Orthodontics 101: Invisalign Vs. BracesWhether as an adolescent or an adult, the decision to have your teeth straightened will affect your quality of life for a while. You may wonder which one would be better for you. Your orthodontist can help determine which is better for you but your personal preference is paramount for the decision. Consider the following differences between the two.
Invisalign came out in the market in 2000. It hasn’t been around for as long as braces have, but has records of successful treatments since its use. It is made of smooth BPA-free clear plastic that is meant to be worn over your teeth and gently move them. Using pictures, X-rays, and impressions, your specialist will create a precise 3D image of your teeth to configure your aligner trays to straighten them out.
Are clear and meant to be “invisible”. It is good for people who are conscious about their image. It is removable, allowing patients to take out their device during meals or when brushing teeth, giving them some freedom and relief. There are less follow-up visits than braces (4-6 weeks) You take them out while eating so food doesn’t get stuck in them. They are very smooth and comfortable. You won’t get scratches from wires.
Though removable, Invisalign should be kept for at least 22 hours a day to be effective. It isn’t suitable for those who have little discipline to keep them on. Invisalign is expensive, with average costs of about $5,000. You must remove them before eating or drinking anything that isn’t water. You have to brush your teeth after eating before putting them back on to avoid staining. There may be discomfort from tooth movement.
Braces are made of metal brackets which are then glued to your teeth and tied together by wires and mini rubber bands. You can choose the color of the rubber bands to make a fashion statement, or get brackets which closely resemble the color of your teeth enamel to make them more discreet. Some braces are made of ceramic to make them less noticeable but can still be seen by close-by observers.
Can be made to match your enamel color, making it less visible. Are more suitable for difficult cases and can fix problems that Invisalign can’t. They are more affordable with costs ranging from $1,800-$5,500. Less discipline is needed for them to work since you can’t take them out. Only requires regular brushing and flossing, no special cleaning steps.
You can’t remove your braces even if you wanted to. Metal brackets can scratch your tongue and the insides of your cheek causing major discomfort and wounding. There are more follow-up visits (at least once a month). It is possible to have tooth discoloration or breakage. You can get food stuck in your braces - it becomes difficult to eat sticky or hard food.
Orthopedic procedures can be very costly and once you’ve made a choice on which one you’d like to have you to follow through with the commitment and be sure to follow-up with maintenance. Both were designed with the intention of straightening your teeth in order to improve your smile and oral health. Think about what you believe is more important when choosing between the two and ask your local orthodontist what options are available to you.