For many people, their smile is one of their most attractive features. However, not everyone is born with perfect teeth. The good news? Getting that attractive and stunning smile is possible.
Case in point: those who want healthy and beautifully aligned teeth now have two exceptional options—braces and Invisalign. Both options serve the same purpose. They straighten your teeth and improve your smile and oral health significantly.
If you are like most people, you are likely unsure which of the two options is right for you. To help you make an educated decision, let us take a closer look at these two cosmetic dentistry options:
Invisalign: Comfortable, Discreet, and Effective
If you want a subtle treatment option with a nearly invisible appearance, you can never go wrong with Invisalign clear aligners. Since they were first introduced over two decades ago, Invisalign has revolutionized orthodontic care. With its patented technology, it is considered a state-of-the-art method of aligning teeth.
One of the enticing benefits of Invisalign is that they are nearly invisible. The clear plastic aligner fits comfortably over the teeth. It moves the teeth into their correct positions without requiring wires or metals. Subtle and barely noticeable, Invisalign is considered effective and offers long-lasting and predictable results.
The Enticing Benefits of Invisalign Aligners
Some of the most remarkable benefits of Invisalign aligners include:
- They are easy to clean.
For Invisalign to be effective, it has to be worn 22 hours a day. When the aligners are removed during mealtimes, you can eat anything without any consequences as long as you brush your teeth after, rinse the aligners, and put them back on immediately after. Another advantage of Invisalign that’s hard to miss is they are easy to clean.
Cleaning your aligners is very straightforward: you just soak them in a cleaning solution. You can also brush them gently using a toothbrush if that is what you prefer. While taking the aligners out, you can also scrub and brush your teeth to ensure they are clean throughout your treatment.
- They are comfortable.
Invisalign is made from state-of-the-art and patented material that’s specifically designed to align teeth. It is not only practical; it is also safe to use and very comfortable.
Since they are custom designed for each patient, they can fit snugly around the teeth. While braces can pinch, poke, or push against the gums or lips, Invisalign aligners fit your teeth seamlessly without causing any discomfort.
- They are discreet.
Before Invisalign, many adults were uncomfortable wearing braces because they think it makes them look less professional. Fortunately, Invisalign has changed all that. Its discreet appearance also makes it the best option for many career professionals.
Subtle, clear, and nearly invisible, Invisalign can help you achieve a better smile without interfering with your teeth. Invisalign is also considered an excellent choice for teenagers who don’t like the look of braces.
Braces: The Conventional and Time-Tested Option
Here’s something interesting: the concept of using braces is not exactly new. It is believed to have been around for centuries. In fact, researchers have discovered braces on ancient Egyptian mummies!
Undoubtedly, braces have evolved significantly over the years. Nowadays, braces are considered one of the most effective, comfortable, and reliable treatment methods to straighten teeth and achieve a healthier bite.
Braces work by effectively and safely shifting the teeth using brackets that are bonded to each tooth. A metal wire connects the brackets. Each bracket is affixed, so it carefully moves each tooth into the correct position.
There are different types of braces—ceramic, metal, and lingual. Each type can straighten the teeth using various methods. Regardless of the type, braces are designed to help you achieve a healthy bite and a great smile.
Different Types of Braces
While the basic design of each brace is similar, each comes with specific benefits. For instance:
- Metal Braces
Metal braces are considered the most traditional. Metal braces make use of metal brackets that are connected by a metal wire. They are considered very reliable, effective, comfortable, and convenient. No wonder metal braces are very popular among patients of all ages.
Metal braces are also considered the most cost-effective option. In some qualifying cases, they are even fully covered by insurance. If you are considering getting braces, it would be good to check with your insurance provider first to make sure they are covered.
- Ceramic Braces
Ceramic braces use the same technology as metal braces. However, rather than using metal brackets, a clear or tooth-coloured resin is used for the brackets. Ceramic braces blend perfectly with the teeth. They are the perfect option for those who want a barely-there appearance.
Ceramic braces are also very effective but have a less noticeable look. Adults and older teens prefer ceramic braces compared to other options. However, ceramic braces are also more prone to staining. That said, they may not be the best choice for those who love red wine, coffee, and other dark-colored foods and beverages.
- Lingual or Incognito Braces
Also known as Incognito braces, lingual braces also use the same technology as ceramic and metal braces. However, rather than being bonded on the outside of the patient’s teeth, they sit on the inside (where the patient’s tongue also sits). Lingual braces move the teeth into position, but they are less visible.
Unfortunately, lingual braces are considered less effective when treating severe cases or specific conditions. Lingual braces are more expensive compared to metal braces.
The Peerless Benefits of Braces
There are several reasons patients choose braces. While braces offer many benefits, some of the most notable include:
- They are effective.
Braces can achieve beautiful long-term results even for patients with severe dental misalignment, thanks to their sturdy and practical design. While Invisalign is considered less effective for certain conditions like severe crowding and impacted teeth, braces use specialized methods to fix even complex cases.
Also, when pulled by the braces wire, the tension on the brackets makes them very effective at moving teeth in their correct places. Braces also provide the maximal grip that can realign even severe cases of misaligned teeth. If anything, braces are the obvious choice for those with complex and severe alignment issues.
- They allow consistent movement.
There is a huge upside to having the braces bonded to the teeth permanently—they are moving the teeth all the time. On the other hand, Invisalign is removable. However, it has to be worn at least 22 hours a day to be effective.
Some patients prefer braces since they won’t have to keep track of their aligners. While compliance is still vital—regular visits to the dentist, brushing and flushing regularly, etc.—they won’t have to worry about losing the appliance.
- They are more affordable.
Many people that are seeking orthodontic treatment consider costing a significant factor. Undoubtedly, the affordability of braces is one of their most enticing features. On average, braces can cost between $1,700 and $3,500. However, the cost can vary depending on crucial factors like where you live and the severity of the condition.
While some insurance plans will cover Invisalign and braces, most state-subsidized plans only cover the latter. In some states, only younger patients get their braces treatment fully covered. If cost is a primary concern for you, braces might be a better option.
Braces vs. Invisalign: Which Option is Best for You?
To help you make an educated decision, below are some of the crucial factors to keep in mind:
Factors that Can Affect the Final Cost of Treatment
Some of the critical factors that can affect the final cost of both treatments (braces and Invisalign) include:
- The condition’s severity
- Where do you go for treatment
- Experience of the orthodontist
- Promotional savings (i.e., seasonal price cuts and family discounts)
- Insurance coverage
- Financing/monthly payment plans
On average, conventional braces can cost between $1,700 and $6,000. Specialized braces treatment like lingual braces can take you back as much as $13,000. The price can vary depending on some factors, such as how much is covered by insurance and the severity of the treatment.
On the other hand, Invisalign treatment can cost between $2,400 and $9,000. Like braces, Invisalign prices can also vary depending on a few factors, like where you will get the treatment and the severity of the condition. For mild conditions, some orthodontists may offer expedited Invisalign treatment.
Aside from the cost, it is also best to remember that your doctor is still your best asset for achieving that attractive smile. Ideally, it is recommended that you work with a skilled and seasoned orthodontist. Nowadays, some offices offer free initial consultations, so that’s something you might want to take advantage of.
As a general rule of thumb, ask about offers, seasonal promotions, savings, and payment plans available. It is reassuring to know there is no shortage of opportunities to save money while still achieving that happy, healthy, and long-lasting smile.
One of the most significant differences between braces and Invisalign is that the latter is virtually undetectable. While some teens like picking out different coloured bands for their metal braces, most adults prefer Invisalign. If you want to fix any misalignments discreetly, Invisalign is the right option for you.
Teeth straightening is not the most comfortable experience. Regardless if it’s Invisalign or braces, shifting the teeth’s alignment can be painful. However, since it applies less pressure, Invisalign is considered more comfortable than braces. Braces can also have sharp edges that can cut the tongue and inner lip if you are not careful.
Braces can’t be removed, so they remain in the teeth 24 hours a day and seven days a week. The problem with Invisalign is the trays are removable, so there is always the tendency for patients can’t comply with the suggested length of use.
Unfortunately, it is common for those who wear Invisalign to wear it less than the recommended time. This can lengthen the time needed to complete the treatment. Traditional braces are considered more effective when treating severely misaligned teeth. Invisalign, on the other hand, might not be able to treat overlapping teeth effectively.
Both Invisalign and braces have pros and cons when it comes to convenience. Some consider braces convenient as there is no need to take them out. However, they can also hinder you from eating certain foods, which can be inconvenient at times.
Invisalign can be a good option for those who want to eat their favourite hard or sticky foods. However, many people also tend to overlook wearing them based on the prescribed length. Not only that, there is also the tendency to misplace them. If you are prone to misplacing things, Invisalign might be the best option for you.
Care and Cleaning
The cleaning process is more straightforward when using braces since you can brush and floss like you normally would. If there is food stuck in the braces, you can always use a smaller brush.
With Invisalign, you can also brush and floss easily. However, additional effort is needed to ensure the trays are kept clean at all times. Each time you eat, you also need to clean the trays.
Cleaning the crevices of Invisalign trays can be tricky at times. This is especially true if you are away from home. When not cleaned accordingly, bacteria can build up and cause problems later on.
Whether you have Invisalign or braces, regular orthodontic appointments are required. For Invisalign, you might need to visit your dentist every 4 to 6 weeks. Those with braces might be required to visit the dentist every month.
Once completed, those with braces will need to wear a retainer (typically at night). Invisalign will also require that a tray is worn at night once the treatment has been completed.
Choosing between Invisalign and braces will all come down to personal choice. However, it is also recommended that you consider all the essential factors before making a decision. Lastly, check with your orthodontist. They can help you figure out the option that’s best for you.
About the Author
Dr Megan Peterson Boyle is the lead cosmetic dentist with Dental Studio 101 in Scottsdale, Arizona. She is focused on providing anxiety-free cosmetic dentistry services including Invisalign, dental implants, dental crowns and cosmetic fillings. She enjoys spending time outdoors with her friends and family.