Braces or Invisalign: Which Should You Choose for a Perfect Smile?
If you’re looking for an orthodontist in Redwood City to get your teeth straightened, you’re probably facing the decision of whether to go with orthodontic braces or Invisalign aligners. Each procedure offers its share of benefits and drawbacks, and we’re certain you’ll have questions about either of them.
To help you decide which method will suit your needs, we list the pros and cons of metal braces and Invisalign aligners.
Orthodontic Braces vs. Invisalign Aligners: What Are The Differences?
Though both appliances share the objectives of straightening your teeth and improving your overall oral health, they are very different.
The use of metal braces is the tried and true method. This procedure requires an orthodontist or dentist to attach metal braces or brackets to your teeth. The metal brackets are then connected with a metal wire and often the use of tiny rubber ties (colored or non-colored). Below is a list of the pros and cons you must consider when using metal braces.
- Made of durable metal, such as stainless steel
- You can choose colored ties around your braces to make your braces look fancy
- Clear brackets are available to make braces more discreet
- Usually costs less than Invisalign
- Follow-up visits are typically once every four to eight weeks
- More effective for complex straightening needs and fixing severe bite problems
- Irremovable—They’re on your teeth 24/7; no temptation to leave them out; you can’t forget to put them back in
- Easy to maintain; brushing and flossing daily is usually sufficient to keep brackets clean
- The entire procedure takes an average of 2 years, depending on the severity of the case
- Additional equipment like a floss threader and proxy brushes (small brushes that look like Christmas trees) may be required for cleaning and flossing
- You may experience discomfort, pain, or develop sores or bleeding cheeks from poky wires or brackets
- You must avoid hard foods like nuts, carrots, and hard pretzels as these can cause your braces to break
- You can’t eat foods that are difficult to bite, like corn on the cob, bagels or apples
- You must avoid sticky foods like bubble gum, caramels, taffy and other candies
- It’s difficult to wear a mouthguard to engage in contact sports
- Braces can make some parts of your teeth hard to reach with your toothbrush, causing discolouration or worse, cavities to develop in these areas
Invisalign is the newer kid on the block, as it was first introduced to the public in the late 1990’s. This procedure consists of using patented Invisalign clear aligners. The Invisalign aligners are a series of clear plastic trays worn over your teeth, and they work by gently to gradually move your teeth to the desired position.
The specialists at Yang Orthodontics take X-rays, digital scans, and photographs of your teeth to make an accurate 3-D representation of the teeth. Dr. Yang will then use the 3-D model to propose and treatment plan to straighten your teeth and fix your bite. After the plan is approved, your custom aligners would then be made and shipped to our office. At your appointments, you would get enough aligners to last your anywhere from 6-12 weeks. Then you would just need to wear your Invisalign aligners 21-22 hours per day to get the best results. To help you decide if Invisalign is the procedure for you, consider its pros and cons:
- Made of clear plastic, you can remove them before engaging in sports
- The process may take less time compared to braces, especially if you use Invisalign along with an accelerator device like the vPro+
- Easier to clean and take care of than braces
- As they are removable, you don’t need to avoid food of any kind
- No issues with food getting stuck in wires or brackets
- Less pain, discomfort, bleeding gums, or mouth sores compared to brackets or wires
- Visits are usually spaced out every 6-12 weeks as long as you are wearing your Invisalign well
- Minimal pain and discomfort compared to using braces
- Can cost more than braces
- You must wear them 22+ hours a day; you need to be very disciplined to do this
- You must remember to change them every one to two weeks or as instructed by Dr. Yang
- You shouldn’t eat with them on
- You must avoid drinking any hot or sugary beverages that can warp or melt the plastic; you can only drink cold or lukewarm water
- You have to be careful not to lose or misplace them; replacing trays can cost you more in terms of money and length of treatment
- Not effective in aligning more seriously crooked teeth or correcting severe bite disorders
- You should brush your teeth after every meal, before putting your Invisalign back on to avoid staining the trays or getting cavities
Choosing between metal braces and Invisalign aligners can be difficult, as they both offer unique advantages and drawbacks. If you’re an adult or a self-conscious teen, Invisalign might be the better option. The removable nature of Invisalign allows you to eat, drink, floss, and brush without worries, and you can still wear a mouthguard when you engage in sports.
But if you find it challenging to commit to wearing the trays 22+ hours a day, Invisalign may not be ideal. Your choice of treatment likewise depends on the severity of your case. If your back teeth have issues, or if some of your teeth are incredibly misaligned, braces may be a more appropriate treatment option.
Apart from the convenience, you must consider how disciplined you are in maintaining either the trays or your braces. Invisalign treatments rely mostly on you using them as prescribed, and you must take care not to lose, misplace, or damage the trays. On the other hand, traditional metal braces stay on your teeth 24/7 until they are removed.
Dr. Yang can examine your case thoroughly and discuss with you the best treatment regimen for your unique situation. Contact us today to schedule a complimentary consultation!