Most patients realize that having straight teeth helps them with their confidence, be more successful, attract a better partner, have them appear more confident, and of course, aid in their oral health. The question isn’t whether to straighten your teeth. Its whether to get a more attractive smile with Invisalign or braces.
I get the braces versus Invisalign questions every day. I like to inform patients of their options and let them decide. There are pros and cons to both Braces and Invisalign. No two patients are alike. Patients are searching for different results and have varying goals. Let’s go through both options and evaluate which would be best for you.
Treatment length is essential to most patients. I was supposed to be in braces for twenty-four months but made sure to listen to all of the instructions correctly and got out of braces in fourteen months. It makes patients so happy when they are completed with treatment faster; therefore, this is a crucial topic.
Tooth movement begins roughly four to six weeks faster with braces then Invisalign. When you decide to put on braces, the teeth start moving from day one. We put on the braces, and the wire begins to move the teeth immediately.
With Invisalign, we take either digital or physical impressions of your mouth and send it to Invisalign. They need to digitally move the patient’s teeth and show it to your orthodontist. The orthodontist will then communicate with Invisalign multiple times before the final treatment is accepted and sent for processing.
Once the final treatment is agreed upon by both the orthodontist and Invisalign, the trays can be fabricated. It takes a week or so to manufacture the clear aligners. Once fabricated, the trays are shipped to the office.
Once the trays are at the office, the patient needs to come in for attachment placement and tray delivery. From taking the impressions to receiving the trays, the whole process takes on average four to six weeks.
That is why I tell patients that the start of Invisalign treatment takes a lot longer because if you want to start moving your teeth immediately, the only way to do that is with metal or clear braces.
The actual total length of treatment varies per patient, but on average, I believe treatment is faster with traditional braces vs. Invisalign. When comparing Invisalign versus braces, I think your treatment will go faster with braces.
I believe braces treatment is faster than Invisalign because of the time it takes to fabricate the trays. After the first round of trays, the patient is rarely finished with their orthodontic treatment. It is typical to have two to three sets of trays.
Therefore, after your first set, we need to take new impressions and wait for another four to six weeks before receiving the next trays. During this time, you are typically just waiting, and little to no tooth movement is occurring. If you have to get two or more trays sets, there is a lot of downtime waiting for new trays to be fabricated.
The only exception to the above rule is when you need minor tooth movements. Many times minor tooth movement can be accomplished with ten clear aligner trays or less. In this case, I believe Invisalign is faster than traditional braces.
The final results can be beautiful with either braces or Invisalign. Clear aligner technology is getting better and better but is still not as precise as braces. The technology is impressive, but your teeth’ actual results may not be what Invisalign shows us with their treatment predictions.
When you are close to finishing treatment with braces, it is easy to make a bend with the wire to get your teeth to look nearly perfect. Invisalign can give you a great result, but those last little finishing details can be a bit more difficult as there is no way for the clear aligners to be as precise as braces that are bonded on your teeth.
Most patients are thrilled with the results that Invisalign gives them. In general, Invisalign is great at aligning the front teeth. The front teeth are what patients care about the most and therefore are happy with the results clear aligners can give them.
Invisalign is more expensive than braces. The only reason for this is because the Invisalign fee that they charge dental offices is very high. The cost has to be transferred to the patients, so patients pay more for Invisalign versus braces.
The down payment at our offices can be around $399 for traditional braces but will be roughly triple that for Invisalign. The typical Invisalign fee is about $5000 to $6500, whereas braces can range anywhere from $2000 to $5000.
Treatment cost varies depending on the treatment length and difficulty of the case. The longer the treatment, the more expense that will be associated, but if the treatment is more prolonged, you may extend the payment plan to make your monthly costs less.
Braces are bonded to your teeth until the end of treatment. Invisalign trays will be put on and taken off multiple times a day. The likelihood of braces breaking versus broken Invisalign attachments is quite a bit higher. Many patients have broken brackets during treatment, whereas it’s less likely that attachments will break during aligner treatment.
Invisalign is very comfortable, but you have to remove them every time you eat, have a snack, drink warm or sugary beverages, and floss. Therefore, a typical patient will remove their trays six or more times a day. Once you are ready to put the trays back in, you must brush your teeth and the aligners before putting them back in your mouth. This constant cleaning can become tiresome for some patients, whereas some patients do not mind that.
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No one orthodontic treatment is suitable for everyone. There are many factors to consider when trying to decide between Invisalign or braces. You must consider treatment time, costs, results, discomfort, and ease of use.
If you are looking for the most esthetic option and are willing to wait for a little, then Invisalign may be your best option. If you are eager to get your beautiful smile and are money conscious, then braces will likely be your choice.
Remember, consults are always free at our Thrive Dental and Orthodontic in Allen, TX. A consult is the best method to evaluate which treatment is best for you.
We have had patients transfer from braces to Invisalign and vice versa. I tend to ask them how they like the switch and how they compare the two options. Typically the poking and overall comfort of Invisalign is better. The trays fit very well with your teeth and are very comfortable. The clear aligners are made very well and do not bother most patients.
Braces can be difficult for some as they may rub against your cheeks and cause sores. You must also be careful with what you eat when you are in braces as hard, sticky, and chewy foods can cause braces issues.
There are not many dietary restrictions with Invisalign as you take the aligners off to eat, floss, and brush your teeth. You can keep your teeth and gums very clean when wearing aligners.
Yet, the discomfort from the actual tooth movement may be worse in Invisalign then braces. The reason for this is because teeth move more gradually with nitinol wires versus clear aligners. With the aligners, your teeth have an abrupt movement once a week, while traditional braces move continuously over many weeks.