Invisalign® clear aligners have increased in popularity over the years thanks to their discreet appearance and easily managed treatment plans. But how do they stack up against tried-and-true metal braces? Our Washington Invisalign dentist sees merit in both, but there are differences that can’t be ignored.
Here’s how Invisalign compares to traditional braces.
It may seem, based on how each treatment option looks, that there are only differences between Invisalign aligners and braces. However, a few key similarities emerge when the two are directly compared.
One such similarity centers around the overall purpose. Patients wanting to correct teeth positioning and bite alignment are the target audience for both forms of treatment. Moreover, Invisalign and braces are approved by the FDA as solutions for malocclusion (abnormal alignment). Either will straighten your smile and deliver beautiful results.
Traditional braces and Invisalign also generally work in the same way. Both orthodontic options apply controlled force to teeth so they are moved into the proper position. While braces use metal brackets and wires to do this, clear aligners are custom-fit and tight enough to accomplish a similar effect on your smile.
For the most part, any teen or adult who is interested in pursuing Invisalign can do so. The main exception to this relates to a patient’s specific dental needs. How misaligned the bite is, how crowded the teeth are, and the presence of jaw issues all influence whether Invisalign is the most appropriate treatment option.
If your individual case is severe enough, Dr. Lesinski will recommend that you receive metal braces instead. Certain orthodontic issues that may complicate clear aligner treatment include:
On the other hand, if your dental situation is mild to moderate, clear aligners will get the job done just fine. Teens and adults are welcome to choose Invisalign for their smile if they’re looking for a discreet alternative to metal braces.
It should be noted that because children often have a mix of baby and adult teeth when orthodontic treatment is being considered, an orthodontist referral may be needed before Invisalign is chosen.
Every patient is different and requires a personalized approach. Because of this, the length of treatment may vary from person to person. For the easiest comparison, let’s look at averages.
Most patients with Invisalign finished treatment in 12-16 months whereas those with braces had them on for 1-3 years. These numbers can change and may not reflect your exact situation. The more there is to correct, the longer it will take.
In terms of a treatment plan, each aligner set in a series does need to be worn for 20-22 hours a day and can only be removed for eating and oral hygiene. Braces of course can’t come off until treatment is complete, thus eliminating any temptation to take them out more than necessary.
When you have braces, you have to choose your foods carefully or you risk damaging the metal components. That means staying away from popcorn, corn on the cob, and sticky or crunchy candy. With Invisalign, this problem doesn’t exist as the aligners are removable.
One caveat that does apply to clear aligners and not to braces is their ability to stain. Your aligners must be gently brushed after every meal. If they’re not, bacteria will accumulate and stains will ruin their nearly invisible effect. Permanent braces should also be cleaned regularly as food debris can become trapped underneath wires.
Whether you have braces or Invisalign, Dr. Lesinski does recommend keeping up with your oral hygiene. Brush your teeth at least twice a day, floss once daily, and visit our Washington dental office for a teeth cleaning every 6 months.
Have you always wanted to change how your teeth look but have shied away from more traditional forms of orthodontic treatment? Our Invisalign dentist in Washington, MI, can evaluate your smile, determine your needs, and get you started with clear aligners. Contact us online today or call Washington Family Dental at (586) 752-4545 to schedule an appointment.