How Does Invisalign Work and is it Better Than Metal Braces?
Maybe you skipped the traditional time frame for braces as a kid, or maybe you had braces but skipped the nightly retainer routine and that once-perfect smile isn’t so perfect anymore. Whatever your reason for straightening your teeth, the good news is there are more options than ever for adult patients. Braces are still an industry standard, but newer orthodontic technology, such as Invisalign, is becoming more popular. So what is Invisalign, and how does it compare to braces? Here’s a primer to help you make the best decision for your smile:
Minimal visibility, maximum results
Invisalign treatment involves custom-made aligners worn over your teeth to gradually shift them into place. The aligners are made of transparent BPA-free plastic and they are changed out every two weeks for a new set until treatment is complete—typically nine months to a year for adults. For teenagers, the treatment time is usually comparable to having braces.
Multiple alignment possibilities
Invisalign can correct a number of alignment issues. Those who have gapped teeth, overbites, underbites, crossbites, and open bites are often great candidates for Invisalign. And while some people might think that overly crowded teeth are too serious of a problem for any teeth straightening procedure, Invisalign can correct many crowding issues without the need to pull teeth.
Customized treatment plans
The first step in the Invisalign procedure is having X-rays, pictures, and impressions taken of your teeth, which will be used to create a digital 3-D image. Your dentist will then map out a customized plan for the movements of your teeth at each stage of treatment. You’ll even be able to see a visual representation of what your teeth will look like with each new set of aligners.
All day, every day
Unlike braces that can irritate your cheeks, Invisalign mouthpieces are smooth and comfortable. This is an important feature considering you have to wear them for no less than 22 hours per day, only taking them out to eat and brush your teeth. Fortunately, the aligners are inconspicuous—nowhere near as noticeable as braces—and won’t affect your speech, which means hardly anyone will know you’re wearing them.
Invisalign vs. metal braces
Metal braces have been used in some fashion for over a hundred years, and for good reason—they work exceptionally well. When worn for the required 22 hours a day, Invisalign will give you equivalent results. The real question when it comes to Invisalign vs. braces is which works best for your individual situation. Here are some things to consider when choosing:
- Severity of your case: Severe misalignment or crookedness is best handled by braces because they can incorporate more bands and wires to shift the jawline and rotate teeth.
- Appearance: Do you care if people know you’re wearing braces? Invisalign is barely detectable—most people don’t even notice you have them until you say something.
- Cleaning habits: Braces take a lot of extra work to get your teeth clean, often requiring extra equipment like a Waterpik. If you can’t invest the time for daily deep cleanings, Invisalign’s removable aligners might work better for you.
- Discipline: Invisalign only works if you stick to wearing it 22 hours a day, every day. If you think you’ll be tempted skip a day here or there, braces might be a better option.
- Time commitment: Adjustments for metal braces are needed every four weeks. For Invisalign, you’ll need new aligners every two weeks for the full length of treatment. If you’d prefer less-frequent dental appointments, you may want to consider traditional braces.
Another question everyone has about braces vs. Invisalign is the cost. While treatment goals and case severity vary, in most cases the cost of Invisalign is comparable to that of braces. The cost of metal braces varies from about $2500 to $6000, while the average range for Invisalign is between $3500 and $8000. Both are covered by many dental insurance policies, and many dentists offer flexible payment plans as well.
Show off that smile!
If you’re ready to reap the benefits of a perfectly straight smile, Soft Touch Dental can help. We offer both Invisalign and traditional metal braces. Schedule a free consultation today and let us help you decide which treatment is best for you.