Having straight teeth is a priority for many people—a neat-looking smile is aesthetically pleasing and inspires confidence, and, more importantly, it promotes the teeth’s proper function (what’s not to love?). If you need or want orthodontic treatment for straighter teeth, you have two main options: braces or Invisalign. But what’s the difference? Our post will help you weigh Invisalign vs. braces and hopefully show you the option that’s best for your mouth.
Invisalign vs. Braces
WHAT THEY ARE
Dental braces consist of brackets that are bonded to each tooth and run along a wire. They align a person’s tooth through routine tightening (every month or so), which very gradually pushes and pulls each tooth into its proper place.
Invisalign, on the other hand is a clear, comfortable orthodontic tray made custom to fit your teeth. Invisalign trays gently push your teeth to their new positions.
Only a dental professional can give a patient braces or Invisalign. With braces, your dentist or orthodontist bonds each bracket to each tooth. With Invisalign, the dental lab will use x-rays, pictures, and impressions of your teeth to make a custom tray for you to wear. You’ll put the trays on your teeth yourself.
Once your braces are placed, you cannot remove or adjust them yourself—only your dentist can do this. But with Invisalign, you can take the tray out of your mouth easily—in fact, you are supposed to do this when you eat and to clean the trays each night.
You will return to your dentist or orthodontist about once every month to have your braces adjusted. If you have Invisalign, you’ll need to schedule appointments every two weeks or so to get new, more accurate trays.
This is one of the biggest differences between Invisalign vs. braces—braces can be seen clearly, while Invisalign is nearly, well, invisible. The clear tray often goes unnoticed in public, so no one will be able to tell you’re wearing an orthodontic device.
With braces, a person has certain foods to avoid: popcorn, gum, sticky candies, and others. But with Invisalign, you’re encouraged to take your trays out before eating. That means you can eat whatever you want! After eating, however, you need to brush thoroughly before you put your trays back in. This will prevent staining.
Each treatment plan depends on the patient’s individual case, but patients with braces can usually expect to wear their braces around the clock for about two years. Patients who have Invisalign will wear their trays almost all day—removing them for eating and cleaning—for six to eighteen months.
With both braces and Invisalign, some patients’ teeth may require a retainer afterwards, to keep the teeth from shifting back at all.
Invisalign and braces are equally effective in correcting dental problems such as misaligned teeth, overcrowded teeth, gapped teeth, and bite problems (e.g., overbite). However, some orthodontic cases may be too complex for Invisalign and better suited for braces, which can tackle nearly any orthodontic problem. This happens especially in the beginning of care, and some patients choose to switch from braces to Invisalign after the braces help their teeth become a bit straighter. A consultation with your dentist will determine which option is better for your teeth.
Looking for an experienced, reliable, and friendly dentist? If you live in or near Springfield, Missouri, contact Wilkinson Dental. Dr. Wilkinson and his team will give you the personalized treatment you deserve using state-of-the-art technology—plus, we just began offering Invisalign! For exceptional and comprehensive dental care, schedule your first appointment today by calling 417-708-0556 or requesting an appointment online. We look forward to hearing from you!