Braces vs Invisalign: What’s the Best Orthodontic Solution for You?

braces vs invisalign

Until the turn of the millennium, resolving dental misalignment was often a case of getting braces for the teeth. Though effective, these dental appliances could have been more discreet and comfortable. Nowadays, patients can choose between braces and clear aligners — or, as they’re more well known, Invisalign treatment. Though Invisalign is the newer and more innovative favourite, some patients still prefer the trusty hold of a pair of classic braces.

Why do some still prefer to keep things old school while others embrace the clear solution of the future? There are valid arguments for either treatment. Let’s review each option to determine which orthodontic solution is for you.

Invisalign: Pros

Invisalign is an orthodontic treatment consisting of clear, plastic dental trays customised to the patient’s mouth. Patients will trade their old trays for newer versions every one to two weeks, keeping their fittings up-to-date to their ever-evolving smile. There may be frequent changeovers, but this process has a faster average turnaround time than braces. Let’s review the positives of Invisalign treatment.

1. Aesthetics

Perhaps the most obvious advantage of Invisalign treatment is that it doesn’t draw attention to itself — blink, and you’ll miss it! To notice the plastic casing around your teeth, you must either squint or seek it specifically. This discreet look may be a welcome relief following braces, which are less subtle in their appearance.

2. Removability

For another thing, you can remove Invisalign — though you shouldn’t become too liberal with this, as aligners must sit on top of your teeth for 22 or more hours daily to work their magic. Remove Invisalign when eating or drinking anything other than water, and enjoy a cleaner treatment where the appliance does not make contact with food particles.

3. Comfort

As a plastic cover for your teeth, Invisalign is the most comfortable orthodontic treatment on the market. Slip them on and off easily and enjoy misalignment correction virtually — if not wholly — pain-free.

4. Quick Turnaround Time

Of course, every case is different, and Invisalign can take as long as braces to work — especially in complex cases. That said, the average turnaround time for Invisalign is six to eighteen months. You’ll be smiling straighter in no time!

Invisalign: Cons

While Invisalign is — for the most part — an improvement on braces, it does have some pitfalls. Would you be willing to endure the following for the latest orthodontic technology?

1. More Frequent Changeovers

As Invisalign moulds your smile back into shape, you must trade your old trays for fresh moulds once every one to two weeks. While not a major con, it’s something you’ll undoubtedly have to track in addition to your check-ins with the dentist or orthodontist every four to six weeks. Some may consider this extra mental admin.

2. Higher Maintenance

As well as the weekly or fortnightly changeovers, wearing Invisalign means keeping a cleaner bill of dental health than ever before. Every time you eat or drink anything other than water, you must brush your teeth to ensure no food particles or residue dirty up your aligners. This may present an inconvenience when you’re out and about.

3. Can Be More Expensive

Let’s not sugar-coat it: any orthodontic treatment will set you back a few thousand. However, if you have severe dental misalignment, the average ballpark figure for a complete Invisalign treatment is between $6,000–$9,000. While minor Invisalign treatments can start as low as $3,000, braces may be a better catch-all solution for a potential few thousand less.

Braces: Pros

For some, the higher maintenance and more considerable expenses are enough to make them stick with classic braces. Let’s explore why some patients prefer not to fix what ain’t broken.

1. They’re a Catch-All Solution

While Invisalign moulds itself to a specific dental issue — overbite, underbite, crossbite, dental crowding or dental spacing — braces are more of a one-size-fits-all deal. You could have dental or facial alignment issues so severe that only the heavy-duty anchors and archwires of braces could combat them. If you have a complex case, you may wish to stick with braces.

2. Multiple Types Available

If aesthetics are an issue, some options are more discreet than braces with noticeable metal brackets and wires. You may wish to try lingual braces, which sit inside the teeth, or ceramic braces, which have clear brackets. While Invisalign is a step up, that doesn’t mean orthodontists have ceased to continue upgrading their old faithful appliance.

3. Can Be More Cost-Effective

Braces are seldom cheaper than minor Invisalign treatments, but if you require major orthodontic correction, they may be cheaper than a complete Invisalign treatment. A ballpark range for classic metal braces is between $4,500–$8,000. (Please note this is an average, and costs depend on the situation. You should book a consultation for personalised quotes.)

Braces: Cons

Of course, Invisalign is the trending orthodontic solution of the 21st century, so braces will inevitably retain the (sometimes literal) pain points that Invisalign addresses. Let’s review the bad and the ugly about braces.

1. Aesthetics

Braces’ aesthetics — or lack thereof — are such a significant pain point that you could argue it’s what motivated Invisalign into existence. The brand name itself refers to having invisible — as opposed to obvious — alignment. Braces’ appearance can attract schoolyard teasing, which may be an issue for children. Braces also have negative associations or portrayals in the media.

2. Comfort

Braces are built to align teeth, which can come at the cost of comfort. They are affixed firmly to the teeth, which may feel uncomfortable or painful, and only a dentist or orthodontist can remove them. Braces can also cause gum irritation or pose an issue if you have a metal allergy. You won’t get this issue with Invisalign.

3. Harder To Clean

Because you can’t remove braces, you will almost definitely catch food particles in them. While Invisalign makes zero contact with food or beverages, braces may require fiddly cleaning. Speaking of cleaning, braces will add barriers between your daily brushing and flossing routine. Unlike removable clear aligners, braces are an appliance you must work around.

4. Longer Turnaround Time

While treatment durations can overlap depending on case severity, braces have an average turnaround time of one to three years. Though this is not necessarily a significant amount of time, Invisalign can sometimes get the job done in half the time — or less.

To Embrace Braces or Invisibly Align?

After reviewing the pros and cons, you may have a clearer idea of whether clear aligners are for you or if you prefer to stick to the traditional side of the tracks. Your decision will ultimately depend on your orthodontic issues (and how severe they are) and how much you’re willing to spend.

Stanley St. Dental is a dentist in Melbourne that advocates more for the future-oriented Invisalign — not only for its improved aesthetics but also for its comfort and user-friendliness. If you’re leaning in this direction or wish to proceed with this treatment, why not find clarification with a professional? Book a consultation with us today to get started.

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