One of the most common questions we hear is whether Invisalign or braces are the best choice. While the two treatments have many similarities, there are also some key differences that your orthodontist will discuss with you. More serious orthodontic issues might require braces rather than Invisalign, for example. Here’s a look at some of the key differences between braces and Invisalign.
Comfort and Appearance
Most people find that Invisalign is more comfortable and less obvious than braces. The clear plastic aligners are nearly invisible, hence the name. The aligners can be taken out for meals, teeth brushing, and flossing. A patient with braces has to work around them in order to brush and floss. Research conducted by BMC Oral Health found that patients with braces are more likely to experience gum irritation or gingival problems than patients with Invisalign. This makes sense, since brushing and flossing are more difficult.
Length of Treatment
The average amount of time for treatment with braces is about 18 to 24 months. In some cases, patients might have to wear braces longer than two years to achieve the desired effect. With Invisalign, the average length of treatment time is 12 to 18 months. The reason for this difference is that the most complex cases are most often treated with braces while the simpler cases are more often treated with Invisalign. The option that would be the quickest for a particular individual depends on what types of problems are present and it could be Invisalign or braces. Neither would be considered the fastest all of the time.
We realize that cost is often a big factor for patients when weighing the difference between Invisalign and braces. In general, Invisalign treatment tends to be a little more than braces in our office, but this is not the case everywhere. We don’t charge a set fee for braces or Invisalign here at Melbourne Orthodontics, because every patient and their duration of treatment is unique. Many of our patients take advantage of zero-interest financing over the course of their treatment. We also accept most major credit cards and insurance. For those who opt to pay for their full course of treatment upfront, we offer a 5 percent discount.
You will have some very specific dietary guidelines that need to be followed when wearing braces. In general, foods that are hard or sticky should be avoided. Sugary foods should be limited, due to the difficulty in brushing and flossing. There is a greater risk of developing cavities with braces, so oral hygiene remains extremely important.
With Invisalign, there is not much of a need to change your diet. There are no foods that you need to avoid completely because you’ll be taking the aligners out during meals. As usual, it’s best to limit sugary foods because of the risk of cavities. If hygiene is poor, there can be just as serious consequences with Invisalign as there are with braces. Plaque can stay trapped under the aligners throughout the day and night and cause significant damage.
Invisalign is usually the more convenient option for patients. As mentioned above, the clear aligners can be taken out about two hours per day for eating meals, brushing teeth and flossing. The fact that they are nearly invisible also makes them a preferred choice for many adult patients who have already started their careers. No one has to know that they are receiving orthodontic treatment to correct their smile, which offers advantages to people in certain professions like sales.
Another facet of convenience that is rarely considered is the matter of compliance. Braces are attached to the teeth, so they are always working. Patients have to remember to put their aligners back in after eating and brushing and this is considered “inconvenient” to some people, so this is sometimes the reason patients choose braces over Invisalign.
Receiving Braces vs. Invisalign
The braces process starts with diagnostic records which include photos, x-rays, and digital impressions, which your Melbourne orthodontist uses to develop the best plan of attack for adjusting your teeth. Brackets and metal wires are then attached to your teeth. The brackets will stay in place for the duration of your treatment, and you will come in for adjustments on a schedule set by your orthodontist.
With Invisalign, the process starts with the same set of diagnostic records that are used to come up with a treatment plan. The digital impressions are used to create the clear aligners through 3D modeling. Your aligners will arrive at the office and we will bond tooth colored attachments to some of your teeth soon after. You will be given a set number of aligners and be brought back after they are each worn for the recommended duration. Each set is usually worn for two weeks to adjust your teeth before swapping it out for the next set in sequence, although this amount of time can vary.