If you or your child require braces for that perfect, evenly spaced smile, you may be wondering whether the alternative, Invisalign clear aligners, is the better option. All things considered, Invisalign does seem to be the best option in the majority of cases, although you may prefer traditional braces for you or your child in some cases.
Although Invisalign has earned the moniker “adult braces” because so many adults choose this product over revisiting their awkward teenage years, (many adults find it embarrassing to be seen wearing traditional braces) traditional braces are not as clunky and ugly as they once were. Many orthodontists let teens pick the colour of bands they wear on their braces, creating a kind of “mouth jewelry.” So, if you are deciding which option to pick for your child, make sure you discuss with him or her what she would prefer. If you’d like to straighten your teeth without looking like you’re wearing braces, however, Invisalign is the way to go. They really are invisible unless you’re up close and searching for them!
Another concern is that metal braces will sometimes come off to reveal straight teeth that are now mottled in color. With braces often remaining in place for years, the part of each tooth covered by the bracket may end up noticeably whiter than the rest of your tooth that has been exposed to caffeine, cola, and other products that stain teeth. If you use whitening toothpaste, the reverse may occur, with the covered parts of each tooth ending up noticeably darker as the whitening agents will not reach behind the brackets. Since Invisalign aligners are removable, you can easily brush the entire surface of each of your teeth, which will prevent this problem.
The Invisalign website states that the aligners do not cause gum irritation and discomfort like traditional braces, but as each person is unique, there’s really no way to know how uncomfortable something will be until you try it. Certainly the discomfort of waking up to realize your metal braces have shredded the inside of your cheek in your sleep again will not be a problem!
Since you can remove the Invisalign aligners, it easy to brush and floss. Traditional braces make it difficult to reach all the surfaces of all your teeth, and force you to spend great time and care on flossing (you have to use a special device to get the floss under the braces, floss, remove, and start all over again between the next two teeth.)
Length of Treatment
With traditional braces, depending on your goals, you may be in treatment for years. Most Invisalign patients finish their treatment in less than a year, according to their website. So, if quicker results are your goal, once again Invisalign seems to be the way to go.
Traditional braces usually require you to see an orthodontist once a month. Invisalign requires an appointment every 4-6 weeks, so Invisalign has only a slim advantage here, if any.
Although Invisalign has been around for awhile, there are far fewer certified providers than there are general orthodontists. This means you may have to drive farther for appointments, or put more effort into finding a certified provider in the first place. In this area, traditional braces have the advantage.
Being able to remove the aligners is convenient for eating, and for brushing your teeth, but it carries a major disadvantage. If you are forgetful, and do not remember to replace the aligners, you may prolong your treatment. If your teenager dislikes the discomfort of the aligners (any time teeth are moving there will be some discomfort) he or she may simply remove them for most of the day, resulting in a prolonged treatment and a waste of your money! If you or your child are forgetful or don’t have the willpower to resist removing the aligners for a “break” you may want to consider traditional braces, which remove that temptation.
Traditional braces may have an edge here. Although the cost for treatment with Invisalign is about the same as traditional braces, the treatment period is shorter. If you don’t have a lot of money and are working on a monthly payment plan with the provider, you will have less time to spread out the total cost, and your monthly payments will be higher. This may not be an issue for some people, but if it’s something you need to consider you should shop around and compare before committing.
Invisalign clear aligners have obvious advantages and seem far superior to traditional braces, especially if you are an adult who doesn’t want to tarnish your professional image with clunky metal in the middle of your smile. However, if you know that you or your child will be prone to “cheating” if you are using a removable device, or if you have financial concerns, traditional braces may still be the way to go for now.