Invisalign® vs Traditional Metal Braces

There are a lot of reasons why people chose to straighten their teeth. Making the decision to repair crooked dentition is only the first step. The two prevailing treatments for straightening teeth are using Invisalign clear braces and traditional metal braces, but choosing which to use isn’t as straightforward as it may seem at first glance. There are inherent benefits and drawbacks to both systems, and learning more about them will help you get the best treatment possible.

It isn’t uncommon to have questions about your dental health. At Best Impression Dental, we feel it's our job to help our patients understand their treatment options. If you’re from the Spokane County and West Plains area, call our dental office in Medical Lake, WA to schedule a consultation today. Our team is ready to help patients in Airway Heights, Cheney, Davenport, and the Fairchild Airforce Base keep their smiles straight and shining!

The Basics of Braces

Most people have an idea of what braces consist of before even entering an orthodontist’s office. The basic concept has been in use for centuries, though modern conveniences have taken much of the bite out of what used to be a painful practice, the essential idea hasn’t changed much over the years.

In traditional braces, metal or ceramic brackets are secured to teeth with special dental cement. Wires are attached to each bracket with rubber bands, and by tightening them in specific ways teeth are pulled into new and more suitable positions. With careful monitoring by your orthodontist, metal braces can help with a number of dentition issues. 

Patients are always eager to disguise their braces, and it has led researchers to develop a number of new methods for orthodontists to use for teeth-straightening. The three major treatment options are:

  1. Metal: The most convenient and reliable method, both wires and brackets are formed from metal and use small elastic bands to hold the orthodontics together. Because of their longevity, metal braces have become much more comfortable and easy to live with, making them an excellent option to choose from.
  2. Ceramic: Many patients want the durability of metal braces without the unsightly look. Ceramic brackets are an alternative that is either clear or color-matches resins to your natural teeth, making them almost invisible. 
  3. Lingual Braces: Another great choice for disguising braces is to hide them. Lingual braces are fitted to the backs of teeth, keeping them out of sight. Unfortunately, this limits the design to fixing specific problems and might not be applicable in all cases.

If traditional braces are your alignment method of choice, make sure you discuss these options with your dentist and orthodontist. They can help you determine which would be the best method for your issues and will work with you to find the most comfortable orthodontic solution.

Info on Invisalign

While effective, many patients find traditional braces to be rather intimidating. Invisalign offers an excellent alternative for those shying away from the highly visible metal option. Using clear plastic trays molded precisely to each individual’s mouth, this treatment slowly shifts teeth into place just like their older-style counterparts. The see-through nature of the material also makes the trays difficult to detect when inserted.

What sets Invisalign apart is the construction. Unlike traditional wires and brackets, alignment trays are removable and should be taken out at certain times during the day. Patients shouldn’t chew while wearing their Invisalign trays lest they risk breaking not only the device but their own teeth as well. As such, they should be taken out for each meal, and wearing them while drinking anything other than water should be avoided. 

Although they are removable, Invisalign trays must be in your mouth for quite some time to be effective. It is recommended that clients keep them inserted for at least 22 hours each day. This time allows the alignment trays to gently push all of your teeth in unison towards their intended space. The treatment is designed in stages, with new trays replacing older ones over time that will guide each tooth to transform your smile.

The Traditional Advantage

Choosing between two tried-and-true teeth straightening techniques may be difficult for some patients. For others, the look of traditional braces is enough to discount them as an option. Even so, there are a lot of advantages to choosing a long-established method over its conventional counterpart.

  • Braces are permanent: What may seem like a downside is actually one of this technique’s greatest strengths. Because they are cemented directly to your dentition, standard braces are always working. There’s no chance of misplacing them, either, making braces a great choice for younger patients.
  • Root movement: Invisalign trays move dentition by applying pressure to the tops of teeth. Braces instead shift things around by moving teeth in their entirety, including the root.
  • Colorful elastics: While adults may not find the thought of rainbow-hued tooth accessories, kids may find the chance to choose their favorite colors too cool to ignore. Clinicians have a wide variety of shade options when replacing the bands holding wires to brackets.
  • Drastic corrections: When patients have multiple teeth in poor positions, they may need more intensive treatment. Braces are much better at handling complex cases than Invisalign, partly because the treatment method has been modified and refined over decades.
  • Existing dental work: Using Invisalign for adjustment may not be possible for patients who have crowns or other dental worth that may interfere with a tray’s placement. Traditional braces are versatile enough not to have such problems and can correct other issues like rotated teeth much more easily, too.

Traditional braces have been the standard for a reason. They are extremely effective at correcting crooked dentition, and with proper care patients can be finished with their orthodontics in about 24 months!

Invisalign Benefits

Even though braces are one of the most reliable and successful treatment options, many patients decide on a more conventional route. Using Invisalign adjustment trays introduces clients to a new way of strengthening teeth. There are a number of advantages to the method, including:

  • Noticeability: It’s obvious that, with clear adjustment trays, few people will easily see that you are wearing any form of orthodontics at all, making it one of the primary reasons people choose Invisalign.
  • Less time-intensive: Braces require patients to visit the orthodontist every couple of months to tighten bands and examine progress. Invisalign patients receive multiple trays during a single visit, meaning they only need to make an appointment every three months or so. 
  • Generally shorter treatment:  The Invisalign process takes as little as 12 to 18 months until it’s completed, about half the time of traditional braces!
  • Less Restrictive Diet: Because trays need to be removed for meals and snacks, there are no dietary restrictions; patients can eat whatever they’d like as long as they keep their trays in for at least 22 hours a day.
  • More comfortable: Because they’re made from softer plastic instead of metal wires, Invisalign trays are generally more comfortable than braces. They also exert less pressure on teeth, making them a little easier to wear.
  • Easier oral care: Removable trays means no need to try and clean around wires and brackets. Patients can brush and floss without needing special tools to clean around and between teeth like those wearing traditional braces.

Invisalign has been a staple of orthodontics treatment for years and is a popular choice for professionals. Younger patients may have difficulty keeping up with cleaning their trays and maintaining the required schedule and might even misplace the equipment. Even so, those dedicated to the process may find Invisalign to be the better option.

Cost Considerations

Many patients find that the biggest hurdle to getting the smile they want is the cost. There is a price difference between both straightening methods, and insurance coverage makes the situation even more complex. Invisalign is generally more expensive than traditional braces, though many patients consider it to be an appropriate trade-off for a treatment that can be concealed. Those on a budget might find traditional braces more attractive, especially since the procedure is generally a short one.

Insurance companies usually cover a majority of both treatments, but some policies may take care of the entire cost of braces while only partially covering alignment trays. Other factors that affect the total price include the severity of your individual case and (for Invisalign) how many trays are required to complete your care plan. If finances are an issue, discuss alternative solutions with your dentist. 

While the choice to straighten your teeth may be easy to make, the decision on how to do it is not always clear. It pays to be informed when it comes to correcting crooked dentition. When you come to Best Impression Dental, our staff is ready to help you decide which alignment method is best for you. Contact us to book a consultation and let us help you find the best path to a shining smile and an even brighter future!

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