Differences Between Braces and Invisalign
In the search for a beautiful smile, people with teeth alignment issues often have to choose between two main options: traditional braces or Invisalign. Although similar in many ways, these two orthodontic treatment options have unique peculiarities. Understanding the differences between braces and Invisalign will help you make an informed choice between them. In this article, we’ll highlight the main differences between traditional braces and clear aligners.
What is a Brace?
A traditional brace is an orthodontic device typically made of metal or ceramic material. It consists of brackets or bands attached to individual teeth and connected by flexible archwires. The wires hold the brackets together, so they stay in place and firmly apply pressure on the teeth to get them into the desired position. As the position of the teeth changes over time, the wires are adjusted or tightened periodically until the treatment is completed.
What is Invisalign?
Invisalign is the brand name for one of the most popular clear aligners in the market. This orthodontic device is a type of invisible brace made from medical-grade plastic material. Invisalign treatment involves using a set of mouthpieces custom-made for a patient’s mouth to correct dental malocclusions.
The clear plastic tray applies controlled pressure to the teeth, guiding them into the desired position over time. Over the course of their treatment, patients will switch between mouthpieces of different sizes as the position of their teeth changes.
Differences Between Braces and Invisalign
Technically, Invisalign is a type of brace which is why people sometimes call them invisible braces. Both devices operate on the same general principle to adjust the position of a person’s teeth. Here are a few key differences between Invisalign and traditional braces.
Invisalign is a discreet alternative to traditional braces. The difference in appearance is due to the materials these two devices are made of. While braces are typically made from stainless steel or colored ceramic material and may include other elements like wires and rubber bands, Invisalign is a thin clear tray that’s practically invisible. The invisible nature of Invisalign is one of the main selling points of this dental device.
This does present some peculiar challenges for Invisalign users. Patients who opt to get Invisalign trays have to remove them each time they eat or drink anything apart from water. Clear plastic materials tend to get stained by food. A change of color will make them less discrete.
Comfort and Convenience
Braces are fixed permanently to the teeth. Throughout your treatment (no matter how long it takes), the brace remains a permanent fixture in your mouth that can only be removed by a professional.
Invisalign trays are removable, which makes them quite convenient in some ways. It’s easier to maintain oral hygiene and clean the trays themselves whenever you need to.
Of course, this does not mean you have the freedom to simply remove the device anytime and expect it to work. Patients with Invisalign still have to wear the trays for at least 22 hours per day. This means you should only remove clear aligners when necessary, such as when brushing your teeth or cleaning the tray.
Clear aligners also have fewer food restrictions compared to traditional braces. Orthodontists typically advise against eating foods that stick to the mouth or are hard to chew, such as candy, popcorn, and so on. Invisalign is more convenient in this regard since you can simply remove the aligner tray when you need to eat and pop them back in conveniently.
Traditional braces have been around for years, and they’re considered almost universally effective for all kinds of orthodontic issues, including very complex cases. Unlike Invisalign trays that move the teeth collectively, metal brackets are attached directly to individual teeth, which makes them more powerful compared to clear aligners.
Transparent aligners are still considered very effective for simple or minor cases of overbite, underbite, and tooth gap, but it’s unlikely to work for serious cases such as overlapping or rotated teeth.
Another factor that contributes to the effectiveness of traditional braces is their semi-permanent nature. Since they’re removable, the effectiveness of a clear aligner is completely up to the patient. You’ll only get the desired results by complying with the suggested duration of use. The teeth are going to shift back into their previous position if they’re not worn on schedule.
In terms of their overall cost, traditional braces tend to cost less compared to Invisalign. On average, getting braces will cost anywhere between $2,500 to $8,000. Although Invisalign costs around the same price, the actual cost of your treatment depends on the number of trays you need to get.
More trays will be needed for complex dental issues. Generally, most people are able to get full or at least partial coverage for traditional braces. But some insurance companies don’t cover Invisalign because it is considered a cosmetic treatment. Talk to your orthodontist in Waterbury to discuss the specific details of your treatment and how much it’ll cost you.
Dental Office Visits
Traditional braces will require more doctor visits as part of your overall orthodontic treatment. That’s because you need doctors to adjust the wires as the position of your teeth continues to change.
With Invisalign treatment, you’ll get all your trays at the start of your treatment, meaning you don’t have to return to the orthodontist each time you need to move to a new tray. You do need to attend a few appointments throughout the course of your treatment. These are routine visits to check the progress of your treatment and the effectiveness of the tray.
As you can see from these differences, both traditional braces and Invisalign treatment have their unique pros and cons. Which one to go for is up to you, but it also depends on the severity of your dental issue. Call to schedule a free appointment or visit our orthodontic clinic to speak to an orthodontist in Waterbury and find out which of these treatment options is right for you.