Orthodontic treatment may be recommended for people with misaligned or crooked teeth. Such misalignments not only look unsightly but also make it difficult to clean your teeth. This means that if you do not clean your teeth properly then you stand higher chances of contracting a periodontal disease that causes gum and bone damage. Invisalign and braces are the two popular options used in orthodontic treatment. Braces are comprised of archwires, brackets, and bands that help position your teeth gently.
However, the archwires need to be adjusted by an orthodontist to ensure your teeth stay in the proper place. Invisalign is a series of clear and customized plastic aligners that help guide your teeth in the right position. Unlike braces, they are removable and can be taken out or replaced at any time. Here are five key differences between Invisalign and braces.
- Material used
Braces consist of ceramic or metal brackets, archwires and rubber bands while Invisalign is made of BPA-free plastic material. The metal brackets in braces can be colored while the material used in Invisalign is clear. This means that Invisalign is nearly invisible making it hard for people to know you are wearing them. Braces can be easily noticed by the alignment of metal brackets, archwires and bands that surround your teeth.
- Convenience and Cleaning
Braces are hard to maintain than Invisalign since they have complex cleaning routines and many food restrictions. In addition, you must also follow a list of foods that need to be avoided when wearing braces. On the contrary, you can easily take off your Invisalign aligners to brush your teeth or eat anything that you desire. The fact that it is comprised of BPA-free transparent plastic material makes it convenient since no one can easily notice you are wearing Invisalign aligners.
Furthermore, they are easy to clean than traditional braces. Metal braces make it difficult to floss or brush your teeth properly. Another difference is that braces are permanent until an orthodontist removes them. They can irritate your tongue, gums, or mouth each time they are adjusted. The teeth will always feel some pressure after an orthodontist has adjusted the archwires.
- Duration of Treatment
Braces are worn for an average of two years while Invisalign aligners are worn at least 22 hours a day for a period of 6 to 18 months. For compliant patients, there is no difference in the time of treatment between Invisalign aligners and braces. However, non-compliant patients may require less time to complete treatment using traditional braces since the brackets are fixed permanently to the teeth. Although Invisalign aligners need to be worn at least 22 hours a day, some patients may be required to prolong the treatment schedule by wearing them less than the recommended period.
- Follow-up Visits
Braces require frequent follow-up visits compared to Invisalign. With braces, you may have to see your orthodontist after every six to eight weeks so that they can adjust the archwires and check on your progress. Invisalign is comprised of a virtual treatment plan and a series of custom-made aligners. This means that Invisalign aligners have far fewer check-up appointments compared to braces. They are also removable and you can always take them out to brush your teeth or eat before putting them back in.
Although eating is not a problem with metal braces, it may sometimes be sensitive to hard and sticky foods. It has a long list of foods that you need to avoid during your treatment plan. This helps maintain the archwires in position and makes it easy to clean the food particles that might be stuck in your teeth. On the other hand, Invisalign aligners need to be removed before eating anything you want. The fact that you can remove them and put them back in makes it easier to clean your teeth after meals.
Most people prefer Invisalign aligners over traditional metal braces because they are clear, comfortable, and removable. They are comfortable because they require fewer visits to the orthodontist. Furthermore, they are made of smooth plastic that does not irritate the teeth. Although metal braces help in orthodontic treatment, they have several food restrictions and the wires and brackets may be uncomfortable when adjusted. If you are undecided between wearing braces and Invisalign aligners, you can always consult your orthodontist for more information. While both Invisalign and braces can help position your teeth in the right place, only your orthodontist or dentist can determine the right option for you.