Is Invisalign Better Than Braces?

Side by side photo of a man with Invisalign aligners and a teenage boy with braces

While Invisalign® and traditional braces are both used to straighten teeth, they each have their pros and cons. Read on to learn about Invisalign and how it compares to braces.

What Is Invisalign?

Invisalign is a series of clear plastic aligners that fit snugly over your teeth to gradually move them into a straighter position. The aligners are virtually invisible so most people won’t be able to notice you are wearing them. They are removable, so you take them out when you brush and floss your teeth, eat, and drink anything other than water. Depending on your misalignment, you may also need SmartForce® attachments on your teeth, which are tiny tooth-colored handles that make treatment more effective.

How Does Invisalign Work?

Before Invisalign treatment can begin, you’ll need to come in for a consultation so that we can determine the best course of treatment for your particular smile needs. Once it’s been determined that you are a good candidate for Invisalign, we’ll get your aligners created just for you. Each aligner will be specifically designed to apply the exact amount of pressure needed for moving specific areas of your teeth. Although the planned movements are orchestrated to reach your particular straightening goals, for optimal results, you must wear the aligners for 20 to 22 hours each day, changing aligners every one to two weeks so that your teeth are constantly being moved into a straight position. Though you may feel a bit of pressure when you get new aligners, Invisalign is not painful. Additionally, depending on your treatment plan, you’ll need to come in for regular checkups every several weeks to ensure that things are progressing.

Is Invisalign Better than Braces?

Well, it depends on your orthodontic needs, budget, and lifestyle!

  • Invisalign can treat mild to moderate misalignment, while braces can treat even the most severe misalignment. Only a dental professional can decide whether Invisalign or braces would more efficiently achieve your desired smile.
  • As mentioned above, Invisalign is virtually invisible. Traditional metal braces are highly visible, and certain patients feel insecure about the disruption to their appearance. However, other patients enjoy choosing different colors of rubber bands, or they opt for tooth-colored ceramic braces. Ceramic braces are a bit more fragile, but are less noticeable and can treat the same issues as metal braces.
  • Occasional soreness is expected with braces, although this can be helped with dental wax and over-the-counter pain relievers. Invisalign’s smooth plastic is unlikely to cause much mouth irritation.
  • Invisalign and traditional braces are often similar in cost, though it entirely depends on your provider and orthodontic needs.
  • Treatment time for Invisalign is usually 12-18 months, while traditional braces is typically anywhere from 12-36 months. However, there are accelerated braces options available.
  • Braces remain on your teeth throughout treatment, so you can’t forget to wear them like you could with Invisalign aligners, but the fixed brackets and wires do require additional care during your oral hygiene routine. But a water flosser and special orthodontic brush head on an electric toothbrush can greatly alleviate any frustration.

Here at Bethea Family Dentistry, we proudly offer Invisalign. If you have any other questions about Invisalign clear aligner therapy, contact us to schedule a consultation!

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