The short answer: braces are better than Invisalign only in very complex cases!
Traditional braces and Invisalign are two of the most common orthodontic treatments available today. Both are designed to straighten teeth over time while improving your smile and oral health. Traditional braces have been around for a long time, and have a well-established history of treatment. Invisalign is a much newer treatment option, and, although increasing in popularity, has only been around for fifteen years or so. Traditional braces consist of metal brackets being attached to your teeth, tied together by wires and tiny rubber bands. Invisalign, on the other hand, is designed to be invisible. The clear aligner trays are made of smooth plastic and worn over the teeth.
Braces, traditionally made of metal, are not removable. They put an emphasis on function over style, and are generally more efficient at fixing complex tooth issues. They often work faster at closing gaps and aligning teeth than Invisalign. While every patient is different, the average time spent in braces is anywhere from 18 months to 3 years. However, there is often noticeable movement of misaligned teeth within a relatively short period of time. Maintenance with metal braces can be a little more involved than it is with Invisalign.
The brackets and wires can present a challenge to dental hygiene, but brushing and flossing regularly is a must for good oral health. Patients wearing traditional braces can expect to have follow-up visits about every 4-6 weeks. Your orthodontist will change the bands that are attached to the brackets, and the wire may be replaced as well. These appointments are a quick process, usually taking about half an hour to an hour. There may be some slight soreness after each adjustment, but it should be temporary.
The two main benefits of Invisalign are that the aligners are almost completely invisible, and that they are removable. They also tend to be more comfortable than traditional metal braces, since the aligners are made of a smooth plastic that won’t irritate the gums or cheeks the way some brackets and wires might. With proper treatment design, Invisalign is an efficient method for gently moving teeth in cases that are not too complicated. The average treatment period is somewhere between 6 and 18 months, though of course, that will vary from case to case. This average is also based on the patient sticking to the recommended guidelines of wearing the aligners at least 20-22 hours every single day, throughout the entirety of treatment. It’s extremely easy to maintain your Invisalign aligners.
Because they’re removable, you take them out before eating or drinking anything other than water, so you don’t have any issues with food getting stuck in between brackets and wires. You also remove them before brushing and flossing, giving you easier access to your teeth. There’s an Invisalign Cleaning system, or you can simply brush and rinse your trays in lukewarm water to keep them clean. Although there are no food restrictions with Invisalign aligners, you must remove them before all meals to avoid unsightly staining, and you’ll need to clean and rinse them out when performing your daily dental hygiene routine. Like braces, if you choose Invisalign, you’ll be expected to attend follow-up visits every 4-6 weeks, but you’ll also be changing out your aligner every two weeks. This is an important part of the straightening process. The trays are custom designed to fit each patient’s unique needs, and are changed every two weeks in order to keep up with the shift in the movement of your teeth. Skipping appointments or not changing aligners when you’re scheduled to can undo progress.
As discussed above, a properly designed Invisalign treatment plan can work as well traditional braces, except in very complex cases. Invisalign also has other benefits, such as being nearly invisible, removable, more comfortable, and easier to maintain. Come ask for a consultation at DentisteALaval.com to see which treatment option might be the best for you!