Invisalign vs Traditional Braces: Which is Better?

11.01.2024

The pursuit of a perfect smile often leads individuals to consider orthodontic treatment. This is a dental treatment where the teeth are gradually moved into the correct position using orthodontic apparatus.

When presented with orthodontic treatment options, two options will commonly emerge as the most popular: Invisalign and traditional fixed braces. These are the two most commonly used systems to straighten teeth for patients of all ages.

Each method has its unique set of advantages and considerations, making the decision between them a crucial one. In this article, we will delve into the key differences between Invisalign and traditional braces to help you make an informed choice based on your dental needs and lifestyle.

What is Invisalign?

Invisalign is a modern orthodontic treatment that uses a series of clear plastic aligners to straighten the teeth. These removable aligners apply gentle pressure to the teeth in strategic points to help encourage the teeth to move into the optimum alignment. Treatment will typically take between 6 months to 2 years. It’s possible to accelerate the treatment plan by only focusing on a single arch, or just focusing on the top front 6 teeth that are visible when you smile.

What are the main advantages of Invisalign

What are the main advantages of Invisalign?

  • Aesthetics: One of the most significant advantages of Invisalign is its aesthetic appeal. These clear aligners are almost invisible, allowing individuals to straighten their teeth without the noticeable appearance of traditional braces. This feature makes Invisalign particularly appealing to those who are conscious of their appearance during orthodontic treatment.

  • Removability: Invisalign aligners are removable, providing a level of convenience that traditional braces lack. This allows individuals to enjoy their favourite foods without restrictions and simplifies oral hygiene practices. However, it's crucial to wear the aligners for the recommended 20-22 hours per day for optimal results.

  • Comfort: Invisalign aligners are custom-made for each individual, reducing the likelihood of discomfort often associated with traditional braces. The absence of metal brackets and wires means less irritation to the cheeks and gums, providing a more comfortable orthodontic experience. The aligners are laser-cut to fit your teeth and gums perfectly.

  • Less time consuming: At the start of your treatment, you will receive the full case of aligners and then change them at home every 10-14 days. You will only need to visit the dentist every 6-8 weeks, which can be far less time consuming than with traditional fixed braces.

What are the main disadvantages of Invisalign

What are the main disadvantages of Invisalign?

  • Have to remain disciplined: Invisalign treatment will rely on the wearer following the treatment plan. This means wearing the aligners for 20-22 hours per day. If you are forgetful or likely to lose your aligner, this might not be the right treatment plan for you.

  • Have to remove them to eat: You have to remove your aligners every time you eat or drink anything that isn’t water. You’ll then need to rinse them before you put them back in your mouth. If this sounds like a bother, fixed treatment might be more convenient for you.

  • Staining. There is the risk that your aligners could stain due to contact with any non-clear liquids. If you like to enjoy coffee or tea every day, you might struggle to continue enjoying these beverages without staining your aligners.

What are traditional braces?

Traditional braces are commonly used on the NHS, so if you have free orthodontic treatment as a teenager, it’s likely that traditional braces will be used. With this system, a small bracket is fixed to each tooth and then a wire is run between the brackets. Your dentist can then adjust the tension on the wire to apply strategic pressure to the teeth to help move them into the correct position. Treatment will typically take 1-2 years to complete.

What are the main advantages of traditional braces

What are the main advantages of traditional braces?

  • Suitable for complex cases: Traditional braces are often recommended for more complex orthodontic cases that may require extensive tooth movement or adjustments. They are effective in correcting various dental issues, including severe misalignments and bite problems.

  • Predictable results: Traditional braces have a proven track record of delivering predictable and successful results. Orthodontists have extensive experience with this method, making it a reliable choice for those seeking comprehensive and effective treatment.

  • No compliance concerns: Unlike Invisalign, traditional braces are fixed onto the teeth, eliminating concerns about compliance. Patients do not need to worry about consistently wearing and removing aligners, ensuring continuous progress in their orthodontic treatment.

What are the main disadvantages of fixed braces

What are the main disadvantages of fixed braces?

  • Diet changes: You will need to adjust your diet for the duration of the treatment. Some foods will be off-limits as they could damage your braces or get caught in the apparatus. Very hard foods like raw fruit and vegetables, pizza crusts and crusty bread are likely to be off-limits. You might also have to give up favourites like sweets and popcorn, as these can get stuck in your braces.

  • Appearance: Fixed metal braces are very obvious to those around you, so they might not be suitable if you are self-conscious about undergoing orthodontic treatment. There is an option to have tooth-coloured brackets and clear wires, but this still won’t be as discreet as Invisalign.

  • Daily care: You will need to take special care cleaning your teeth every day to ensure there is no food trapped in your braces. This can be very time-consuming and some people prefer the simplicity of removable braces for this reason.

  • Regular checkups: You need to visit the dentist regularly for adjustments, so it won’t be suitable for you if you don’t have a flexible schedule. Without these dental visits, your treatment won’t progress.

How to choose between Invisalign and fixed braces

How to choose between Invisalign and fixed braces

By this point, you should have a better understanding of the treatment options available to you. But understanding the treatment options doesn’t always make the decision any easier. You will need to consider the following factors when making a decision between Invisalign and fixed braces.

Treatment goals

The nature of your orthodontic issues plays a crucial role in determining the most suitable treatment. Invisalign is ideal for mild to moderate cases, while traditional braces may be recommended for more complex dental issues.

Lifestyle and preferences

Consider your lifestyle and personal preferences. If you value aesthetics, convenience, and the ability to remove your orthodontic device, Invisalign may be the better choice. However, if you prioritise a tried-and-true method and are comfortable with a fixed appliance, traditional braces might be the way to go.

Cost considerations

Cost is another significant factor. While both Invisalign and traditional braces have associated expenses, the costs may vary. Consult with your orthodontist to determine the financial aspects. In general, Invisalign will be the more expensive option, but payment plans are commonly available to help you to

Conclusion

In the Invisalign vs traditional braces debate, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. The decision ultimately depends on your specific dental needs, preferences, and lifestyle. Consulting with an experienced orthodontist will provide valuable insights into which option is better suited to achieve your desired results.

Whether you opt for the discreet and removable nature of Invisalign or the time-tested effectiveness of traditional braces, the goal remains the same – a healthier, straighter smile that boosts confidence and improves overall oral health.

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