Braces and Invisalign, A Comparison
The desire to straighten teeth without the general public noticing has created a huge debate about the benefits of using Invisalign vs braces. Braces and Invisalign essentially perform the same function: to straighten your teeth and improve oral health. Both use incremental movements to adjust teeth little by little over the period of six months to two years, depending on patient need. While both achieve the end goal of a straight smile, there are pros and cons to each option. Here we’ll go over some of the benefits and down sides to both alternatives.
Braces have been around for decades. Braces consist of metal brackets that are glued to your teeth and connected by wires and rubber bands. The brackets usually come in silver, but there is also the option of getting the brackets in a color closer to your enamel color to make them subtler. In addition, the rubber bands can come in different colors – you can choose anywhere from subtle silver (matching the brackets) to neon and glow in the dark. Braces are the better option for patients that have complex issues and sizable movement needed. In addition, braces are easy to clean and require little maintenance or thought once in place. Invisalign, comparatively, must be removed when eating or drinking anything except water and teeth must be brushed after every meal. Braces are not good for patients that play rough contact sports regularly. With any reconstructive process, some soreness is to be expected. Additionally, the feeling of the brackets against the inside of the mouth takes some getting used to.
Invisalign, on the other hand, was designed to be invisible. The trays are made with smooth, comfortable BPA-free plastic that is designed to lie flat over teeth. A 3D image of your mouth is created with x-rays and impressions and then used as a model to create the trays. These trays will subtly move your teeth over the course of six months to a year and a half. Invisalign is a great option for those that need less dramatic movement in their mouth and are self-conscious about wearing braces. However, Invisalign requires much more maintenance than braces. As previously mentioned, Invisalign must be removed before eating or drinking anything except water, teeth must be brushed after every meal, and the trays require special cleaning. Some settings (such as a school cafeteria) may not be conducive to these needs. The removable nature of Invisalign is not ideal for those that lack the discipline to keep the trays in for at least 22 hours a day or are prone to accidentally throwing the trays away, as often happens. Invisalign’s success is almost entirely dependent on the wearer.
Both braces and Invisalign are excellent options for moving teeth and improving oral health. Invisalign is a wonderful new alternative for moving your teeth without the aesthetic of braces, but comes with a few things to consider. The maintenance, amount of movement needed, and responsibility all need to be considered before deciding on Invisalign. And of course, make sure to consult a dentist before making any decisions about which route to go.
|Does well with complex movement||Best Used For||Better suited to simple, horizontal movement|
|Not good for patients competing regularly in contact sports||Not Ideal For||Not good for patients who have trouble committing to wearing the trays for at least 22 hours per day|
|Silver or enamel colored, with choice of colorful bands||Color||Clear|
|Low maintenance||Maintenance||Most be removed and cleaned before each meal; teeth must be brushed|
|Avoid sticky or hard foods||Food||All food can be eaten comfortably when trays are removed|