Alternative to Braces: Invisalign vs Braces Pros and Cons

Wearing braces is just as effective as it is demanding. The orthodontic treatment with braces is longer and is more impactful to the teeth. It demands constant brushing and flossing, and if neglected, it can damage the teeth further. Finding an alternative to braces, however, may save you the trouble of wearing braces altogether.

Some patients undergo a braces treatment and still have to wear another orthodontic appliance. But, for good candidates, there are many alternatives to braces that get the job done as well.

Whether esthetically or medically, a great smile can take you places. And, just as you pay attention to your diet and workout, you should do the same for your dental health. Both adults and teenagers are eligible for wearing one of the many alternatives to braces.

Below, we will discuss the orthodontic appliances which can deliver the same effects as traditional braces.

When it comes to teeth alignment and treatments thereof, the debate mostly revolves around Invisalign vs braces. While both are successful orthodontic appliances, there are many differences between the two. Aside from external appearance, Invisalign aligners and traditional braces have their own pros and cons.

Depending on the severity of the issue, your orthodontist will determine which orthodontic treatment suits you best. That said, doing your research on Invisalign vs braces is important, and below you can read all you need to know on the topic.

Invisalign vs. Braces: The Differences

Given that both Invisalign and traditional braces deliver the same results, patients often don’t see differences between the two. It’s true, both appliances help align the teeth and jaws, giving you the million-dollar smile. However, one of the main differences between braces and Invisalign is the process of correcting your issues.

Because of this, you, in consultation with your orthodontist, can decide which treatment suits you the most. Keep in mind that both treatments are covered by dental insurance plans, which helps cover the costs.

To help you get a clearer picture here is everything to know on Invisalign vs. braces.

What are metal braces?

Traditional metal braces are the most popular form of treatment in orthodontics. Dental braces use a metal bracket and wires to keep the teeth aligned and the jaw corrected. They impact a variety of Class II malocclusions, like an underbite, overbite, crossbite and else. Braces usually require different-length treatment but can be made comfortable and in the shade of your enamel.

What is Invisalign?

Invisalign on the other hand represents a clear aligner, which unlike braces, is removable. One of the biggest advantages of Invisalign over braces is its transparency. This appliance is less visible and doesn’t use traditional wires and brackets. Instead, it is made of BPA-free plastic and takes time moving the teeth around. Another thing that makes Invisalign different than braces is that relies on a 3-D image of your teeth to create the appliance.

What is the treatment time in metal braces?

Have in mind that braces are not a removable appliance, so the treatment time may be faster and provide long term effects in improving your smile. Most patients wear their braces for up to two years, even though this depends on the case itself. Patients are wearing braces 24/7 and sleep and eat with them. Because of this, maintain teeth dental hygiene when wearing braces is crucial for oral health.

How to clean metal braces?

When thinking of Invisalign vs. braces, the latter is trickier to clean and demand full devotion. However, if you brush and floss regularly, the braces should endure throughout the treatment. As for appointments, you should schedule monthly check-ups with your orthodontist, to determine the progress.

How much does a braces treatment cost?

Traditional metal braces can have different prices, depending on the case in question. However, standard prices range from $1,800 to $5,500 for 18 months orthodontic treatment.

Following a braces treatment, you will have to wear a retainer, as a regular part of your daily oral care. Keep in mind that braces are a more favorable option in patients with deeper orthodontic issues.

What does Invisalign do?

Invisalign is a less visible appliance, fashion statement which is why it is often a popular choice among teenagers and adults. Invisalign is great if you want to focus on straightening your teeth, but didn’t have the courage to undergo braces treatment.

Is Invisalign comfortable?

Unlike metal braces, Invisalign treatment is considered more comfortable. This is mostly because the device is removable, and it does not include a metal bracket.

How long is Invisalign treatment?

Invisalign treatment lasts from 6-18 months, with the patient wearing the appliance from 22-24 hours a day. Invisalign works best if patient wear the clear aligners as instructed. Again, this will all be done in accordance with the complexity of the issues.

How much does Invisalign cost?

Invisalign treatment is done based on a 3-D scan of your teeth. That said, Invisalign costs around $5,000 for the entire treatment.

How to clean Invisalign?

As this appliance is removable, it is also easier to clean than braces. To clean it well, remove it before eating and use the intended cleaning system. You can also brush the appliance and rinse the trays in warm water. The best time to do this is either in the morning or before going to bed.

In terms of appointments, you should change the aligner trays every 2 weeks, so the visits are more regular than in braces. In time, you should schedule visits with your orthodontist every 4-6 weeks.

Invisalign vs. Braces: Downsides

Metal braces are not usually a treatment option in patients who do sports. With Invisalign, if the issue is more complex and requires drastic tooth movement, it is not recommended as treatment.

Below are the pros and cons of choosing Invisalign vs. braces treatment.

Braces

The Pros: Results are expected and guaranteed, as the appliance works on its own. Patients have to wear them at all times, which prevents taking the braces out and interrupting treatment.

The Cons: Braces can cause sores and discomfort, and require more thorough hygiene. They are also more visible and can damage the enamel slightly. When wearing braces, foods like chewing gums and sticky candy are off the list. If you are playing sports, it is recommended you wear mouthguard over your braces. Finally, braces are fixed to the teeth, meaning they can cause some tooth discoloration.

Invisalign

The Pros: Aside from being removable, Invisalign is easier to clean and is less visible than braces. The appliance can be taken out when eating, which lets the patient brush and floss as per usual. The appliance is very comfortable, too, and doesn’t require wiring.

The Cons: Aligners are easier to lose or misplace. You have to remove it when eating, which prolongs the treatment time. If not worn for the time indicated, the appliance may show no to very little results.

Invisalign vs. Braces: Conclusion

One of the best things about braces and Invisalign is that patients can choose their treatment. Still, braces are more recommended for the younger generations, meaning teenagers and adolescents. Adults, on the other hand, can easily turn to Invisalign and find both comfort and results in one appliance.

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Which Alternative to Braces Should I Choose?

From a series of clear plastic aligners to semi-wired appliances, there are many braces alternatives which work just as good. If you want to shorten the orthodontic treatment time, here are the best alternatives to braces.

Incognito Braces

Unlike standard braces, Incognito braces help align the teeth in adults which are looking for slight improvements. As an alternative to braces, the Incognito braces are fixed to the back teeth and are invisible. They are also the most expensive option up to 2.5x the cost of metal braces.

Damon Braces

Adults make the most use of wearing Damon braces. This alternative to braces offers smile and teeth improvements without wearing the traditional metal braces color ties. Although similar, Damon braces use metal brackets and are fixed onto the teeth.

This enables a greater movement of the teeth without using ties for the arches. Without the ties, you are also looking at less pain and discomfort while wearing the braces. Because there are sliding doors instead of ties to hold the wire, the Damon brackets are bigger than metal braces. They may create more discomfort and be painful.

Retainers

Mostly used following a braces treatment, retainers work well on their own, too. Retainers can be either fixed or removable, but the latter works best for most patients. Even at work, wearing the transparent Essix retainer will get you both the desired effects and comfort.

Retainers fall over the teeth and focus on maintaining the arches of the mouth. They are incredible when it comes to maintaining teeth from shifting. While they do not move the teeth as much, retainers offer lifetime stability for many patients. Finally, as your orthodontist probably told you, retainers are best when worn daily and for as long as possible.

Clear Aligners

The almighty Invisalign aligners that fit over your teeth are a great alternative to braces. These clear, plastic aligners work like a retainer and are suitable for both adults and teenagers. These impact various target areas, like misaligned teeth, crooked teeth, underbite, overbite and more.

You should wear these aligners from 20 to 22 hours per day, over the course of 14 days. Some of the most successful effects of wearing Invisalign was in patients with teeth gaps.

There is also Smile Direct Club aligners but the improvement is very limited because the process in not 100% controlled by an orthodontist during your treatment. They are the cheapest option.

Six Month Smiles

This alternative to braces is a clear bracket attached to a wire. The appliance is not visible and gives the best effects in cases with slight irregularities. The appliance is worn for six months and more, which additionally depends on each particular case. The device shows the most effects in patients who are not looking to correct their bite but are looking for slight improvement. Very limited improvement is to be expected.

Veneers

Approved by the community, porcelain veneers make a great alternative to braces. Veneers are mostly used in parents who have suffered tooth loss or have lots of space in their mouth. Veneers are great as they come in any shade available, and offer a great visual impact. They keep the ‘original’ teeth protected and help fill gaps in the jaw.

Dental Bonding

Although more traditional as an approach, bonding works great in adult patients. The method behind this alternative to braces is reshaping the teeth and managing excess space in the mouth. Bonding is amazing for patients with teeth spacing issues who want the same effects as in wearing traditional braces.

Bonding is used for minor issues, like filling in gaps and covering up flaws. The appliance is also very safe to use, as it is durable.

Accelerated Orthodontics

This alternative to braces is, in fact, the process of accelerating the regular braces orthodontic treatments. This is done through a system known as micro-osteoperforation. The main aim of this process is to weaken the bone. This way, the treatment loosens the teeth and forces them to move under pressure. With this, there is a cytokine activity, which is basically remodeling the bone which straightens teeth faster.

The treatment also includes retainers and/or aligners, which is why it offers such lasting effects.

Another method to treat minor orthodontic issues is cosmetic dentistry. This type of dentistry reshapes the teeth and gums to your perfect smile.

Conclusion

In children and toddlers, the best way to fix misaligned teeth is to take the traditional braces route. This is the fastest and most tested way to avoid wearing other orthodontic appliances in the future. However, when speaking of braces for adults and teenagers, these alternatives will show a grand success. If you have any questions, visit your orthodontist to help you choose the treatment that suits you the most.

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