Got a less than perfect smile you’re hoping to correct? These days, braces aren’t just for adolescents. Adults who suffer from crooked, crowded teeth or a misaligned bite (malocclusion) can benefit from corrective orthodontic treatments.
But which treatment is best, traditional braces or Invisalign? To better understand which treatment is right for you, learning the pros and cons of each treatment is essential.
Pros and Cons of Braces vs. Invisalign
Traditional braces come in metal or ceramic and are applied to the teeth with bonding material, then linked by taut wire. Metal braces tend to be more affordable. Lingual braces work the same way as traditional braces, but the orthodontist applies them to the back surface of the teeth, rendering them nearly invisible. Lingual braces are the most expensive corrective treatment, and not all orthodontists use them.
Invisalign has grown in popularity over the past decade as an alternative to metal or plastic braces. The system features clear aligner trays that patients temporarily remove for eating and special occasions. The trays are nearly invisible when in place, making them a suitable option for adults who are reluctant to start orthodontic treatment due to the aesthetics of braces. Your orthodontist will gauge your Invisalign treatment in a series of regular checkups. As your teeth shift in the desired direction, you’ll receive new sets of aligners to continue your progress.
Generally, orthodontic treatments are most successful when you’re young. However, adult orthodontic treatments using braces or Invisalign can be very successful if the patient carefully follows the treatment plan.
How Does Teeth Straightening Work?
Both braces and Invisalign function the same way: They shift your teeth using constant (or near-constant) pressure, which in time will change your bite for the better. Professionals supervise both processes throughout the treatment duration to ensure proper alignment and patient satisfaction.
Do Braces or Invisalign Hurt?
Traditional braces or lingual braces don’t exactly hurt when they’re installed, but you might be a little sore for the first ten days or so until your mouth adjusts to the tension or whenever you have them adjusted. Invisalign can also cause soreness at the start, and each time a new tray is introduced. Whenever your dentist or orthodontist increases the tension, there may be some discomfort. Over-the-counter pain meds usually do the trick.
Budgeting for Corrective Orthodontic Treatments
The cost of braces varies depending on the severity of the issues and the material of the braces. Traditional metal braces have the edge here. Traditional braces typically cost anywhere between $2,500 and $8,000, although pricing for braces and Invisalign vary considerably depending on each case.
Invisalign is likely to cost a little more, with or without insurance, ranging from $3,500 to $8,500 or more. Lingual braces can cost well up to $14,000, on average. Again: Each orthodontic patient has different needs, so it can be hard to estimate an average cost.
Talk to your orthodontist about pricing, and don’t be afraid to shop around for a better treatment plan that fits your budget. And the good news is that many dental insurance plans offer coverage for braces or Invisalign. You can also discuss financing options with your dentist or orthodontist.
If you hate the idea of getting metal braces in your adult years, you’re not alone. Invisalign is extremely popular for adults who want to keep their orthodontic treatment on the down-low or who are in the public eye or work on camera. There’s no shame in having braces, but there’s also no shame in wanting to keep your treatment between you and your orthodontist. Invisalign is the clear (ha!) choice for anyone willing to spend a little more for almost-invisible aesthetics.
Effectiveness of Braces vs. Invisalign
Braces won’t come off without the help of an orthodontist, so there’s no risk of slipping up on consistency. If follow-through might be an issue, traditional braces eliminate that risk. Invisalign, on the other hand, can easily be removed. So it’s possible to forget to pop the trays back in or lose them— which can lead to a much longer treatment plan. Treatment success depends on the individual.
Overall, Invisalign is the more comfortable choice, with the smoothness of the clear trays and the less intense pressure they exact on the teeth and jaw. Plus, injuries can happen with metal braces. Metal braces can slice the inside of your mouth and cheeks with an unexpected blow to the face.
Eating and Cleaning
Metal braces limit what you can eat. So say goodbye to gum, hard candy, caramels, and the like. Even chewing steak can be tricky with braces. Whatever you do eat, you’ll have to be on high alert for food trapped in your braces and brush and floss regularly and thoroughly.
Invisalign is excellent if you’d like to indulge in your favorite chewy foods, as the trays can be removed for meals. But you’ll have to add an extra step to your regular brushing and flossing routine: cleaning your Invisalign trays with a dedicated solution.
Invisalign follow-up visits are usually every 4 to 6 weeks. Braces need slightly more frequent adjustments, typically around once a month. After you complete your braces, you might be required to wear a retainer while sleeping to keep your teeth in position. Invisalign also requires a bedtime tray for the same reason.
In the end, the question is a personal one between Invisalign and braces — but both lead to the same result: an expertly improved smile.
Ready to improve your smile?
Are you considering orthodontic options? Your first stop is here at Dr. Lance Johnson Family Dentistry. We can help you come up with a plan you’ll love — for a smile you’ll love even more. Just connect with us to get started on your journey to a more comfortable and beautiful smile.