Invisalign versus Braces

145 Invisalign – Invisalign versus Braces (4 of 5)

When evaluating the use of traditional braces compared to Invisalign, patients often have questions regarding which solution is more effective and affordable. While there is no simple answer as to which solution is better, patients should consult their dentist and select the treatment which works with their lifestyle. Braces and Invisalign both require a significant commitment of time and are a financial investment. This article will review both solutions and discuss frequently asked questions.

Traditional braces and Invisalign were created with the goal of helping patients to improve their oral health, achieve straighter teeth, and a more attractive smile. Invisalign is a relatively new orthodontic treatment option which was first used in the early 2000’s.

With traditional braces, the dentist or orthodontist will glue metal brackets to the teeth. These brackets are then connected with thin, flexible wires and small rubber bands. Through recent enhancements, brackets are now available in various colors, making them less visible and obvious. If the patient is looking to make a statement or demonstrate their personality, various vibrant colors can also be used.

Invisalign, in comparison, uses clear plastic aligner trays. These trays are virtually invisible and are created from a smooth, BPA-free clear plastic. The patient will place the trays over the teeth for a snug fit. The trays gently adjust the teeth as needed. The dentist or orthodontist who is overseeing the treatment will obtain impressions, X-rays, and pictures. They will then create a precise 3-D image of the teeth. This image is used to configure the custom-made aligner trays for the individual patient.

Traditional braces and Invisalign are excellent solutions which are commonly used to straighten a patient’s teeth and improve their smile. Each option has specific advantages and disadvantages outlined in the chart below:

Traditional Braces
Silver metal
For an additional cost, additional colors and enamel are available
Thin, clear plastic
Worn consistently for 12-24 months on average
Aligners must be worn for at least 20-22 hours each day; treatment takes about 12 -18 months on average
The brackets and wires should be brushed each day; water picks can help to remove food and debris
Trays should be cleaned using a toothbrush and thoroughly rinsed each day; aligners must be removed for cleaning
As needed, patients will typically visit the dentist or orthodontist on a monthly basis
Aligner trays are changed about every 2 weeks, visits to the dentist will occur about every 4-6 weeks
A retainer or positioner is often necessary; this can sometimes be worn at night
A retainer or positioner is often necessary; this can sometimes be worn at night
* Effective in the treatment of severe and complex issues
* Braces are permanent; eliminating the risk not wearing or losing the trays
* Special cleaning is not required
* Nearly invisible
* Removable
* Food and debris are not easily caught
* Comfortable to wear
* Pain and discomfort are commonly caused by the wires, brackets or moving teeth
* More obvious to others and less discreet
* Can result in tooth discoloration
* Wires and brackets can break
* Braces cannot be removed which results in some dietary restrictions
* Tooth movement can cause some discomfort
* Patients must remove trays for eating and drinking
* Must brush teeth after eating and drinking to avoid staining
* Patients have the risk of losing the trays or may be tempted not wear them for the required time
* Patients who frequently play contact sports
Patients with the following:
* Bridgework
* Severe bite issues
* Unable to rotate canines or premolars
* Unable to move teeth vertically
* Those who are unable or unwilling to wear the trays for 22+ hours daily