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Invisalign vs. Braces: Which Is Better?
Invisalign and braces are the two most common orthodontic treatments for crooked, rotated or misaligned teeth. Invisalign is a series of unbending yet flexible plastic trays that an orthodontist fits over the entire dental arch. They are created by using 3D imaging. Braces are clear or metal brackets which are attached to the teeth and tightened through a series of rubber bands. Monthly visits are essential to adjust and tighten the braces to shift the affected teeth into alignment.
Both orthodontic treatments help you to straighten your teeth but it's a difficult decision to make as to which one is better for your teeth. The type of orthodontic treatment often depends on the problem, age and lifestyle. Hence, one must consult the orthodontist before making the final decision. This article highlights the pros and cons of these two orthodontic treatments so that you can make an informed decision.
Invisalign is a brand of clear aligners which are also known as invisible braces. These orthodontic devices are custom-made from medical-grade plastic. These moulded mouthpieces apply pressure to teeth and guide them to the desired position. This treatment is often considered for compromised periodontal (gum) tissues, open bites and minor crowding of teeth.
People who want shorter appointments and longer appointment intervals often opt for Invisalign aligners as they may have to visit the orthodontist for approximately 15 minutes every two to three months for a standard adjustment.
Let us understand the advantages and disadvantages of an Invisalign aligner.
Advantages of Invisalign Aligners
Clear aligner therapy would be recommended only after checking the efficiency of the same for that respective patient. Here are some of the advantages of clear aligners.
Appearance − One of the biggest benefits of a clear aligner is that they are virtually invisible. They don’t make the users self-conscious and permit them to go through a period of people commenting on the new braces. Moreover, you don't have to worry about your smile in photos as all you can see is the progress of your ever-improving smile.
Comfort − Invisalign aligners don't cause the cuts on the inside cheeks or discomfort that braces may cause. These aligners are fitted to each patient's mouth and hence, there are fewer mouth and gum problems as compared to the traditional braces.
Easier to Brush and Floss Your Teeth − With braces, people may have to compromise on what they eat. However, with clear aligners, you can continue brushing and flossing your teeth as you did previously.
Fewer Consultations Required − Much of the orthodontist's work happens before you wear your Invisalign aligners. A 3D scan of your teeth is taken for making the customized retainers in a laboratory and once those are made; you need a few visits to the orthodontist.
Disadvantages of Invisalign Aligners
Clear aligners also have some disadvantages and you must know them before making wise decisions. Here are some of the disadvantages of clear aligners.
Must Remove to Eat or Drink − You need to remove your aligners before eating and drinking anything other than water. The plastic of these aligners is soft and can stain easily. Thus, you have to remove them before drinking hot or colourful beverages. This could be a problem when you are in public as you are required to remove your clear aligners cautiously so that you don't lose them. If food particles are stuck in your teeth and you wear your aligners, these particles can stop your teeth from moving and stain your aligners. This may also put you at an increased risk of cavities and bad breath.
Require Disciplined Wearers − Being able to remove your aligners can be an advantage as well as a disadvantage. If you are not disciplined enough to put your aligners back in your mouth after eating, brushing or flossing and wear them for 20 to 22 hours per day, the treatment may not be effective. Orthodontists have often listed this reason as one of the primary reasons for treatment failure.
Attachments − Some wearers may require small attachments to help their aligners grip and move teeth into place. Users who may need more visible attachments may require more visits than others. Additionally, these buttons like attachments are done as per the colour of your teeth and may give the appearance of clear braces rather than aligners.
Cost − Your orthodontist may have to use braces to finalise tooth positions if using clear aligners may not give the desired results. In such a situation, the treatment could be more expensive.
Effectiveness − Transparent aligners may best work for people who need minor straightening. They are typically not recommended for complex corrections and hence, you must ask your orthodontist about the effectiveness of the clear aligner therapy in your case and then take the decision accordingly.
Advantages of Braces
Braces have always been a preferred teeth straightening device but there are some disadvantages which made people consider clear aligner therapy. Let us understand the advantages and disadvantages of traditional braces.
Suitable for All − Braces are a universal treatment that can work for minor to complicated corrections and may be suitable for people of all ages. They adhere directly to each tooth and are thus more powerful than clear aligners.
Multiple Types to Choose from − Apart from the traditional metal brackets and wires, people have the choice of lingual and ceramic braces too. Lingual braces are behind-teeth and may appear invisible like clear aligners.
Not Easily Removed − Users cannot remove braces without the help of an orthodontist and permanent attachment may require less responsibility, especially for children. They don't need a separate mouthpiece to keep and may work effectively as they put the required pressure on teeth daily.
Faster Treatment Time − Braces can align the teeth much faster as compared to clear aligners and may work best for people who look out for getting the orthodontic treatment finished as fast as possible.
Disadvantages of Braces
Braces have some drawbacks and they are listed below −
Discomfort and Appearance − Metal braces may take time to get used to and cause irritation or cuts. Some people may not like the traditional braces as they are visible. Lingual or ceramic braces which are less noticeable could be an option but they are still more obvious than an aligner.
Difficulty with Brushing and Flossing − You need to frequently brush and floss your teeth when you have braces. You are at a high risk of plaque build-up around the braces which may lead to staining and decay. However, with braces, brushing and flossing could be more difficult.
Food Restrictions − Hard, sticky and chewy foods can cause the arch wire in your braces to break. This may also cause a bracket to dislodge from a tooth and the braces won't work until the breakage is repaired. Multiple breakages can prolong the treatment time and require frequent trips to the orthodontist.
Regular Visits − Some Invisalign aligner wearers may do everything remotely, but braces require frequent orthodontist visits to check on progress and adjustments.
Traditional braces and Invisalign aligners may have similar costs but the length of treatment may vary from person to person. Both of them are effective teeth-straightening treatments, but always take a wise decision for yourself with the help of the orthodontist as to which could be the best suitable orthodontic treatment for your dental issue.
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