Those living with crooked teeth may feel self-conscious about their smile. Fortunately, if you’re looking to fix your misaligned teeth, there are multiple options available. This includes both traditional metal braces, Invisalign plastic aligners, and others. But with so many options on the market, how do you know which one is right for you?
There are many advantages and disadvantages of both Invisalign and metal braces that should be considered before making any decision. Braces are not just for cosmetic reasons—they can also improve your oral health by correcting alignment issues that can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. Here’s a look into the pros and cons of both, and why you may consider one over the other.
How Does Invisalign Work?
Invisalign is a system of clear plastic aligners that are custom-made to fit your teeth. Your dentist will use a 3D scan of your mouth to ensure the Invisalign aligners are customized for you. Then, the aligners are worn over your teeth and gradually move them into the desired position over time.
You begin a new set of aligners every few weeks, so the teeth are moved in incremental stages until they are eventually straightened. Using Invisalign to fix crooked teeth can take anywhere from six months to two years, depending on each individual case.
Additionally, many may wonder if you can wear Invisalign aligners if you also grind your teeth at night, and the answer to this question is yes. However, you may need to wear a nightguard to protect your teeth from grinding and your aligners from being damaged. Nightguards can be purchased at most drugstores or made to custom-fit your teeth by your dentist.
4 Advantages of Invisalign
There are many advantages to getting Invisalign that may make it the right choice for you. Besides being practically invisible, these plastic aligners can offer more convenience and comfort than traditional metal braces. Other reasons to choose Invisalign include:
- Appearance: One of the biggest advantages of Invisalign is that the plastic aligners are practically invisible. They are made from clear plastic, so they tend to be much less noticeable than traditional metal braces. This can be a huge benefit, especially for adults who don’t want to look like they’re wearing braces.
- Comfort: Invisalign aligners are a lot more comfortable than traditional metal braces. Because they are made with smoother plastic, you don’t have to worry about gum irritation or wire cuts in your mouth.
- Removable: You can take out the Invisalign plastic aligners for cleaning and eating. This can be a big benefit if you’re worried about food getting stuck in your braces or if you’re having trouble keeping your teeth clean with metal braces.
- Fewer Dental Visits Needed: Unlike metal braces where consultations are required every one to two months, you don’t have to visit the dentist nearly as often for Invisalign. This is because multiple sets of the customized aligners are made in a laboratory ahead of time, so instead of having your dentist adjust your braces, you simply pop in a new aligner set at home when the time is right.
Disadvantages of Invisalign
While Invisalign does offer many benefits for users, there are also some cons to consider. Unlike metal braces, Invisalign is a faster option for those looking to improve their smile in a shorter amount of time. However, depending on the severity of alignment problems, supplemental braces treatment may be necessary in addition to using Invisalign.
Needing to remove the aligners at certain times can also be a disadvantage. If you’re out in public, you may need to remove the aligners discreetly before eating or drinking anything. It’s also best to brush your teeth before putting the aligners back in; otherwise, food particles can inhibit the movement of the teeth and stain the aligners.
Additionally, patients must be disciplined in wearing their aligners for the required 22 hours during the day to ensure the treatment can produce the best results. One of the biggest reasons Invisalign may fail for some patients is because they don’t comply with wearing them all the time.
Finally, in rare situations, the Invisalign aligners may not fit properly, potentially irritating your teeth and gums. If this is the case, it’s best to speak with your dentist right away to get a replacement set.
How Do Braces Work?
Traditional metal braces use a system of brackets and wires to gradually move your teeth into the correct positions. After a consultation with your dentist, metal brackets are bonded to your teeth and attached with a wire. Your dentist will then adjust the wire periodically to gradually move your teeth into place.
The entire process can take anywhere from six months to multiple years, depending on the severity of your misalignment. While wearing metal braces, it’s very important to practice good oral hygiene by brushing twice a day and flossing regularly. You should also avoid hard and sticky foods that can damage the braces, such as gum, taffy, corn on the cob, and nuts.
4 Advantages of Braces
Traditional metal braces have been proven time and time again to be successful, which is why they offer many advantages to patients, including:
- Suitable for All Cases: Traditional metal braces can be used in any case of tooth misalignment. In fact, they tend to be more suitable for severe cases because they are effective at correcting complex tooth placement issues.
- Perfect Results are Possible: Because metal braces are bonded to your teeth, it is possible to achieve perfect results with this treatment option. Unlike Invisalign results, which may be delayed by patients not wearing their aligners consistently, metal braces will always be on your teeth no matter what.
- Colorful Rubber Bands: Traditional braces are more visible, but they come in a variety of colors and patterns so you can customize them to your taste. Some patients may choose colors to match an upcoming season or holiday.
- Multiple Types Available: Metal braces can now come with ceramic brackets or be placed behind the teeth rather than on the front. For those concerned about the appearance of metal, this can help them to feel a little less self-conscious.
Disadvantages of Braces
Just like Invisalign, there are disadvantages to traditional metal braces as well. First, they tend to require more office visits to the dentist so the wire can be readjusted. They also tend to have a longer treatment period than Invisalign, so you may have to wear metal braces for many months or even years depending on the severity of your dental problems.
Additionally, metal braces tend to be a lot more uncomfortable than Invisalign. This is because the braces put a lot of pressure on your teeth and gums, causing soreness and pain. The wires for the braces can also stick out, potentially cutting or scraping against the inside of your mouth.
Choosing Between Invisalign and Traditional Braces
The type of braces you need can depend on the severity of your misalignment, which is why it’s best to consult with your dentist. Minor issues can typically be addressed with Invisalign clear aligners, while severe cases may require traditional metal braces. Fortunately, the cost of Invisalign versus metal braces is relatively comparable. Both options tend to be expensive, but their price point will vary depending on what dental issues need to be corrected.
Whether you choose to use Invisalign aligners or opt for traditional metal braces, it’s best to weigh the pros and cons with your dentist or orthodontist. They can help you make the right treatment decision for your smile.
Rhoades Family Dentistry in Olathe, Kansas offers Invisalign as well as other options for tooth alignment. Schedule an appointment today by calling 913-782-8900!