Clear Aligners like Invisalign or Braces? There are Pros and Cons of Each
Deciding whether to get clear aligners or braces can be a tough choice. There’s no doubt you have plenty of questions. Especially when it comes to effectiveness and affordability. Not to mention the best option for your lifestyle and appearance. You want a treatment that’s going to get the job done. You don’t want to have to fix your teeth over and over again. So, which is the better choice for you? To help you decide, you need to understand the basics of both braces and aligners like Invisalign, and the benefits of each orthodontic treatment.
Understanding the Basics of Braces and Clear aligners like Invisalign
Both clear aligners and metal braces aim to straighten your teeth over a period of time. This helps to improve your oral health and your smile, too. Traditional braces have been around for many years. They have an established history of successful treatment. Clear aligners, though, is a newer option; developed and refined over the last few decades. Invisalign was the first brand of digitally customised clear aligner and therefore the one that most people have heard of, but there are now many systems available for orthodontists to choose from, just as there are many braces systems.
Braces have metal brackets that attach to the teeth. The brackets attach to wires. Clear aligners are almost invisible. The aligner trays are designed using a smooth, clear plastic and are placed over the teeth. Scans, pictures, and X-rays are used to create a 3-D image of your teeth, then used to customise your aligners.
As for the choice between aligners or braces, we need to look the pros and cons of each to get a better idea.
The Pros and Cons of Treatment with Clear Aligners
- The aligners are made using a clear plastic, which means they are very discreet. Throughout your treatment, you must wear the aligners for up to 22 hours a day.
- Clear aligners are easier to keep clean than braces. This makes it easier to maintain good oral hygiene. You can remove the aligners to brush and clean the aligners. You can then pop them back in your mouth.
- They’re convenient, too. You can change your aligner trays every two weeks. That means you don’t need to visit the orthodontist for help with adjustments. You’ll only have to visit for regular progress checkups.
- Aligners are a low-profile solution for people who are self-conscious. Most people won’t even notice that you are undergoing treatment. Since you can remove the trays, you can maintain a regular brush and floss routine, as well as eat all your favourite foods as you normally would.
- You may experience a small degree of discomfort as your teeth realign and shift into their new position.
- It is advisable to remove the trays before eating or drinking anything other than water.
- Studies have shown that aligner treatment has a lower impact on your oral health compared to metal braces.
Regular cleaning is important to avoid any staining on either the trays and on your teeth. You will however receive a fresh aligner every week or so.
How Do Aligners like Invisalign Work?
The success of your treatment with aligners depends almost entirely on you. If you don’t wear them as instructed, they’re not going to work as efficiently. With braces, there’s no choice in the matter. You will wear them for the entire the duration of your treatment.
Aligners works by gradually guiding your teeth into their new positions. You will be given a series of aligners each week or so; each aligner is slightly different to the one before it.
Once your treatment is complete, you might have to wear a retainer, the same way you would with metal braces. How often and for how long you will need to wear the retainer depends on your unique requirements. Most people will need to wear a retainer long-term, but eventually it may be needed only a few nights a week.
When it comes to choosing between aligners like Invisalign or braces, it may seem like a daunting decision. If you are self-conscious, aligners will definitely appeal to you.
The Pros and Cons of Wearing Braces
Metal braces are usually a silver colour, although there are some colourful and clear options on the market. If you opt for metal braces, you will have to wear them 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for as long as your treatment is necessary.
- Metal braces may be more effective for some issues, while aligners like Invisalign work better in other situations.
- There’s no temptation to remove them. They are permanently attached to the teeth, but that does mean there is a higher level of maintenance involved.
- Metal braces require a great deal of attention and upkeep compared to aligners. There are plenty of crevices for food particles to accumulate, and that leads to the buildup of plaque. In turn, tooth decay becomes a risk during treatment with braces. That’s why it’s important to clean your teeth and braces every time you eat, and before bed and when you wake up.
- When you wear braces, you must visit the orthodontist every few months for adjustments and checkups. As the teeth line up stronger, stiffer wires will be placed. Wire bends may be placed in order to make finishing touches.
- The wires and brackets can result in irritation and soreness in the mouth. If care has not been taken with cleaning, there can also be discolouration – or even decay – of teeth in the places around which the brackets were attached.
- As with aligners like Invisalign, there may be a small degree of discomfort felt as the teeth begin to move.
- It’s harder to eat certain types of food and you risk damaging the braces when you eat very hard or sticky foods.
Are Braces for You?
If you think you’re not disciplined enough to remove, clean and replace your aligner trays following every meal, braces may be the better option for you.
Once treatment is complete, similarly to aligners, you might need to wear a retainer for a while. At first, you will have to wear the retainer 24/7. Over time, though, it will be only at night. For some patients who have had their braces off for some time, a couple of times a week may be all the retainer wear they need to maintain the results.
Clear aligners like Invisalign or Braces? Discuss Your Options with an Orthodontist in Sydney
Straightening your teeth to improve your smile and oral health is not something to put on the back burner. If you’re struggling to decide between aligners like Invisalign or braces, book a consultation with us. We’ll discuss the best treatment for your teeth and your lifestyle during your visit.
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