Braces or Invisalign: Most Frequently Asked Questions
Is there a difference between braces and Invisalign in amount of discomfort?
With braces, you have metal brackets glued onto your teeth and they often rub on the inside of your cheeks which can cause ulcers to form and lead to discomfort as well as wires that can poke you in the cheek. With Invisalign there is nothing glued to your teeth that will cause you discomfort, no wires poking, no brackets that can come loose.
What about appearance?
Invisalign is clear and virtually invisible. There are clear braces that are glued to your teeth that are more esthetic than the large metal braces that are typically seen and those do have some benefits, but nothing compares to the clear removable aligners of Invisalign.
Which works better, braces or Invisalign?
Braces and Invisalign are both able to accomplish many of the same goals. Braces move the teeth in larger increments in the first months, creating the appearance of straight teeth quickly. However, treatment extends past those first months in order to correct the position of the teeth in a detailed manner. Invisalign reaches the same place but each tooth is being moved in a very prescribed, detailed manner throughout treatment. You wont see the fast result at the beginning but rather gradual improvement over the same amount of time as braces. Treatment planning is done on a computer using Invisalign’s software program. A digital image of your teeth and bite is created, and from that digital image the teeth are moved in a prescribed manner set up by your doctor. If you compare Invisalign to braces you will find that tooth movement is quite the same and in some cases with Invisalign it is that much better because it is 100% prescribed, in other words, only the teeth you want to move will actually move.
Oral hygiene and tooth brushing?
With fixed braces, pretty much everything you eat will stick around those brackets and wires. With Invisalign you get to remove your aligners, take them out to eat, brush, and floss like you normally would and then put them back in. Oral hygiene with Invisalign is definitely easier.
Is there a difference in what I can eat?
With braces there are restrictions regarding chewing gum, caramels, taffy and other hard, chewy, sticky things that can stick to your braces and break your wires and brackets. With Invisalign, you simply remove them, eat your favorite food and brush your teeth.
What about emergencies?
There is a big difference between Invisalign and braces when it comes to emergencies. This could be a factor in deciding which treatment is right for busy patients with hectic schedules. Typically with braces you will have emergency visits that require replacements of brackets that are falling off or wires that need to be clipped because they are poking. Often, if you play a sport, you will have injuries related to balls or arms hitting your face. With Invisalign, you have zero emergencies, there is nothing to be broken. If you do get hit in the face with an arm, a hand, a ball, the aligners actually protect your teeth from injury.
Treatment time, how long does it take? Is it much longer with Invisalign?
The answer is treatment time is highly dependent on the patient’s cooperation. If you compare a patient with braces and an Invisalign patient who is following all my instructions perfectly, then they will typically both finish treatment on time. Patients that don’t wear their aligners and patients that keep breaking their braces will have longer treatment times. So in regards to treatment time, it is very dependent on cooperation.
What about cost? Does Invisalign cost more than braces?
In the beginning when Invisalign first came out, it was significantly more expensive than braces and the cost was prohibitive for many people. Fortunately with the technology today that Invisalign has developed and the 1.5 million patients that have been treated with Invisalign, the cost has come down significantly.
Finally, what is best for you? Braces or Invisalign?
That is a question that we can only answer when we sit down and look over your teeth, your bite and your situation. We offer a complimentary exam and consultation and we invite you to call our office: 925-298-4400