If you are thinking about straightening your teeth you might be wondering if you should get fixed metal braces or clear aligners. In this post, we’ll take a closer look at the Invisalign vs braces debate so that you can make a better-informed choice.
For hundreds of years, fixed bracket and wire style appliances (traditional braces) were the only option available for correcting bite alignment issues and straightening teeth. Now, however, innovations in orthodontics such as Invisalign allow us more choice when it comes to selecting preferred treatments, but which is right for your smile?
Firstly, traditional braces
Traditional braces are permanently attached to the teeth using a series of brackets and arch-wiring and are worn for the duration of treatment. Because they have been in existence for several centuries they have been honed to perfection over time and the results are an oral appliance that can tackle pretty much any type of bite issue including crossbites, underbites, overbites and overcrowded teeth as well as correcting crooked or twisted teeth. Traditional braces can even help with excess teeth gaps like diastemas.
Yet, despite being more discreet than braces of old, traditional bracket and wire style braces remain visible in the mouth for the duration of your treatment. Of course, you can opt for ceramic braces with clear brackets and tooth-coloured wiring or lingual braces which attach to the back of the mouth but these are more specialised appliances. As a result, they are more costly to buy and, in the case of lingual braces, more expensive to fit.
Invisalign clear aligners
Invisalign are about as far removed from traditional braces as chalk is to cheese. So when it comes to Invisalign vs braces, there are several unique differences…
- Fixed vs removable – Rather than being fixed in the mouth for the duration of a treatment each Invisalign aligner is designed to be easily removed when eating and drinking
- One appliance vs multiple appliances – When it comes to braces vs Invisalign a patient will wear just one fixed brace for the duration of a treatment. Conversely, Invisalign treatment involves multiple aligners which are worn sequentially in the mouth for 1-2 weeks at a time.
- Virtually invisible vs non-invisible – As the name suggests Invisalign aligners are designed to be virtually invisible whereas metal style braces aren’t.
- Bracket and wire style vs aligner style – While traditional braces use brackets and arch-wire to straighten teeth, Invisalign aligners are worn over the teeth like a clear mouthguard and use sustained natural force to coax teeth into the right direction.
Invisalign vs braces treatments
While conventional fixed braces can help with pretty much every style of bite problem Invisalign aligners are better at dealing with some bite issues than others.
Usually, as long as the problem is mild to moderate then Invisalign can help.
Anything more than this and your dentist will advise you to opt for fixed braces vs Invisalign. Moreover, because Invisalign aligners are adept in correcting mild to moderate alignment issues, treatment timescales are typically less – 6-12 months as opposed to 18 -24 months.
Finally, another benefit of Invisalign vs braces is that fixed orthodontic appliances naturally contain sharp edges which can catch on the tongue and cheeks. Clear aligners, on the other hand, only contain moulded BPA-free plastic, so no sharp edges for better all-round comfort.
Invisalign vs braces – Which is better?
As you can see, both Invisalign clear aligners and fixed braces have their advantages and disadvantages so deciding which to choose should depend upon the following criteria:
- Cost – Unless you opt for specialised orthodontic braces like ceramic or lingual braces then Invisalign is usually the more expensive option for the equivalent treatment.
- Bite problem – The complexity of a bite problem could also dictate which braces option you choose. If you have a relatively complex bite issue, for example, then you will probably need to opt for fixed braces. Alternatively, if the problem is a simple-to-moderate cosmetic fix, then Invisalign may be both favourable and quicker
- Lifestyle choice – These days, many teens enjoy wearing fixed braces as it’s deemed a rite of passage. Fixed orthodontics can also be jazzed up using coloured bands to create a unique look for those who want to stand out from the crowd. Alternatively, Invisalign clear aligners may be the better option if you prefer a more inconspicuous treatment and don’t want people to know you’re wearing them.
- Ability to comply – When a patient wears fixed orthodontic appliances like metal braces they don’t have to think about them. Instead, they carry on straightening teeth 24/7. With Invisalign, however, compliance is key. To achieve the best results, clear aligners need to be kept in the mouth for around 22 hours a day. When a patient doesn’t comply with this rule it can set their treatment back considerably.
As you can see, there are many things to consider when thinking about Invisalign vs braces. Here at Beyond Dental Care we provide Invisalign clear aligner treatments and will work with you to help you make the right choice that suits your lifestyle, orthodontic problem and budget.
Why not call our experienced team on (07) 3067 9086 or book a consultation online.
Note: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.