Almost no one is born with perfectly straight teeth. People can have a number of different issues, including crooked teeth, overlapping teeth, and bite problems, which can range from minor cosmetic problems to serious structural issues affecting function.
Most, but not all people who need braces get them when they are young. Multicolored metal brackets on your teeth in middle or high school is almost a rite of passage—but maybe not for much longer, as new orthodontic options have become available.
If you’ve been thinking about getting a straighter smile recently, then you’ve probably heard of Invisalign. These clear trays are very convenient and don’t leave you with a mouthful of metal. But are they really better than traditional braces? Let’s find out how each option rates for different factors relating to treatment.
When it comes to convenience, it’s tough to beat Invisalign. Before treatment begins, a series of clear plastic aligners are created from molds of the patient’s teeth. These trays are swapped out every two weeks for a new set that gradually pushes the teeth into a new position. You still have to visit your dentist for follow-up visits, but typically not as often as you would for traditional braces.
Traditional braces need to be tightened by an orthodontist about once every four weeks. While they might be less convenient overall, metal braces can still be more convenient for parents, who don’t have to remind their children to use their Invisalign trays!
Ease of Use & Maintenance
It’s very easy to care for your teeth while using Invisalign trays. All you have to do is brush and floss your teeth as normal and clean the trays as directed. You will need to brush your teeth before putting your aligners back on after eating, however, which can be a little time-consuming or disruptive.
Caring for metal braces is more difficult, especially flossing. Many people choose to use a water flosser, instead of threading floss between the brackets. However, you don’t have to think about cleaning trays or brushing every time you eat something.
This one’s obvious: when it comes to appearance, Invisalign is the clear winner. Instead of metal brackets and multicolored bands, Invisalign is discreet and barely noticeable. The thin, clear trays are designed to be invisible.
Invisalign has prompted a new wave of adult orthodontia patients in the last few years. While most adults aren’t willing to sport traditional braces in the office, Invisalign is the perfect compromise. Teens can also use Invisalign to escape the embarrassment of a mouth full of metal.
Quality of Life
Invisalign trays are worn for 22+ hours a day. They are only removed for eating, drinking (beverages besides water), and tooth brushing. However, they allow for good quality of life and no food restrictions during the treatment.
Braces are worn 24/7 until the treatment is completed. They affect what patients can eat and drink, typically ruling out any sticky or very hard foods. These foods can damage the hardware and should be avoided until the treatment is over.
Regardless of the treatment option you choose, straightening your teeth isn’t a completely comfortable experience. It hurts when the teeth are forced to move!
Generally, patients experience the most discomfort when their braces are tightened or right after they switch to a new set of Invisalign trays. That’s when the most pressure is being exerted on the teeth.
Although both treatments can cause discomfort as the teeth are forced to shift, braces can add some extra comfort issues. The wires and brackets making up the braces can cause irritation and even sores in the mouth. It can be hard to resolve these comfort issues because the braces can’t be removed until the treatment is completed.
Duration of Treatment
Another bonus of Invisalign is that it can usually produce results more quickly than traditional metal braces. While braces must be worn for an average of two years, Invisalign typically takes only 6-18 months to produce satisfactory results. Of course, this varies from patient to patient, but shorter treatment times is a perk of Invisalign that patients appreciate.
Both Invisalign and braces can be very effective for a number of different issues. But for very severe or complex orthodontic issues, traditional metal braces are usually more effective. Some issues cannot be fixed with Invisalign alone.
Invisalign requires some dedication in order for patients to experience optimal results. Patients need to wear their aligners except for eating and drinking, and clean them as directed. This is why Invisalign is usually preferred for adult patients who are more likely to consistently follow the treatment protocols.
Find a Knowledgeable Invisalign Provider
For most people, Invisalign is the preferred treatment option for the many benefits it offers over traditional braces. If you’re interested in learning more about your candidacy, then it’s important to find a knowledgeable Invisalign provider near you to help you decide if the treatment is right for you.
Dr. John Paul Gallardo is a renowned Miami periodontist with extensive experience in overseeing Invisalign treatments. He can help you decide on the best treatment option for your oral health needs. To schedule a consultation, call 305-547-8805 today.