It used to be that if you wanted to straighten your teeth, you would have to consign yourself to years of metal braces. In the early 2000s, however, Invisalign hit the scene, promising straighter teeth using clear aligners that were less restrictive (and less noticeable) than traditional braces.
Since then, technological advances have been made in both traditional braces and clear aligners, though the principles behind each remain the same. So which option do you choose if you are looking for a straighter smile? Let’s go over the pros and cons of each option.
Traditional braces have been around for a long time, and the process has been fine tuned to the point that they are reliably effective in almost every case. Unlike Invisalign, braces can even be used on teeth that are severely crooked or overlapped.
Additionally, because braces are bonded to the teeth and cannot be removed, they will constantly be at work shifting the teeth into the right positions. Invisalign aligners, on the other hand, can be removed, which could result in inconsistent or slowed results.
Straightening your teeth doesn’t come cheap, but when it comes to cost, traditional braces tend to be the more cost effective option. Not only do braces usually cost less, but they also fix most problems without additional interventions. Patients who choose Invisalign may end up having to get traditional braces for a period of time, increasing the overall cost of their treatment.
Caring for traditional braces is one of their biggest downsides. Patients with traditional braces have to be very particular about caring for their braces and their teeth throughout treatment.
This means brushing and flossing every day, and being sure to clean out any food that gets stuck in the braces. Patients will also need to visit the dentist regularly for cleanings. Plus, patients will need to avoid certain foods, especially anything that is hard or sticky. This can be a difficult regimen for some people to stick to, but it is vital for making sure your braces can do their job properly, without causing damage to the teeth.
CON: Appearance and comfort
The other major disadvantages of traditional braces are appearance and comfort. Metal braces are visible in the mouth and drastically change the way you look. They are also fairly uncomfortable, especially at first, since the brackets are putting constant pressure on the teeth.
PRO: Discreet appearance
One of the main reasons people even consider Invisalign is the discreet appearance. Most people won’t even be able to tell that you are wearing a clear aligner. This makes Invisalign a great option for professionals and others who could be impacted by the appearance of traditional braces.
Clear aligners can be removed, and they should be removed for meals and brushing. That means that Invisalign users can eat and drink as they normally would, and can brush and floss normally. This also makes the aligners easy to clean; they just have to soak in a cleaning solution, or be brushed gently with a toothbrush. Clear aligners may also be a better option for athletes, since traditional braces could pose a safety hazard.
While the fact that clear aligners are removable is definitely a selling point, it also creates some inconvenience. Having to take out and put in the aligners several times a day can get tedious, especially because the aligners and your teeth should be cleaned before you put them back in. You are supposed to wear the aligners for 22 hours a day, and if you’re unable to or you forget, it is going to slow down your treatment and delay your results.
Plus, removable aligners can get lost or broken.
Each set of clear aligners is custom-made to fit a patient’s mouth, which increases the price significantly. While the cost of both traditional braces and Invisalign can vary widely, Invisalign typically ends up being the more expensive option for most patients.
If you aren’t sure whether you should choose traditional braces or Invisalign, talk to your dentist. They should be able to help you choose the better option for your teeth, as well as refer you to a qualified orthodontist. No matter which route you take, you can be confident that you’ll end up with a straighter smile! For more information, contact Smile Concepts, Scottsdale top family dentist, today to schedule a consultation.