Invisalign vs. Braces: Which Is Best for You?
Choose the right treatment option for you.
Your smile is a vital part of how you communicate with the world and—more importantly—how you view yourself. As a result, when you’re looking into getting orthodontic care, it’s natural to want the best option out there. Invisalign has become incredibly popular lately, with many people singing its praises. Despite this, traditional braces are still a common orthodontic treatment, which means they must have something to offer that Invisalign doesn’t, right?
With so many varying opinions on the internet, though, researching how these two orthodontic treatments compare can be a little tricky. That’s where we come in! We want you to find a treatment that fits you, giving you the results you need and want while making the treatment process itself as easy as possible. The first step is choosing your treatment method, so we’ve put together a guide on Invisalign and traditional metal braces to help you choose the right one for you.
What is Invisalign?
Invisalign is a cutting-edge orthodontic treatment that uses a series of clear aligners to straighten your teeth and give you a beautiful, even smile. These clear aligners are made of a special plastic that’s designed specifically for this job and are nearly invisible on your teeth. The aligners are also designed specifically for you, ensuring they fit comfortably and do the best job of delivering custom care for you.
This customized treatment plan is also a huge part of how Invisalign works. When you choose Invisalign, a treatment plan is mapped out for you, digitally planning how your aligners will move your teeth over time. A series of aligners is then made just for you using this plan and you’ll switch from one set of aligners to the next every week or two, depending on your treatment plan. Each set of aligners shifts your teeth a little more until your smile is straight and even.
Advantages of Invisalign
One of the most recognizable advantages of Invisalign is in its name: its near invisibility on your teeth. It’s this advantage that initially draws many people in because it makes the aligners incredibly discreet. You can undergo orthodontic treatment with Invisalign without anyone knowing, keeping your smile beautiful and professional throughout the entire process. Plus, the clear aligners allow you to benefit from your teeth straightening as it happens. While this is a huge benefit of Invisalign, it has so much more to offer that makes it an orthodontic treatment worth choosing!
Another main feature of Invisalign is the fact that it’s removable, which sets it apart from traditional braces by allowing you to eat anything you want throughout your treatment. If you don’t want to give up crunchy or sticky foods like popcorn or caramel, Invisalign is likely your answer!
All you have to do is pop out your aligners to eat. This also makes them incredibly convenient because tasks like brushing and flossing your teeth are just as easy as they were before. And while your aligners shouldn’t show up in photos or videos, you can still take them out for important events. Just make sure you wear them for at least 20 to 22 hours a day so they continue to straighten your teeth on schedule!
Invisalign’s schedule is also often accelerated, with treatment time averaging around 12 months. Your treatment time will depend on your case, so it could take less or more time. The best way to know for sure is to visit Dr. Naik for a consultation. No matter how long your treatment is expected to take, though, you’ll likely start seeing improvements within a few weeks! Plus, the clear plastic that makes Invisalign nearly invisible is smooth and designed for comfort, making the time you’ll spend wearing them much more enjoyable than traditional braces.
Disadvantages of Invisalign
Every treatment has its disadvantages, and Invisalign is no different; there are a few downsides that you should know about before you decide to go all in with the treatment. The biggest is that, while Invisalign can treat many of the same issues that traditional braces can, it can’t treat everything. More serious or complex orthodontic issues are often best treated by traditional braces.
This is why it’s always important to schedule a consultation with Dr. Naik before you make a final decision on what treatment you want, as she’ll be able to tell you whether you’re a good fit for Invisalign. Invisalign is very good at treating most mild to moderate orthodontic issues, however, so the treatment works for many people.
Other disadvantages of Invisalign are drawbacks of some of their many positives. The aligners stain easily, so they require a certain level of care to ensure they stay clear long term. This means you must take them out before you eat, brush your teeth after meals before you put them back in, and clean the aligners themselves every day. The aligners also scratch and warp easily from hot water, so you’ll need to follow cleaning instructions carefully to ensure they don’t get damaged.
Additionally, since they’re removable and relatively small, the aligners are prone to getting lost. Thankfully, losing them isn’t the end of the world. If you were about to switch to new aligners anyway, you may be able to just switch to the next set a little early. If you weren’t, though, you’ll likely need to go back to the last pair of aligners you wore while a replacement set is made, which can add time and cost to your treatment. As a result, it’s important to make sure you always know where your aligners are when you’re not wearing them!
What are braces?
Braces are a traditional teeth-straightening method that uses metal brackets secured to the teeth and connected wires and rubber bands to straighten crooked teeth and uneven bites. Just like clear aligners, braces do this by exerting gradually increasing pressure on your teeth in a specific, planned way over time; metal braces just exert this gentle pressure differently!
Unlike aligners, which are switched out regularly, once braces are secured on your teeth, they’re there to stay until the end of your treatment. Your orthodontist influences the way your braces shift your teeth by adjusting them every few weeks, though how often they’ll do this depends on your treatment plan.
Advantages of Braces
Metal braces have been in use for a long time, and we’re still using them because they have their own unique benefits to offer. Their biggest benefit is the flexibility and power they provide. Braces can easily resolve mild orthodontic issues, but they’re just as reliable for treating serious and complex ones.
This is partially because they’re capable of exerting more force against your teeth, gently using this increased power to treat more severe orthodontic issues with better results. No matter what orthodontic issue you’re facing, braces can likely help you resolve it! This means braces are an option for nearly everyone, making them an incredibly common and accessible treatment.
Plus, since braces are fixed in place, you don’t have to worry about losing them and needing to replace them at the last minute like you might with clear aligners. If you’re prone to losing things or just don’t like the sound of needing to remove and replace aligners throughout the day, then the unmoving nature of braces might be preferable for you.
As long as you follow care instructions for your braces, they’re also very durable because they’re designed to withstand daily wear and tear throughout the length of your treatment.
Disadvantages of Braces
For many people, the biggest disadvantage of metal braces is also the most obvious one: their appearance. In direct contrast to Invisalign aligners, metal braces stand out on your teeth, becoming a feature of your smile. The metal wires and brackets can also be uncomfortable and often need to be coated in a special wax to prevent them from cutting or scraping the sensitive tissues inside your mouth.
Additionally, while braces are durable, certain foods do run the risk of damaging them. Since you can’t take them out to eat, this means you’ll need to avoid eating crunchy or sticky foods for the duration of your treatment. Tasks like oral hygiene are also harder, as you need to take special care to brush and floss around and in between the brackets and wires of your braces.
If you neglect your oral hygiene while you wear braces, you can end up with permanent stains on your teeth where the brackets once were, which is far from ideal! So although it’s more difficult with braces, practicing great oral hygiene is more important than ever during your treatment process.
Generally, braces involve longer treatment times than Invisalign, averaging out at 24 months. That said, this is an average based on a wide range of treatment needs. More complex treatments could take as long as three years, but minor cases might take as little as 12 months. Just like with Invisalign, the best way of knowing how long your treatment will last is to schedule a consultation with Dr. Naik. Once she has evaluated your teeth, she can give you a good idea about how long your treatment will take.
Who should get braces, and who should get Invisalign?
Invisalign and traditional metal braces are both reliable orthodontic treatments, so which one is best for you often comes down to a mix between your treatment needs and your personal preferences. If you qualify for both treatments, Invisalign can provide identical results to those of braces, but it usually does so faster, more comfortably, and more discreetly. If you have more severe orthodontic issues, however, braces are likely the best option.
They’re simply more flexible and powerful, tackling bigger issues than Invisalign can with relative ease. You may also prefer braces if you don’t want to worry about potentially losing and replacing aligners. How do you know which option is best for you, though? The best way to know is to schedule an appointment with Dr. Naik. During your consultation, she can evaluate your bite, get a good idea of your treatment needs, and recommend a treatment option for you.
When you’re choosing between Invisalign and braces, there are a lot of factors to consider, but you don’t have to figure it out alone! If you’d like to learn more about these treatments and which is right for you, feel free to schedule an appointment with Dr. Naik at any time.