Going to the orthodontist is scary! We get it. Usually, an orthodontist is one of the first specialists you’ll see, and there are so many different treatment options that it may feel overwhelming. Our patients have many questions about braces and Invisalign, no matter how young or old they are. So we thought we’d take the time to answer the most common ones here.
What’s the difference between braces and Invisalign? Is one option “better” than the other? How do you choose the right orthodontic treatment for your specific case? Keep reading to learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of braces versus Invisalign.
What Are Braces?
You probably immediately think of a mouth full of metal brackets and wire when you think of orthodontic treatment. There’s a good reason why traditional metal braces are such a common and popular treatment. With advancements in orthodontic technology, metal braces are more comfortable than they’ve ever been before.
Additionally, you can also choose clear ceramic braces instead of metal ones. These brackets are clear or white and almost unnoticeable compared to metal brackets. People commonly say that ceramic braces are more comfortable than metal ones as the brackets are less sharp.
Braces work to correct any dental issues with your teeth, including misalignments, crowding, and crooked teeth. Brackets are secured to each tooth using bonding cement and connected by an archwire to slowly move your teeth into the right place. Sometimes brackets will have hooks on them, and your orthodontist will have you wear elastics to fix the alignment of your bite.
Do I Need Headgear With My Braces?
We get it. We’ve all watched the movies with the nerdy character who has a mouth full of metal braces and headgear. So we understand the hesitation that comes with the idea of having to lug around headgear all day. But it’s relatively rare that you’ll need to wear headgear as part of your treatment, much less during all hours of the day.
Headgear is used to correct bite alignment and can be used with younger patients while their jawbones are still growing. Orthodontists only recommend headgear for more severe cases of misalignment. Depending on your specific case, you will have to wear the headgear for 12-14 hours daily. This means you can get away with only wearing it at home while you sleep.
What Is Invisalign?
Invisalign uses clear retainer trays to correct the alignment of your teeth. We take impressions from your mouth and then use a specialized program to generate custom aligner trays for your teeth. The treatment works by slowly switching trays that gradually change the alignment of your teeth, leaving you with a beautiful smile at the end.
Similar to braces, where brackets have hooks for attachments, Invisalign sometimes requires what the company calls “SmartForce” attachments. SmartForce attachments are small tooth-coloured shapes that attach directly to your teeth. They give your Invisalign aligners something to grip on and help with more complex tooth movements. These attachments are barely noticeable, and not every patient will need them!
Braces Versus Invisalign – Which Is Better?
Both Invisalign and braces have unique benefits and drawbacks that you’ll have to consider. We’ll go over some of the pros and cons of choosing each treatment choice here, but ultimately the best way to figure out which option is “better” for you is to book a virtual consultation session with an orthodontist. An experienced orthodontist will assess your situation and recommend the right treatment option based on what will work best for your lifestyle.
Advantages Of Braces
With braces, as we mentioned above, you get the choice between traditional metal braces or clear ceramic braces. This means you can still choose a more low-profile and subtle treatment option. Additionally, braces sometimes utilize rubber bands around the brackets to increase the pressure on your teeth, and most offices have fun customizable elastic colours. You can change the colour of your rubber bands every time you come in for a check-up!
Braces are an excellent choice for more complex treatment cases. Because of their design, they can correct different issues simultaneously. Because braces are always on your teeth, they offer steady pressure. You can always be sure that your treatment is working. There’s no forgetting to put in your aligner trays and setting back your treatment.
Advantages Of Invisalign
Many people prefer the idea of Invisalign because they don’t want people to know they’re undergoing orthodontic treatment. In addition, Invisalign is a popular choice for adult patients who may feel self-conscious about having braces as older individuals. Because the aligner trays are clear, you never have to worry about other people noticing them. As long as you keep them nice and clean, it’s almost impossible to tell you have Invisalign trays in!
Because Invisalign doesn’t involve brackets, you won’t experience your cheeks being cut up by the metal brackets. Also, every Invisalign aligner tray is custom-made for your teeth and bite, so it’s a perfect fit every time.
Disadvantages Of Braces
Braces are a visible form of orthodontic treatment, making individuals very self-conscious. Additionally, if you choose traditional metal braces, the brackets can be sharp at the beginning of your treatment. As a result, you may experience some pain and cuts on the inside of your mouth.
Additionally, because we want to avoid breaking any of your brackets and delaying your treatment, there are certain foods you’ll have to avoid. This includes sticky foods like gum and candy. It can also include hard foods that can get stuck in your teeth and brackets, like popcorn and nuts. Many patients experience an adjustment period after they get their braces on since you can’t just bite into an apple anymore!
Lastly, a large disadvantage to braces is you will have to learn to clean them properly. Because there’s so much new hardware in your mouth, you’ll have to use new tools and floss types to properly get around your brackets and archwire. Keeping your braces clean is imperative to maintaining good oral health!
Disadvantages of Invisalign
Because Invisalign only works when you wear your clear aligner trays, you should be wearing them all of the time, except for when you’re eating or drinking anything other than water. Many people feel self-conscious about taking their aligners out every time they need to eat or drink; navigating this, especially when you’re out at a restaurant or in your office, can be difficult.
Additionally, because of the nature of the clear aligner trays, you must properly brush and floss your teeth before putting your trays back in. There are two major reasons for this. Firstly, you don’t want to trap food in your aligner trays. Secondly, not brushing up after eating can cause staining on your trays. Once your trays are stained, they can be difficult to clean. Also, people will be able to see your aligner trays while you’re wearing them more easily.
In some offices, Invisalign treatment is more expensive than getting braces. This could impact whether or not it’s the right financial choice for you. At Legacy Orthodontics, we charge the same amount for braces and Invisalign!
Which Is The Better Treatment Choice?
Ultimately choosing a treatment option will come down to how complex your specific case is. Your orthodontist will recommend a treatment course, taking in mind what your lifestyle is. In many cases, you can choose between braces or Invisalign. The clinic will go over the advantages and disadvantages of each treatment option again during your appointment!
Visit Legacy Orthodontics
Ready to take the first step and get your dream smile? Book a virtual consultation with our office today. Our qualified and professional orthodontists and team in Edmonton, Alberta, are here to help you get the smile you’ve always wanted.