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Invisalign vs. Braces: Which Is Best for Your Smile?

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Invisalign vs. Braces: Which Is Best for Your Smile?

  1. Home
  2. Dental Articles
  3. Invisalign Articles
  4. Invisalign vs. Braces: Which Is Best for Your Smile?

What are Invisible Braces?

Invisible braces are custom-made, removable plastic aligners you wear over your teeth. Most treatment plans require you to wear the aligners for 22 hours a day, although a few companies offer nighttime-only options. You remove the aligners to eat and clean your teeth.

Some companies, such as Byte and SmileDirectClub, offer at-home treatment plans that don’t require in-person supervision by an orthodontist.

Others, such as Invisalign, are available only from a licensed dentist or orthodontist and require regular in-person visits to check your progress and exchange your aligner trays.

Most invisible braces are designed for mild to moderate cosmetic issues that can be corrected in less than a year. Invisalign is one of the few clear aligners that treat more complex orthodontic problems.

Advantages of Invisalign vs. Braces

The main advantage of Invisalign over braces is that clear aligners are barely noticeable. If you’re concerned about maintaining your professional appearance at work, Invisalign transforms your smile without the bulky metal brackets and wires of traditional braces.

Here are other advantages of choosing Invisalign over Traditional Braces:

  • More comfortable: Invisalign aligners fit smoothly and snugly over your teeth. You don’t have to deal with sharp metal edges or wires to poke tender tissues. Invisalign gently repositions your teeth without the discomfort associated with traditional braces.
  • Eat whatever you want: Because you remove your Invisalign aligners when you eat, you don’t need to avoid foods that can damage traditional braces.
  • Better oral hygiene: With removable aligners, it’s easy to maintain your regular brushing and flossing routine. Invisalign lowers your risk of cavities and gum disease compared to traditional braces.
  • Shorter treatment time: Invisalign treatment usually takes six months and two years to complete, although complex issues may take longer. Most people wear traditional braces for one to three years.

Disadvantages of Invisalign vs. Braces

Although Invisalign can treat more complex problems than most other clear aligners, the brand isn’t suitable for all orthodontic issues. Traditional braces may be your only option for severely misaligned teeth.

Other disadvantages of Invisalign over traditional braces include:

  • Compliance: Because Invisalign can be removed, you must be disciplined about following your doctor’s recommendations. If you’re not committed to wearing your aligners for a total of 22 hours per day, you won’t get your desired results.
  • Risk of loss or damage: Removing your aligners to eat can be inconvenient and increases the possibility that you’ll accidentally lose or damage them.
  • May not be suitable for children: Although Invisalign offers an early treatment system for younger children, many orthodontists only recommend Invisalign for more mature teens. Older children are typically more disciplined about wearing the aligners as directed.

Advantages of Braces vs. Invisalign

Traditional braces are the time-tested gold standard in orthodontic care, and they have a long track record of reliable results with even the most complex orthodontic problems. Depending on your specific issue, braces may be your only option for achieving long-lasting results.

Other reasons to consider braces over Invisalign include:

  • Consistent results: Because braces are bonded to your teeth, they work round-the-clock to reposition them gently. Results don’t depend on your compliance in wearing them like they do with clear aligners.
  • Choose any orthodontist: All orthodontists are experts in traditional braces, so you can choose any in your area you like. However, not all orthodontists offer treatment with Invisalign.
  • “Invisible” options: If you’re not a candidate for Invisalign, you still have less visible options for traditional braces. Lingual braces, for example, are placed on the back of the teeth, so they’re virtually undetectable. Ceramic braces are made of tooth-coloured resins to look more natural.

Disadvantages of Braces vs. Invisalign

Most people who consider Invisalign do so because they don’t like the appearance of traditional braces. Even though ceramic braces are less obvious, they are still quite noticeable. Lingual braces are virtually invisible, but they may interfere with your speech. Invisalign is the most comfortable and discreet option for improving your smile.

Other disadvantages of braces include:

  • Difficult to maintain dental hygiene: Braces can trap bacteria leading to damaged enamel, cavities, and gum disease. If you aren’t conscientious about cleaning your teeth, you could end treatment with discolourations and permanent white spots from weakened enamel.
  • Dietary restrictions: Most orthodontists recommend that you avoid hard and sticky foods like candies, nuts, and gum if you wear braces. You may also find that certain foods like steak and corn on the cob are hard to eat and get stuck in your braces.
  • Pain and discomfort: Many people experience pain and tenderness when they first get braces and after each orthodontist adjustment. Some also struggle with irritation inside the mouth, where tissues rub against the brackets.
  • Regular orthodontist visits: You’ll need to have in-person visits every month or six weeks with your orthodontist. This can interfere with work and school schedules.

Cost of Invisalign vs. braces

The cost of Invisalign varies, but most people spend between $3,000 and $5,000 for treatment. Invisalign is the most expensive option for clear aligners, but it can treat problems that other aligners can’t.

Treatment with traditional braces typically costs between $3,000 and $7,000, comparable to Invisalign costs.

You may have additional costs for post-treatment care with Invisalign. Most orthodontists recommend retainers to maintain your results, and these aren’t usually included in the price of treatment and may add several hundred dollars to your total cost.

Dental insurers usually treat Invisalign the same as traditional braces. In other words, if your plan pays for orthodontic treatment, it will most likely cover Invisalign. However, most insurers won’t pay for cosmetic orthodontic treatment. If you’re getting braces to improve your appearance, you’ll probably have to pay the total cost yourself.

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