Invisalign vs Braces: The Basics
Both Invisalign and traditional metal braces can straighten teeth effectively. However, there are significant distinctions between the two. Understanding these differences can help you make the best decision for your appearance, dental function, and oral health.
Traditional metal braces are comprised of metal brackets, bands, and arch wires. After the metal brackets are affixed to the surfaces of the teeth, the arch wire is positioned, then fastened into place with elastic bands. This technique helps gradually and gently move the teeth into their desired locations. While others will be able to tell you are wearing braces, you can personalize your look by choosing different elastics. Teen and adult patients tend to choose more subtle, inconspicuous colors, while younger patients often enjoy a colorful smile.
Because of his training and experience, Dr. Ip can often accommodate patients who have previously been told they are not suitable candidates for Invisalign.
In contrast, Invisalign is virtually invisible. During treatment, patients will wear a series of clear, removable, thermoplastic aligner trays that are changed up approximately every two weeks. Using impressions of your mouth, each tray is designed specifically for you for comfortable, efficient treatment.
Comparing Treatment Timelines
The total treatment timeline for braces is approximately two years, although treatment times can vary based on each patient’s condition and goals. Invisalign aligners are removable but must be worn for at least 20 to 22 hours per day. The overall treatment time will entirely depend on each patient’s needs. However, for most patients, treatment usually takes between six to 18 months.
How Will My Choice of Treatment Affect My Lifestyle?
Patients who wear traditional metal braces often experience some degree of discomfort when they first receive their braces, and many notice a metallic taste in their mouth. The metal brackets and wires can irritate the cheeks and lips until patients become used to them. There can also be some tenderness after the braces are adjusted at routine visits. Additionally, patients with traditional braces will have some dietary restrictions while undergoing treatment.
In contrast, patients who choose Invisalign report little to no discomfort when beginning treatment. Because the aligner trays are crafted from BPA-free plastic, there is no unpleasant taste. The trays are designed to fit snugly and because they are smooth, they will never snag or irritate soft tissue. Perhaps best of all, because Invisalign is removable, patients can still eat the foods they love.
Maintaining Your Smile During Orthodontic Treatment
Patients who wear metal braces may experience minor breaks in the brackets or wires from time to time. While Invisalign does not involve any metal that could potentially break, the plastic trays are not indestructible. Because they are plastic, they can warp if left in places like a very hot car. It is important to always keep your trays in a protective case when you are not wearing them, and keep them out of extreme heat. If an aligner is beyond repair, we can have another one crafted. However, this can add to the cost of treatment, and delay your progress.
Is Invisalign Right for Me?
Despite the obvious benefits of Invisalign, there are still some cases that will yield more optimal results with traditional metal braces. You may be a better candidate for metal braces if you:
- Have bridgework
- Need to address bite issues with your back teeth
- Have rotated teeth
- Need to move teeth vertically
Keep in mind, the only way to know if you are eligible for Invisalign is to discuss your options with Dr. Ip. Because of his training and experience, he can often accommodate patients who have previously been told they are not suitable candidates for Invisalign.
Schedule a Consultation Today
If you want straighter teeth and a more beautiful smile, schedule a consultation with Dr. Ip to see which orthodontic treatment option will meet your needs. Call our office at (512) 444-4746 or contact us online anytime.