They can be removed for meals and brushing, but then you have to remember to put the trays back on your teeth. Patients who forget to put their trays back in right away will experience a longer treatment time with Invisalign because the teeth will start to shift back to their original positions.
Here’s an important fact about Invisalign that patients need to know: The system may not work for patients who have seriously misaligned teeth or very bad bites. There are some patients for whom braces may be the only option for straightening their teeth.
Both systems have pros and cons when it comes to convenience. With braces, you never have to worry about taking them out, properly storing them, and putting them back in (as with Invisalign). With Invisalign, you don’t have to avoid your favorite foods and snacks, because the trays can be taken out for eating and brushing. Just remember to put the trays back in afterwards!
Keeping up with proper oral hygiene becomes even more important while using Invisalign or braces. Brushing the teeth can become a challenge due to the wire and brackets of braces. Your orthodontist can recommend specialized toothbrushes for accomplishing the job. With Invisalign, it’s important that you clean the trays every time you take them out for meals. They can be rinsed with warm water, cleaned with dish soap, or using a solution from Invisalign. This helps to prevent food or bacteria from building up in the trays.
If you’re interested in straightening your teeth, contact our office in Melbourne to schedule an appointment with Dr. Reddick.