Did you know that an estimated 4 million Americans have braces? Not only does this include children and teens but around a million adults too!
Whether you’re searching choosing Invisalign versus braces for you or your child, know that both options can provide a straighter smile. They can also both fix common problems like an overbite, crowding, or too much spacing.
But comparing these treatment options brings up differences in terms of the treatment process and length, pricing, convenience, and comfort.
Read on to learn how Invisalign and braces differ and decide which might work best for your needs.
How They Work
When you get traditional braces, your orthodontist will glue metal or ceramic brackets to your teeth. Then a wire will run through these brackets so that your orthodontist can adjust the pressure for your teeth to move efficiently. Often, rubber bands called ligatures attach to the brackets to help keep the wire in the right place.
With Invisalign aligners, you don’t have these wires and brackets on your teeth. Instead, you wear removable plastic trays that you switch out every week or so to slowly move your teeth. Your orthodontist may also glue some small attachments to certain teeth to help your teeth move precisely with the trays.
What They Can Treat
Both traditional braces and Invisalign are orthodontic treatment options for both small and more severe issues. They can handle issues like crowding, spacing or a misaligned bite.
However, traditional braces can provide an advantage for complex problems like teeth that need sharply rotated, pulled down, or appear to be at different heights. Invisalign works great for handling mild and moderate issues as well as giving you generally straighter teeth. But with new advancements, Invisalign can even handle some complex cases.
How Long the Treatment Takes
When comparing the treatment length for braces versus Invisalign, the latter is often the quicker option. Invisalign advertises an average treatment time of just one year to 18 months, and minor cases can take as little as six months. This is thanks to the custom trays that can move teeth very precisely.
Know that your lifestyle can also affect how long your treatment takes. For example, if you get Invisalign but don’t wear the trays enough each day, you may fall behind and spend more months on refinements. In that case, traditional braces may provide a more predictable result since you can’t take them off.
How Much They Cost
While prices vary by provider, location, and the treatment needed, traditional metal braces often cost less than Invisalign. But the difference may not as large as you’d think.
When comparing the Invisalign cost versus braces, you might end up paying around $1,000 more for the invisible option. But some types of metal braces like those that go behind your teeth or are made of ceramic can cost the same or even more. There are also different levels of Invisalign treatment, so a minor case might cost considerably less.
Your insurance benefits can also help you decide the cheaper option. For example, some plans may not cover Invisalign or may cover less. So, metal braces may end up the cheapest option.
How They Differ in Comfort
Whether you choose braces or Invisalign, you can expect some discomfort when you switch trays or get an adjustment at your orthodontist.
Often, this isn’t severe and has some easy home remedies. For example, eating soft foods, taking pain medication, or applying cold can help you be more comfortable.
When it comes to usual wear, Invisalign comes ahead with comfort. The trays are made of smooth plastic, so you don’t have any brackets poking the inside of your mouth. You might have some irritation from the trays, but it will probably be less severe.
With traditional braces, you can try using dental wax to get some relief from cheek irritation. You might also consider some oral anesthetic gel to numb sore areas.
How They Differ in Convenience
Since metal braces are fixed, you don’t have the option to remove them. This means you need to be more careful which foods you eat and pay careful attention to oral hygiene. It can be more difficult to brush and floss with the brackets in the way, but there are special flossers and toothbrushes you can use.
On the other hand, you can take your Invisalign aligners out to eat, drink, brush, and floss. You just need to wear them a total of 20 to 22 hours. You also get the option to remove the aligners for an important event like a business meeting or speech.
Convenience also differs in terms of office visits. For Invisalign, you can expect fewer checkups since you don’t need an orthodontist to physically tighten any wires. But even regular braces usually require just a visit every six weeks.
How They Differ in Aesthetics
If you’re looking for an orthodontic treatment option that nobody will know you’re using, Invisalign can meet that demand. They’d only know if you remove the aligners in front of them. Even if you ask someone to look at them in your mouth, it will still be hard to know you’ve got the aligners in!
Traditional braces are more noticeable, but you’re not stuck with just the metal braces you might be familiar with. You can choose tooth-colored ceramic brackets for a more discrete treatment or even get braces that go behind your teeth.
Invisalign Versus Braces: Making the Decision
Now that you know the pros and cons of Invisalign versus braces, our Fort Pierce orthodontists can look at your teeth and discuss the most suitable options for you.
You’ll start with a consultation that usually includes an x-ray and oral examination. Once we’ve assessed your orthodontic needs, we can discuss any concerns about pricing, go over the treatment process, and help you make the decision between Invisalign and braces.
Ready to get started? Request an appointment for a consultation from us today!