Since the introduction of Invisalign in 2000, patients have been asking which is better: Invisalign or traditional braces? Both are safe and effective options for achieving well-aligned teeth (and a great smile) by correcting a bad bite, overcrowded teeth and a number of other problems. NK Family Dental offers both Invisalign and traditional braces in our orthodontics services, and is always ready to provide the facts about each, so you can make an informed decision about which is better for your expectations, lifestyle and budget.
Benefits and Drawbacks
Traditional braces and Invisalign are an option for both adults and teenagers, although each usually has different goals when it comes to the appearance and health of their teeth. Adults are concerned with budget, while teens tend to focus on their image. Choosing a treatment can be difficult, but acknowledging which areas are most important to you will make the process smoother.
Although the choice is ultimately yours, an orthodontist’s recommendation should be weighed seriously. The orthodontist’s primary focus will be the challenge of straightening teeth, whereas patients tend to focus more on the desired aesthetic outcome or the required maintenance. Traditional braces have the advantage in treating more complex issues – such as teeth that are crowded, crooked, protruding or with irregular spacing – that Invisalign can not.
The initial appeal of Invisalign is predominantly aesthetic. The shell is thin and invisible when worn, versus comparatively bulky metal braces. This can greatly impact your comfort during treatment. Transparent and compact, Invisalign aligners slide on and off with ease and minimal discomfort. Patients will still experience some soreness as their teeth shift, but they will not experience the tissue injury associated with traditional braces. With less abrasive contact, there is less risk of bruising or irritation. However, it is important to note that due to easy removal, diligence is required for Invisalign to work in a timely manner.
For many, time and visit requirements may be significant. Metal braces must be tightened by your orthodontist monthly. Invisalign aligners are changed every two weeks, and visits are every four to six weeks. The total time to reach correction can greatly depend on your commitment to the orthodontist’s instructions. Metal brace bands should be worn as directed, and aligners for 22-to-24 hours a day.
Invisalign is well-known for its ability to be easily removed – which provides convenience for eating foods that would get stuck between traditional braces. As long as you brush after meals and before re-inserting your aligner, there are no food restrictions. Metal braces, however, come with a full list of foods to avoid – not only for potential damage to the hardware, but because they can make cleaning difficult.
One of the most important aspects of braces versus Invisalign is how your oral hygiene practices can impact your results. Regular brushing and flossing is still required, even more so with traditional braces. As metal brackets are attached directly to each tooth and connected with an archwire, your reach can be limited. Without proper care, patients can experience gum disease or tooth decay from trapped food particles.
Once the braces are removed, contrast may be visible if teeth have become discolored by demineralization of the enamel that can occur. Invisalign on the other hand, can be completely removed for regular oral hygiene. However, it is important that the aligner itself be rinsed before inserting, and soaked once a day. Any food particles left to rest between the aligners and teeth creates a potential for cavities to form.
The question most often asked is the cost of each treatment. Prices for traditional braces can range between $1,800 to $5,000, whereas Invisalign or clear braces cost an average of $5,000. Keep in mind that these are only general price ranges. Your cost of treatment will vary depending on the type and complexity of correction required.
If you are still weighing your orthodontic treatment options between the two, NK Family Dental is the preferred Chicago dentist for Invisalign and braces. Dr. Nilofer Khan will be glad to talk with you about your specific needs, and provide the best treatment plan. She and our experienced, dedicated team will help you achieve a smile you will be proud of. Contact us today to get started!