Your smile- or lack thereof- is the first thing people notice. Unfortunately, most people admit that if they had the option, they would change something about their smile. In most cases, it has to do with the alignment of their teeth.
Approximately 25% to 53% of people will require orthodontic intervention to solve these alignment issues. The most common treatments include traditional braces and Invisalign clear aligners. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, which can make it challenging to choose the best one.
Arlington Dental Excellence offers a variety of dental services for patients of all ages, including orthodontic treatment. This article explains what you need to know about Invisalign vs braces to help you make your decision.
One of the primary differences between Invisalign and traditional braces is appearance.
Traditional braces involve metal or ceramic brackets cemented to your teeth, connected with an archwire. This is difficult to hide, even when using tooth-colored brackets and wire for “invisible” braces. Invisalign treatment is a system of clear plastic aligners, similar to a retainer, that are almost invisible, even at close range.
For some, traditional braces are a fashion statement. They customize their look by changing the color of their brackets and wires. However, others feel self-conscious about their appearance with traditional braces. Invisalign is ideal for patients who wish to straighten their teeth discreetly.
Another factor to consider when comparing Invisalign and traditional braces is comfort.
Traditional braces can be uncomfortable and cause irritation to the tongue, lips, and cheeks. Adjustments are required every few weeks as teeth shift, which can be uncomfortable- especially at the beginning of treatment.
Invisalign aligners are much more comfortable. They are custom-fitted to your teeth and the edges are smooth, which almost eliminates the risk of irritation. Plus, there are no brackets and wires to adjust. Patients simply swap to a new aligner every few weeks and check-in with their dentist every few aligners to monitor their progress.
When choosing between the two options, it’s important to note that both are effective for most mild to moderate cases. However, there are some caveats to consider.
Patients with more complex cases are advised to choose traditional braces, especially in the case of a severe bite issue or significant misalignment. Since the braces are fixed to the teeth, more precise movements can be made.
Invisalign is typically reserved for mild to moderate cases. It is most effective for issues such as gaps between teeth, minor bite issues, and overcrowding.
Oral hygiene plays a critical role in the success of orthodontic treatment. When it comes to traditional braces, food can get stuck in the wires and brackets, which make oral hygiene challenging. Patients must take special care to clean around the hardware to avoid bacteria and plaque buildup and prevent tooth decay.
Invisalign aligners are removable, which makes brushing and flossing much easier.
Cost is a major factor in choosing orthodontic treatment. The cost of Invisalign is comparable to that of traditional braces. On average, traditional braces range from around $2,500 to $7,500. Invisalign aligners usually range from around $3,000 to $8,000.
Cost depends on several factors including the complexity of the case and the duration of treatment. Most dental insurance plans do cover a portion of orthodontic treatment, though they may offer more coverage on traditional braces than Invisalign. Our office staff will work with your provider to determine your coverage and provide you with a quote before moving forward with treatment.
Duration of Treatment
Another major consideration is the duration of treatment. On average, treatment with traditional braces ranges from 18 months to 3 years. In some cases, treatment can be completed within 12 months, but this is only for very mild cases.
On the other hand, Invisalign usually takes about a year to 18 months for most cases. In very mild cases, treatment is often complete within 6 months, while more complex cases may take up to 2 years. This is also dependent on the patient’s compliance with wearing the aligners.
When choosing the best option, you should also consider your personal lifestyle and daily routines. Invisalign aligners are removable, which means that you don’t have to give up your favorite foods. However, this means they are easier to lose or misplace, which can delay treatment. Still, since they are removable, they are much easier to clean and maintain.
Traditional braces, on the other hand, require dietary restrictions. Certain foods can get stuck in and cause damage to the wires and brackets. Extra effort is required to clean around the brackets and wires.
Invisalign aligners must be worn for at least 20 to 22 hours a day for maximum effectiveness. Patients who do not comply with this may not achieve the results they are hoping for.
Traditional braces, on the other hand, are permanently affixed to the teeth, which means there’s no risk of non-compliance. However, appointments are required every few weeks as the teeth shift to have them tightened.
Aesthetics vs. Function
When choosing between these two options, you will want to balance aesthetics with function.
Many patients prefer Invisalign because it is a more discreet way to treat a misalignment, but for those who require extensive correction with more precise movements, traditional braces may be the only option.
Arlington Dental Excellence Offers Expert Orthodontic Treatment
The decision is ultimately yours to make. You must consider your personal orthodontic issues, preferences, budget, willingness to comply with treatment, and more. The team at Arlington Dental Excellence can guide you through the process. We have the experience and expertise to help you make the best decision to achieve a picture-perfect smile.