Dentists with orthodontist specialization help patients suffering from teeth and jaw alignment issues. Straightened and aligned teeth don’t just make for a beautiful smile. When they are straight and aligned, they perform their functions in a better manner. Straightening the misaligned teeth is also important to protect the integrity of other facial features.
Today, orthodontists primarily use two fixtures to straighten teeth and align jaws: braces and clear aligners (widely known by the brand name Invisalign). When patients go for teeth straightening treatment, it is their discretion to choose between Invisalign and braces. Orthodontists can certainly make recommendations, but patient and their guardians (in case of kids) have to make the final call.
If you about to go for teeth alignment and can’t decide between Invisalign and braces, keep reading it. We will have a comparative overview and discussion on both of these teeth straightening and aligning tools. By the end of the article, you will be in a better position to decide which orthodontic device is better for you.
What Are Invisalign and Braces and How Do They Work?
Before we jump to compare these two dental fixtures, it is imperative to know what they actually are and how do they work.
Dental braces are probably one of the oldest orthodontic devices. They have been around for almost 200 years. Braces are wire-based dental devices used to rectify the alignment of teeth. They have an intricate construction that usually consists of brackets, bands, and flexible wires. Brackets are usually made of top-quality ceramic, stainless steel or other inert materials.
Meanwhile, bands that enclose the molar teeth are made of titanium because they support the entire brace setup to an extent. The wires are also made of flexible stainless steel to ensure braces don’t restrict the regular movement of teeth and jaws.
Braces work on a very simple principle, i.e., they exert constant pressure on the misaligned teeth to gradually move them to the correct position. This pressure is generated in the stretched flexible wire. The wire then transfers this pressure to teeth via brackets.
Invisalign works in the same manner as traditional braces. It put constant pressure on misaligned teeth to move them back to their intended position. However, Invisalign has a metal-free and wire-free construction. It is usually made in a single piece from high-quality BPA-free ABS plastic. It fits onto the misaligned or overbite teeth and pushes them back to their right anatomical position.
Invisalign vs. Braces
Keep in mind that Invisalign and braces are not in competition with each other. Braces are deemed suitable for some patients. Meanwhile, orthodontists recommend some people Invisalign instead of braces.
We are not making this comparison to tell you which one is the absolute best since both have their upsides and downsides. The sole reason for putting up this comparison piece is to help you decide which of these dental devices is right for your particular requirements.
For many people, the only difference between braces and Invisalign is their appearance. There is no doubt that Invisalign has a better design when it comes to how it appears in a patient’s smile. It is made of transparent polymer with no separate and free parts, giving it a more proportioned look.
On the other hand, braces have metal brackets and wires that are prominently installed on teeth. They are easily noticeable as compared to Invisalign aligner trays. You can, however, get dental braces with an improved look by opting for tooth-colored ceramic brackets.
Verdict: Invisalign stays ahead of braces when it comes to appearance. The “Invis” in Invisalign boasts about the aligner’s invisibility in the oral cavity, and rightly so. Over six million people are using Invisalign all over the world, and most of them have opted for it just for its non-existent form and appearance.
Treatment effectiveness is something where Invisalign and braces offer better results in different areas. When Invisalign was first introduced, orthodontists would only prescribe it for minor orthodontic adjustments.
Over the years, as its base polymer has improved a lot, the efficacy of Invisalign devices has also increased. You can now use them to treat overbites, crossbites, underbites, gapped, and crooked teeth with the same effectiveness.
Braces can also treat all those orthodontic conditions. Seasoned orthodontists usually suggest dental braces when the misalignment is severe. For instance, patients with a large number of crowded teeth will be recommended dental braces over Invisalign. Similarly, braces are considered better rectification devices for acute overbites and underbites.
Verdict: For complex misalignment cases, braces are more effective than Invisalign. But it is important to mention here that Invisalign aligners are constantly undergoing improvement. So, we might see Invisalign devices offering the required effectiveness for complex and acute dental adjustments in the next couple of years as well.
The cost of braces and Invisalign depends on a host of factors. The cost will majorly depend on your orthodontic condition. For a complex misalignment, the cost of both braces and Invisalign will be higher. You will require a more customized set of braces and have to visit your orthodontist more often. These factors increase the cost of the overall treatment.
With Invisalign, the cost of the treatment depends on how much trays you will require to restore the right teeth alignment. For any acute case, this number will be higher, that means greater treatment cost.
The cost of the treatment also depends on which province and city you are in and the orthodontist service you are using. A well-known and seasoned dentist and orthodontist will charge more than a professional who has just started the practice.
Verdict: Even though Invisalign and brace treatment cost is a function of several factors, clear aligners lie at a slightly higher price point. You can expect to pay $5,000-6,000 for complete dental brace treatment. For Invisalign treatment, this range can linger between $5,500 and $7,000.
Duration of Treatment
Duration of treatment is also something that varies from case to case. But if we compare the same teeth alignment case for both treatments, the use of Invisalign involves lesser time. A patient suffering from mild overbite may have to wear Invisalign trays for 12 to 18 months to rectify the overlapping of the upper jaw.
However, keep in mind that the treatment will only be concluded in the prescribed time if the patient exhibits great self-discipline. Otherwise, Invisalign treatment can extend. The duration of dental brace treatment for the same overbite condition can span up to three years, depending on how the brace set is reacting to the given teeth misalignment.
Verdict: For moderate misalignment issues, Invisalign offers quick results. However, if you are battling acute teeth disorientation and crowding, you may have to stick to the long treatment of conventional braces.
Invisalign and brace teeth alignment treatments don’t require constant professional supervision. Nonetheless, you have to visit your orthodontist after a while to ensure the treatment is going in the right direction. In Invisalign treatments, a patient is usually given a set of aligner trays that they have to wear for a certain duration. Since they don’t need professional assistance in changing those aligning trays, they only need to visit their dentist once in 8-10 weeks.
With braces, a patient needs more orthodontic supervision, mainly because they can’t adjust the wires and brackets on their own. Therefore, they need to visit their dentist every 3-4 weeks to ensure their braces remain in the right setting.
Verdict: Invisalign is a self-assisted treatment where you have can wear and adjust the aligner trays without any help. Hence, its treatment entails fewer visits to the dentist’s office.
By the looks of them, braces look one heck of uncomfortable dental device to put on. The metal and wire connections are the major reasons we assume that braces are not meant for comfortable wearing. However, that’s not the case. The modern dental braces are pretty well-thought-out. They are made with precision to ensure they don’t occupy too much space in the oral cavity.
Some people may experience brace wires rubbing against the inside of their cheek. They can alleviate this scratchy feeling with the use of dental wax available at drug stores.
With Invisalign, the main discomfort a patient may face is the extra pressure after wearing a new aligner tray. This sensation goes away after a while once your teeth and gum get used to it.
Verdict: Invisalign does slightly better than braces when it comes to comfort. Most patients also feel more comfortable with Invisalign because they know that they don’t have individual components of braces, bands, and wire to stress over. Some patients also find the use of Invisalign easier and comfortable because they can remove the aligner trays for a couple of hours every day.
The success of many medical treatments significantly depends on how good the patient is in complying with the physician’s instructions. The same is the case with Invisalign aligners. If you want to opt for Invisalign treatment to treat your misaligned or crowded teeth, you need to exhibit remarkable self-discipline. The reason Invisalign treatment requires patient discipline is because they are in control of the device.
They can remove them whenever they want. Also, some patients are allowed to remove aligners for up to four hours a day. This freedom also becomes a responsibility for patients. They need to make sure that they don’t leave aligners removed beyond the time prescribed by their orthodontist.
On the other hand, braces don’t require such diligence from patients. Patients have to wear them 24 hours a day, and only a professional can remove and readjust them. So, there is no room to exhibit that sort of negligence.
Verdict: If you fear that you may go overboard with the liberty that comes with Invisalign treatment, you can stick to dental braces.
We all know that when you use an orthodontic device, you need to be on top of oral hygiene. Otherwise, what’s the point of getting your teeth in the right alignment if they are stained and contract gum diseases during the treatment. If you are using Invisalign, you can clean the aligner trays by rinsing them in warm water. You can also brush them with a gentle hand. Also, brush your teeth after every meal and floss them.
With braces, it is a bit tricky to take care of your oral hygiene because you can’t remove them. Nonetheless, brush your teeth after every meal and take your time. There is no need to rush. Keep your hand gentle as it moves across the oral cavity and on wires and brackets with the brush. Flossing seems almost impossible when you wear braces. However, some of these tips can help you in flossing your braced teeth.
Verdict: It is easier to take care of your oral hygiene when you use Invisalign.
You remove Invisalign trays before eating anything. So, there are no dietary restrictions related to its use unless you are suffering from any other periodontal issue. However, orthodontists can restrict some foods for patients that have to wear braces. For instance, patients might be recommended to avoid sticky, sugary, and hard foods during their treatment.
Verdict: The use of Invisalign trays doesn’t involve any eating restrictions.
After the above comparative discussion, it seems like overall Invisalign is better than braces for the treatment of misaligned teeth. However, that doesn’t mean Invisalign aligners are the absolute winners, and no patient should go for braces in any case. For complex and acute cases of overcrowding, overbite, and other misalignment issues, the efficiency and results of braces are still unparalleled. Seasoned dentists are most likely to recommend traditional dental braces for such cases.
Whether you want Invisalign, braces, or any other orthodontic treatment in Calgary, you should visit East Village Dental. The facility doesn’t just deal with orthodontics but also helps patients suffering from any dental issue.