If you are considering straightening your (or your children’s’) teeth, chances are that you have tons of questions regarding treatment. When choosing between metal braces and Invisalign, you might be wondering which is more effective or more affordable. The great news is that both methods get the job done, and each has its benefits. At Implant and Comprehensive Dentistry in Champions Gate, FL, we offer orthodontic care and treatment that can transform your smile.
If you are currently suffering from irregularities in your jaw and teeth, you may be the right candidate for such corrective treatments. You don’t have to live with a closed or unhappy grin anymore. With adequately positioned teeth, you can enjoy an even, uncrowded smile that captures the room every time. If you currently need care for a crossbite, crowding, misplaced midline, open bite, overbite, underbite, or spacing issues, you may benefit from having braces placed on your teeth.
Braces vs Invisalign: Which Type Are the Best?
As with many types of dental treatments, that answer is that it depends on your lifestyle. For example, if you eat lots of hard and sticky foods like popcorn or caramel, metal might not be a good option for you. Likewise, if you can’t remember to remove your aligners before you eat or drink, they might not be for you, either.
Both methods require work on your part. With Invisalign, you have to brush your teeth after every meal if you want to avoid staining. Similarly, if you do not properly care for your metal braces, they can cause tooth discoloration. Let’s have a closer look at what you can consider if you have to choose between the two.
What’s the Difference?
Braces are typically made of silver, though you can pay more for your favorite color or ones that match your enamel. Invisalign mouthpieces are made out of clear plastic and are custom-designed for you to wear over your teeth. Unlike traditional methods, this treatment is non-invasive – there are no uncomfortable X-ray processes or gross-tasting impression molds. 3D technology makes it easy to scan your mouth and create a custom mouthpiece using 3D prints.
Traditional methods require brackets and wires that can break easily and get caught with food. Many adults find Invisalign appealing because it appears invisible and is easy to wear and clean. However, they come with a few additional responsibilities that traditional methods do not, such as remembering to wear them and not taking them out every five minutes.
Length of Treatment
Some patients only have to wear their invisible mouthpiece for only 22 hours a day, with a much shorter use time of six to 18 months. You cannot remove traditional braces and may have to wear them for an average of two years, though most patients see results in just 16 to 18 months. For the average patient, you can expect to wear either treatment for about the same length of time.
Who Should Not Get Braces?
Many people assume that traditional orthodontic treatments are only for kids, but that is not always the case. There are occurrences where an adult may need traditional alignments to correct issues. Adult teeth can shift and move just like a child’s, especially if you do not have all of them. For example, if you lose a tooth or have a condition where an adult tooth will not grow, you may need help preventing your other teeth from creating large gaps.
The only people who should probably not get traditional metal are those involved in heavy contact sports such as hockey or football, as the brackets could cut the inside of your mouth if you fall, get hit with a ball, or are tackled.
Who Should Not Get Invisalign?
Patients who have existing bridgework or a lack of discipline to wear their aligners for the correct amount of time are not ideal candidates. Similarly, this treatment won’t work if you have back tooth bite issues or the need to move or rotate your teeth. If you go days without wearing your aligners or don’t have the patience to clean them, you are probably better off with a more permanent solution.
Cost & Maintenance
Depending on the condition of your teeth, braces can cost between $1,800 and $5,500, while aligners generally cost a flat rate of around $5,000 to $8,000. Most insurance companies cover these for kids under 18 and typically won’t cover such treatments for adults. Regardless of your age, some health plans may cover a percentage of invisible aligners.
There are several ways that you can save money on aligners. Aside from being partially covered by most insurance, you can also take advantage of flexible spending accounts, health savings accounts, or set up an in-house payment plan if your provider offers one. If you are not sure if you have spending accounts with your insurance, you can call and ask.
Follow Up Visits
When you go with a traditional alignment, you will have to visit your dentist’s office once a month to ensure that everything is going the way it should. After they are removed, you may need to wear a nightly retainer to continue enjoying your results. With Invisalign, all you have to do is change your aligner trays every 14 days and return for a visit every four to six weeks. You still may need to wear an ongoing nightly retainer.
Cleaning & Maintenance
Since metal brackets act as a barrier for your teeth, cleaning them can sometimes be a little tricky. A regular toothbrush doesn’t do a complete job most of the time, requiring you to purchase an electric version or spindle brushes to help remove stuck food. First, you’ll have to brush beneath each bracket, then above and below them. Next, you’ll brush between the brackets and beneath the wire.
With invisible aligners, you’ll have to remove them from your mouth and clean them every morning, along with brushing and flossing your teeth as usual. After a simple rinse with cold water, you’ll soak your trays in a cleaning solution and replace them with clean ones.
Why Go Traditional?
Metal brackets are typically used to treat complex issues such as severely rotated bicuspids. They are also securely attached to your teeth. Due to the way rounded teeth are shaped, aligners may not grasp or move them into the correct position. This treatment is also very beneficial to anyone who cannot resist the temptation of not wearing their mouthpiece.
They apply equal pressure on your teeth instead of aligners, which only puts pressure on the upper parts of your teeth. Therefore, traditional methods can move your teeth entirely – including their roots. Patients have used them to correct cosmetic and structural issues for decades, and continue to be a go-to option for many.
Why Choose Invisalign?
On the contrary, many patients prefer an invisible method because it looks better. Since most people associate traditional methods with youth, some adults may find it embarrassing to have a mouth full of metal, especially when working in a career that requires public speaking. Plus, when it’s time to brush and floss, all you have to do is simply pop them off and then replace them when you’re done.
Braces have been around forever, and invisible aligners have been around for about 20 years or so. Orthodontic treatment has dramatically evolved and changed over the years, so there are still some common misconceptions about each treatment.
Traditional Methods Are for Kids
While most people get a mouthful of metal when they are young, it is not uncommon for adults to wear them. You can benefit from such treatment no matter your age. Sometimes families cannot afford them, and in some cases, orthodontics wasn’t a priority when you usually would have gotten them.
Traditional Methods Cause Pain
Perhaps you never fixed your crooked teeth because you were too worried that traditional methods are painful. Fortunately, this misconception is a huge stereotype, and the truth is that your brackets and wires may cause slight temporary soreness but will not cause pain.
Aligners Are Purely Cosmetic
When Invisalign first came out, it was only designed to treat acute cosmetic problems, such as a few shifted teeth. Many people still believe that this treatment can only correct cosmetic issues. The truth is that aligners can treat more than just crooked teeth.
When your teeth become more aligned, your risk of developing gum disease goes down. Plus, they correct bite issues that can lead to sleep apnea, chewing problems, and jaw aches. With a proper bite, you can lower your risk of developing cavities, gum disease, and tooth loss.
Aligners Work for Everyone
Unfortunately, aligners cannot treat every case of misalignment. If your teeth are short or severely worn down, this may not be a suitable option. Likewise, aligners cannot correct severely displaced teeth, multiple missing teeth, or problems that require jaw surgery. It will also not work if you have numerous teeth still buried under your gums.
Aligners Are Only for Adults
Many believe that aligners are only for use on adult teeth when the truth is that children and teenagers can wear them, too. As long as your child is disciplined enough to wear them for the prescribed time, regularly clean them, and not lose them, aligners are an acceptable option.
Aligners Work Faster Than Traditional Treatment
One of the biggest misconceptions is that aligners work faster than metal. In reality, both work at about the same speed, and how long it takes depends on each person. Some people may experience faster results with Invisalign, while it may work slower for others. Generally, either treatment takes about the same length of time.
All Dentists Have Experience With Aligners
Even though clear aligners may be a popular treatment option, not all dentists have experience with this kind of treatment. Aligners are very different from traditional methods and require a steep learning curve, even for orthodontists with years of experience with conventional methods. If you chose this option, it is best to make sure that you select a skilled and experienced provider who has experience fitting for aligners.
Start Straightening Your Teeth Today!
While braces and invisible aligners work the same, each has a few key differences that may impact which one you choose. Traditional alignment treatments are time-tested, stationary, and can correct severe structural problems from the root up. Invisible aligners are comfortable, allow for better dental hygiene, and make it possible for you to eat almost anything you want.
If you are ready to enjoy a beautiful smile that boosts your self-confidence and improves your overall oral health, consider it time to correct your crooked teeth. If you are having trouble deciding which type of treatment is best for you, call Implant and Comprehensive Dentistry in Champions Gate, FL today to schedule a consultation. Our experienced team is enthusiastic about helping you restore and enhance the natural beauty of your teeth.