If you’ve been considering straightening your teeth, you may be a bit perplexed at the multitude of choices available. In this extensive guide, we’ll explore the advantages and limitations of both traditional braces and clear aligners (Invisalign braces) to help you decide which option is right for you.
What are traditional braces?
Traditional braces consist of standard metal brackets that are placed on your teeth with an adhesive and connected by wire. They require periodic tightening every 4-6 weeks so steady pressure can gradually straighten your teeth and align your jaw.
What are the benefits of traditional braces?
Suitable for all treatments
With braces it doesn’t matter how difficult your situation is. You may have multiple dental and facial issues that need correcting - braces can be used to fix each one so you finish treatment with an incredible smile. Braces use anchors and an arch wire to pull the teeth into place, making them the most powerful treatment method in moving teeth into a desired position.
Possible to achieve a perfect result
Braces can often achieve a better result than Invisalign. This is because braces have more force to move teeth into the desired position, whereas Invisalign is limited in terms of how much teeth can be moved at a time.
Multiple types of braces to choose from
Braces are not just the traditional metal brackets and wires. Patients now have the choice of lingual and ceramic braces to ensure the braces are less noticeable. So it’s possible to benefit from the power of braces without the metal look if that’s a feature you’re concerned about.
Faster treatment time
One thing for you to keep in mind is: which is faster, braces or Invisalign? Generally, when closing gaps and aligning teeth the treatment time can be faster with braces vs Invisalign. Speed of treatment can be a big factor as many people like to get their orthodontic treatment finished as fast as possible. The skill and experience of the specialist orthodontist can also contribute to consistently faster treatment times.
What are the limitations of traditional braces?
Aesthetics of braces
Some people don’t like the more obvious look of traditional braces. They are worried they will feel self conscious about their appearance in some social settings.
Brushing your teeth
Brushing and flossing your teeth is a little more difficult with braces. If you don’t clean your teeth properly, you risk having plaque build up around the braces which can lead to staining and decay. Patients need to follow the instructions of their orthodontist on how to correctly brush and floss while your braces are on.
Diet and food preparation
Some care needs to be taken with the food and drink you consume with braces. Hard and sticky foods can cause the arch wire to break or a bracket to dislodge from a tooth. Once this happens, the braces won’t work until you have the breakage repaired. Multiple breakages can prolong your treatment time.
More regular visits to the orthodontist are required with braces to check on progress and have them adjusted. Around once per month your orthodontist will check how much your teeth have moved and make changes so they continue to move your teeth in the direction they need to go. Invisalign patients visit the surgery roughly bi-monthly because their aligners have already been made and can be changed without the orthodontist.
What is Invisalign?
Invisalign is an invisible orthodontics technique that allows the correction of your teeth to produce an improved smile. Invisalign does not use metal wires as braces do, and they are virtually invisible when being worn. Special trays are custom made for your teeth, and every few weeks you wear a new tray, designed to eventually straighten your teeth.
What are the benefits of Invisalign?
Invisalign looks more subtle
The biggest benefit of Invisalign is that the retainers are virtually invisible. Adult patients and teens alike love that colleagues and clients can’t see they are undergoing orthodontic treatment. With Invisalign you don’t go through a period of people commenting on your new braces. You won’t be worried about your smile in photos - all you will see in photos is the progress of your ever-improving smile.
You can take the aligners out to eat
For best results Invisalign needs to be worn for 20 - 22 hours each day, which means you can take your aligners out when you are eating. This means you don’t have to change what you eat or how you eat it. With braces people find some types of foods difficult or uncomfortable to eat.
It’s easier to brush and floss your teeth
As well as when eating and drinking, you’ll also remove your Invisalign retainers to brush your teeth. With nothing on your teeth to worry about, you can continue brushing and flossing as you did previously.
Fewer consultations required
With Invisalign, much of the orthodontist’s work happens before you wear your aligners. A 3D scan of your teeth is used for making all the customised retainers in a laboratory. You should change the multiple sets of retainers on your orthodontist’s directions. There is no need to visit the orthodontics for adjustments so visits are kept to a minimum to check on progress. Few visits to the orthodontist means less time off work.
Comfortable to wear
You may be wondering “are braces or invisalign more painful?” Moving teeth around with Invisalign can be uncomfortable and painful, much like traditional braces. However, there are also fewer mouth and gum problems with Invisalign. Invisalign retainers are made of a special plastic and fitted to each patients mouth, so - unlike braces - there are typically no cuts on the inside cheeks or salt washes to deal with
What are the limitations of Invisalign?
Patients need to be disciplined
Being able to remove your aligners is both a pro and a con. If you aren’t someone who is disciplined about putting your aligners back in your mouth after eating or brushing, you aren’t going to wear them the required 22 hours per day. Your treatment may not produce the best results if the aligners aren’t worn as long. The major reason for Invisalign treatment failing primarily relates to lack of patient compliance with wearing the aligners.
Taking your aligners in and out can be inconvenient
Aligners need to be removed before eating and drinking anything other than water. When you are out in public, you need to remove your aligners discreetly and not lose them. Before replacing your aligners, you need to brush your teeth. Food particles can stop your teeth from moving and can stain your aligners. You are also at increased risk of cavities and bad breath.
We are often asked “is it cheaper to get braces or Invisalign?” Due to advances in the 3D scanning technology and the flexible material involved in making the aligners, the cost of Invisalign can be similar to braces. Depending on the specific problem, some treatment is difficult if not impossible to achieve with Invisalign alone so your orthodontist may discuss the possibility of finalising tooth positions with braces which could result in a more expensive treatment. Lingual (inside) braces are often compared to Invisalign because they both offer an almost invisible appearance. Like Invisalign, lingual braces are a fully custom option so they are more expensive than traditional braces.
Invisalign effectiveness vs Braces
Invisalign is not always the best treatment method. It’s typically not recommended for more complex orthodontic cases. Before deciding on which treatment you should use, ask your orthodontist if you can expect the same result from all methods. This will allow you to make an informed decision on which type of treatment is right for you. An experienced and ethical orthodontist will advise you on the best treatment options for your own specific situation.
Some Invisalign patients require attachments to help the aligners grip and move teeth into place. You may need only a couple or you may need them on most teeth. While the button-like attachments are similar to the colour of your teeth, they can look like you’re wearing clear braces rather than aligners.
Fast track braces, clear teeth aligners and more at Dr Rez
Are you looking for straighter teeth? Expert dental professionals at Dr Rez excel when it comes to teeth aligning. With continuous advances in technology, orthodontic treatment (teeth straightening) has never been more popular. At Dr Rez Dental we offer both traditional braces from FASTBRACES® and the more discreet Invisalign® clear aligner to achieve the smile you have always wanted. Contact us today to find out more about our fantastic treatment options.
Been a Dr. Rez patient for around 4 years now. From initially needing a lot of work done to now just regular check ups and cleaning. I can confidently say it's been one of my best decisions. From being a very nervous patient to now quite enjoying my appointment (relatively anyway ha). Currently my therapist is Lilly, very ably assisted by Mel and they couldn't be more encouraging, thoughtful and nice. I get great advice and couldn't feel better looked after. Couldn't recommend more.