Do you want to want to straighten your teeth, but aren’t sure which type of orthodontic treatment would be best? Despite many different brands and variations, there are essentially two types of treatment available today: metal braces and clear aligners. They both use the same general principle to move the positions of your teeth, but they have different requirements, and make a very different impact on your life.
Invisalign® is a popular choice, but requires a high level of patient compliance to be effective. Traditional braces can correct a wider range of misalignment problems, but who wants to wear braces when you can use removable clear aligners instead? The choice may seem simple, but there are several factors to consider when comparing these two options.
Requirements for Invisalign vs. Braces
If you are thinking about getting clear braces, it’s important to understand your potential candidacy. Invisalign works best on cases of mild-to-moderate malocclusion and crowding. If you have severe bite issues, such overbite, under bite, or cross bite, you may not be a good candidate for Invisalign. Traditional braces are the best choice for major bite problems and teeth that need to be shifted vertically or rotated. If your teeth fit together well when you bite down and simply need more space between them (or need gaps closed) Invisalign may be an option.
Another requirement for Invisalign is the fact that it should only be used if your teeth and jaw have finished growing. This means that children and younger teens may not qualify for this treatment, but only a dentist can make that call.
Braces and Invisalign: Expected Changes to Your Life
You should also be considering how metal braces and Invisalign can impact your life. Traditional braces will require some dietary changes, since very hard, crunchy, and chewy foods have the potential to damage the brackets and wires. Metal braces make daily oral hygiene more complicated, as well, since you cannot floss normally when wearing braces. Perhaps one of the most common complaints about metal braces, however, is the pain associated with the monthly tightening of wires. Every four weeks you must visit the dentist to have your wires tightened in order to advance your treatment. In the days following these visits, patients often experience significant sensitivity and have to take pain relievers to cope.
Invisalign affects your life a bit differently. There are no dietary changes, no changes to how you floss your teeth, and no monthly visits (only every six weeks). Best of all, patients report less pain when they receive a new set of aligners than patients who have their braces tightened. However, there is one big adjustment: you must get used to wearing your aligners for 20-22 hours per day. Unless you wear the aligners at all times, aside from meals and snacks, you won’t see positive results and you won’t adhere to your treatment plan. You must also get in the habit of brushing your teeth (and flossing) after every meal, snack, or beverage—but most patients report this is an easy change, with a bit of careful planning.
Perhaps the most significant change to your life is how you will look during treatment? If you are a professional adult whose job requires you to interact with your clientele, you probably don’t want to change how your smile looks to improve it. The best thing about Invisalign is the fact that any changes to your smile will be minimal—and will not provoke questions or stares from your peers. That can’t be said of stainless steel braces, which call attention to your mouth. This is why adult clear braces are a great option.
What Invisalign Offers (That Metal Braces Can’t)
Ultimately, there are four factors that make Invisalign a preferable treatment for patients with mild-to-moderate misalignment issues:
- Faster treatment: the average timeline for Invisalign is 12-18 months, whereas braces usually take 24 months.
- Versatile treatment: clear aligners are removable, which means you can take them out for photos, weddings, first dates, and business meetings.
- Discreet appearance: aligner treatments use clear acrylic, which doesn’t darken your smile or make you feel like a kid again.
- Fewer visits to the dentist: with Invisalign, you only need to check in with your dentist every six weeks, which means less time missing work or school.
The Benefits of Orthodontics
Regardless of which type of orthodontics you might choose, you should pat yourself on the back for wanting to straighten your smile in the first place. Orthodontic treatments help you maintain good oral health throughout your life. There may be a distinct cosmetic benefit to braces (who doesn’t want a more balanced smile?) but the health benefits are also significant, whether you are 16 or 60. Teeth that have the right amount of space between them are easier to keep clean; proper placement and bite alignment lets your teeth work together better to chew your food with less friction and damage. Whichever option you choose will be a great option in the end!
Visit our office for an orthodontic consultation. We can help you make the right choice for your lifestyle! Call Rod W. Gore, DDS at 480-585-6225 to learn more about Invisalign Scottsdale, AZ.