If you feel a little overwhelmed about all the teeth straightening options that exist in 2021, we’re here to tell you that you’re not alone. With such a variety of orthodontic solutions to choose from, many people often find it difficult to choose which route they plan on exploring. In order to help you make the best decision for your unique set of needs, we’ll have a look at the pros and cons of both invisible aligners and braces today. Strap yourself in and read on to find out more about invisible aligners vs braces!
Invisible Aligners 101
The first option you have when it comes to teeth straightening is invisible aligners. Often referred to as “Invisalign”, it uses clear plastic aligners as a means of straightening teeth. These aligners can be removed when you eat or drink, but orthodontists recommend having them in for a minimum of 20-22 hours per day. A custom 3D scan of your mouth will form the foundation for your aligners and you will require a few different sets as your teeth begin to shift into their proper position.
Pros of Invisible Aligners
It Looks Better
Invisible aligners are often the go to for many people due to aesthetic reasons. Because they are clear, they are barely noticeable and are a discreet option that is usually favoured by working adults or anyone who doesn’t want their appearance to change drastically.
Eat With Ease
Because invisible aligners can be removed at your convenience, eating doesn’t pose any risks or problems. This also means that you don’t have to change your diet and you’ll be able to enjoy a wide variety of foods that may not be possible when you get traditional braces fitted.
Easy Brushing and Flossing
Flossing and brushing are often somewhat of a challenging task for those who have traditional braces, but thankfully with invisible aligners all you have to do is remove your aligner prior to brushing and flossing your teeth as per normal.
Comfortable To Wear
Due to the materials used to create your invisible aligners, you are almost guaranteed a more comfortable experience and mouthfeel. Aligners are also a lot gentler on your gums and cheeks compared to traditional braces, making them a fantastic option for those who are worried about encountering periodontal issues in the future.
Cons of Invisible Aligners
Discipline is Required
Because invisible aligners are removed during meal times and when you brush your teeth, the onus is on patients to be disciplined and to remember to put your aligners back into your mouth as soon as possible. Failing to do so will make your treatment a lot less effective and could even lead to your teeth shifting in the wrong direction.
It Can Be Inconvenient
Taking your aligners out when you are at work, school or during a dinner party can be somewhat embarrassing and inconvenient. With traditional braces, you don’t have to worry about removing anything when you’re out and about, making social interactions just that much easier.
Invisible aligners cost slightly more than traditional braces due to the multiple 3D scans that will be taken of your mouth as your teeth shift, on top of the cost of creating new aligners every few months. You can expect to pay up to $9000AUD for invisible aligners, compared to the $8000AUD you would pay for metal or ceramic braces.
Braces aren’t something new to most of us, and have been used from the late 1700s, gaining further popularity in the 90s. To put it simply, braces utilise metal wires and rubber bands that are attached to brackets that help correct orthodontic problems. Traditionally, braces were made of only metal, but advances in orthodontic science have resulted in a variety of other braces that are available to patients today. Some of these options include ceramic (also known as clear braces), and lingual (behind the teeth) braces.
Pros of Braces
Possible to Achieve Perfect Results
It is no secret that braces are able to produce better or near perfect results compared to invisible aligners. Braces have more force to move teeth into a desired position and are not limited by any certain factor. While this may not be a concern for those who have minimal levels of misalignment, it can be incredibly important to patients who have severe cases of both misalignment and overcrowding.
Unlike invisible aligners that may take an extended period of time to get your teeth into their ideal positions, braces offer a much quicker solution that is further aided by the skill and experience of an experienced orthodontist. This makes braces the first choice for patients who are looking to get their treatment done as fast as possible.
Suitable For All Treatments
Braces are able to correct issues such as overbites, underbites, crossbite and overcrowding — something that invisible aligners do not have the ability to do. Because braces use an arch wire and anchors to pull teeth into place, they are considered the superior treatment method for moving teeth into a desired position. Your orthodontist may also extract a few teeth if you suffer from overcrowding in order to create more space in your mouth for your remaining teeth.
Variety of Options
As mentioned above, braces come in not just metal but also ceramic/clear options that are a lot less noticeable. Another option is lingual braces are placed behind the teeth and offer a much more discreet solution when compared to traditional braces that are adhered to the front of your teeth.
Cons of Braces
Many people dislike how braces make them look, and instead opt for invisible aligners that are a lot more discreet and less noticeable.
Difficulty Brushing and Flossing
Because you cannot remove your braces in the same way you would your aligners, brushing and flossing can prove to be an ongoing challenge. It is not uncommon for patients to end up with a number of cavities and plaque buildup due to an ineffective dental hygiene routine that may result in staining and excess costs associated with more frequent dental appointments.
Patients who opt for braces also have to bear in mind that they will be required to make significant changes to their diet. Extra care needs to be taken to ensure that you avoid sticky or chewy foods that may result in your arch wire or brackets dislodging. Once a bracket has dislodged, your braces will be rendered effective and will require fixing by your orthodontist.
Making The Right Decision
In order to make the right decision between braces or clear aligners, it is important that you take note of both the pros and cons of both options in order to select a solution that best suits your personal needs. Consulting with your orthodontist is also always advised, as he or she will be able to give you the guidance you need to make the best decision.
And there you have it — everything you need to know about invisible aligners vs braces, and all the factors you will need to take into account before making up your mind. We hope that this article has been an informative eye opener into the world of tooth straightening and we wish you all the best, no matter which option you go for!