Straightening your teeth not only gives you a beautiful smile but also improves your overall oral health. It corrects your bite and ensures your jaws are aligned. Straight teeth are also easier to clean, minimizing bacterial growth and cavities.
When you’re considering orthodontics to straighten your teeth, you have two options—getting braces or an Invisalign. The best orthodontic treatment for you will depend on several factors.
This is the most significant difference between Invisalign and braces. Braces use metal aligners, making them more noticeable. On the other hand, Invisalign aligners are made from transparent plastic material that’s virtually undetectable.
Some people like to pick out different colored bands when adjusting their metal braces. For others, they prefer the ‘invisible’ appearance of Invisalign.
2. Treatment Duration
The treatment period will depend on your specific case. On average, Invisalign is a lot faster than braces. Unlike metal braces that ensure individual tooth movement, Invisalign aligners offer all-around force on your teeth. This can provide a speedier movement of your teeth in place, resulting in faster treatment.
Milder cases of crooked teeth only require six months with Invisalign, but most cases are completed between 12-18 months compared to metal braces that go for 12-36 months.
In terms of effectiveness, braces win, which is why it has been the standard for straightening teeth for years. Braces aren’t removable and the patient will have to wear them 24/7. Meanwhile, Invisalign is removable, resulting in patients not complying with the suggested time of use for effectiveness and lengthening the total time it takes to finish the treatment.
In addition, traditional braces are more effective for cases where the teeth are severely misaligned. It can straighten teeth that are overlapping or rotated, something that Invisalign can’t fix.
4. Pain Level
Forcing your teeth to shift in alignment isn’t the most comfortable experience. Whether you’re wearing Invisalign or braces, the process of straightening your teeth is painful.
With that said, Invisalign is considered less painful than traditional metal braces since it applies less pressure to your teeth. On the other hand, braces make it difficult to talk or even eat after application and adjustments. But it should go away in just a few days. Take note that braces may have sharp edges that can cut your tongue or inner lip.
In general, people get used to either Invisalign or braces and find that they can be comfortable in the long term.
Braces are convenient since you don’t have to remove them when eating. Unfortunately, it prevents you from having certain foods, which can be annoying.
On the other hand, Invisalign allows you to eat any food, but always remembering to take out your aligners and storing them can be inconvenient, especially during social situations. You’ll need to excuse yourself to remove your Invisalign aligners before eating and then putting them back on after.
6. Care And Cleaning
The cleaning process is more straightforward with braces. You simply need to brush and floss as you usually would. However, the metal braces mean more hidden space for food to get stuck into, causing bacterial growth. Fortunately, there are smaller brushes you can use to clean the hard-to-reach areas.
With Invisalign, you’ll have to remove your aligner and brush and floss the same. However, the added effort of cleaning your aligners can be annoying. Every time you eat, you need to clean trays with warm water or a special Invisalign cleaning solution. Cleaning your Invisalign trays can be a hassle, particularly if you’re on a trip or away from home.
7. Follow-Ups And Post-Treatment Care
Regular follow-up treatments are recommended whether you have Invisalign or braces. For braces, you need to visit your dentist every month for adjustments. For Invisalign, you can see your dentist every four to six weeks.
Both braces and Invisalign will require post-treatment oral wear to ensure that your teeth stay in position. For braces, you’ll wear retainers, and Invisalign requires you to wear a tray. In general, both preventive oral solutions are required to be worn every night.
For most people, price is the major factor when deciding whether to choose Invisalign or braces.
In general, traditional braces are more affordable, ranging from USD$2,500-8,000. The cost of Invisalign will depend on how many trays are needed, which depends on the severity and needed changes in your teeth. It can cost anywhere from USD$3,500-8,000.
If you have dental insurance, find out if they offer partial or full coverage of the cost of Invisalign or braces. You also need to talk to your orthodontist about the price, depending on your case, before deciding.
The debate on which is better for straightening teeth—braces or Invisalign—all comes down to your personal choice. To make the best decision and get that perfect smile, you need to weigh the factors above and consult your orthodontist on the better option for your case.