Invisalign Compared to Traditional Braces
A nice smile can make a huge difference in a person’s self-confidence. Everyone wants straight teeth! But how you achieve the goal of an amazing smile is something that can be accomplished in a number of different ways. Many people need orthodontic treatment in order to correct problems like overcrowding, gaps, or crooked teeth. In some cases, Invisalign is a treatment option, while in other cases, standard braces must be used to make the teeth straight. At Silver Lake Orthodontics, we offer both treatment options.
Most people are familiar with traditional braces1. These braces are made of either metal or resin brackets that are attached to the fronts of your teeth such that a wire can be inserted through each bracket to promote movement. The teeth move according to a specific plan laid out by the orthodontist and the final result is straight teeth and an amazing smile!
Invisalign2 is less well-known but it’s a treatment method that’s becoming more and more popular. Invisalign can be used in place of traditional braces in certain instances. Invisalign aligner trays are custom-made for the patient’s teeth. At Silver Lake Orthodontics, we use specialized technologies to generate the aligners so that they perfectly match the contours of the patient’s teeth and mouth. The clear trays are practically invisible when placed in the mouth over the teeth which means that orthodontic treatment can be done very discreetly.
Both Invisalign and traditional braces are valid options for orthodontic treatment, but there are some important differences between them that the patient should be aware of before deciding which is right for them.
Length of Treatment
Typically, our patients at Silver Lake Orthodontics wear traditional braces for two to three years. In contrast, Invisalign treatment often lasts between 9 to 15 months. Of course, while most patients would prefer to endure orthodontic treatment for only a short period of time, Invisalign offers a clear advantage over traditional braces. For patients with a complex orthodontic issue, there may not be a choice in regard to how long treatment lasts. Traditional braces can accomplish certain things that Invisalign simply cannot.
Standard dental braces cannot be removed. The brackets are attached directly to the front of the teeth in a way that makes it impossible for the patient to remove them. This can be a positive thing if a teenager is being treated and there is a concern that the teen might remove the treatment device too often. Because traditional braces can’t be removed, parents do not need to be concerned about whether or not their teen is complying with treatment.
On the other hand, Invisalign clear aligners are removable. The clear aligner trays can easily be removed from the mouth for eating and drinking and then put back in place to continue treatment. Of course, the removable nature of Invisalign can lead to losing the aligner trays by accident, but the trays can be replaced with relative ease. It can be tempting for patients to remove the trays too often which can slow down the treatment process, but for motivated patients at Silver Lake Orthodontics who really want to see progress in terms of their smile, Invisalign can be an excellent choice.
Complexity of the Orthodontic Issue
When dealing with gaps, crookedness, overcrowding or other complex orthodontic issues, traditional braces are the best choice. In fact, treatment with traditional braces can proceed much more quickly than treatment with Invisalign if the orthodontic problems are very complex.
On the other hand, Invisalign is the perfect treatment option for patients who want to straighten their teeth without committing long-term to the permanency of traditional braces. For minor orthodontic issues, Invisalign offers a system that discreetly moves the teeth into position while patients continue on without having to go through the more involved treatment process required for traditional braces.
Comfort and Discretion
At Silver Lake Orthodontics patients get to choose the color of their braces. This is an opportunity for patients to make a fashion statement. On the other hand, though, Invisalign is almost invisible which means that most people won’t even know the patient is undergoing orthodontic treatment. Invisalign is a more discreet option for patients than traditional braces.
In terms of comfort, Invisalign treatment involves two plastic aligner trays and nothing more. As a result, it is a much more comfortable treatment system than traditional braces that require the use of metal or resin brackets and wires. Again, though, while braces may be more uncomfortable, they offer a more powerful solution to complex dental issues. Invisalign, however, provides a palatable treatment option for patients with minor issues who don’t want to undergo treatment with traditional braces.
Traditional braces require regular trips to the dentist for readjustments, but while regular trips are necessary, patients may find that they make fewer trips to the dentist than with Invisalign. That being said, though, patients with traditional braces will have to spend more time in the dental chair than Invisalign patients. Patients who opt to use the Invisalign system merely go to the dentist to pick up their next set of aligner trays.
Invisalign is also convenient when it comes to maintaining the teeth. Because the aligner trays are removable, patients can continue with their normal dental routine. Dental hygiene poses no challenges as a result. In contrast, traditional braces require changes in terms of diet as well as dental hygiene routine. The patient must eat softer foods and commit to brushing after meals and snacks to keep the teeth healthy. So, as a general rule, Invisalign is considered to be a much more convenient treatment option in terms of dental hygiene and visits to the clinic.
On the other hand, though, traditional braces are more convenient for patients who would have a tendency to forget to put in their Invisalign trays or who might accidentally lose the trays. The permanency of traditional braces in the mouth makes it so that patients need not think about their treatment, which is ongoing and proceeds along a predictable timeline determined entirely by the orthodontist.
And finally, because patients must change their diet, Invisalign is more convenient in terms of food. Invisalign patients do not need to eat a special diet or avoid particular foods during treatment because the aligner trays can be removed during eating and during the dental hygiene routine. Patients put the trays back into the mouth when they aren’t eating or doing their dental hygiene routine. Patients with traditional braces, must, on the other hand, take special care of their braces and avoid hard, crunchy, and sticky foods to keep their wires and brackets intact.