When it comes to teeth straightening, two popular orthodontic treatment options are available for the public, which are braces and Invisalign. Braces use metal brackets and wires attached to the brackets to shift teeth into place gradually. On the other hand, Invisalign uses a series of custom-made, clear plastic aligners to achieve the same effect.
While braces may be better for complex dental issues, Invisalign is more discreet and convenient. Ultimately, the decision between the two will depend on individual dental needs, lifestyle, cost, and personal preferences. In this article, we will discuss everything a person would need to know about braces and Invisalign to help them make an informative decision for their dental health.
How Does Invisalign Work?
What Is It?
Invisalign is a popular dental treatment that uses a sequence of transparent plastic aligners to straighten teeth gradually. To be more precise, Invisalign is a type of clear aligner braces. Unlike traditional braces using metal brackets and wires, Invisalign aligners are nearly invisible. They can be easily removed, making them popular for those seeking a more discreet option.
Getting Invisalign begins with a consultation with an Invisalign provider, who will assess your teeth and determine if it is the proper treatment for you. If it is, a 3D full-mouth iTero scan of your teeth will be taken, and a custom treatment plan will be created using a specialised software. This plan will show how your teeth will move over time and how many aligners you need.
Once your treatment plan is finalised, your aligners will be custom-made for your teeth. You are required to wear each set of aligners for roughly two weeks, removing them only to eat, drink, brush, and floss. Over time, the aligners will gradually shift your teeth into the desired position, following the plan created by your Invisalign provider.
The treatment time with Invisalign can vary depending on the individual’s dental needs but typically lasts 12 to 18 months. During this time, you must visit your Invisalign provider periodically to ensure that your treatment is progressing as planned and to receive your next set of aligners. Once your treatment is complete, you have to wear a retainer to ensure your teeth stay in their new position.
What To Expect After The Invisalign Treatment: Retainers
During your Invisalign treatment, your jawbone may have softened or receded to facilitate the repositioning of your teeth. Thus, in the initial three to six months of post-aligner use, you are required to wear retainers for 22 hours daily to maintain tooth placement while new bone forms.
After approximately six months, your dentist will assess the stability of your teeth. However, your body may need nine to 12 months to generate sufficient bone for long-term stability.
A year after your treatment, your dentist will determine if ample new bone has formed to maintain tooth stability, and you will transition to wearing retainers only at night if it is. Your dentist may even suggest using them as few as three to five times per week. Nevertheless, ongoing retainer use is vital for a lifetime to prevent unwanted shifting.
Invisalign retainers are either completely transparent or nearly so, closely resembling the appearance and sensation of the Invisalign aligners you use throughout your treatment.
Pros and Cons of Invisalign
While traditional braces have many advantages in comparison to Invisalign, each set of benefits and drawbacks is exclusive to Invisalign. We have listed some of the pros and cons to help you decide if getting an Invisalign treatment is the best course of action.
- Invisible and looks better: Invisalign aligners are virtually invisible and blend in with your teeth, making them a popular choice for people who don’t want their dental treatment to be noticeable.
- Comfortable: Invisalign aligners are constructed of a smooth, flexible plastic that is more comfortable to wear and won’t irritate your gums or cheeks as much as the traditional metal braces. At least there will be no cuts on the inside cheeks!
- Effective: Invisalign can treat many dental issues, including crowded teeth, gaps between teeth, overbites, underbites, and crossbites.
- Removable: Invisalign aligners are removable, thus making eating, brushing, and flossing convenient. This also makes it more manageable to sustain good oral hygiene during your treatment.
- Customised: Invisalign aligners are custom-made to suit your teeth, ensuring a perfect fit and optimal results.
- Predictable: Invisalign treatment uses computer modelling to predict the movement of your teeth, ensuring a more accurate and predictable treatment outcome.
- Briefer Treatment Time: The treatment for Invisalign typically takes less time than traditional braces, with the average treatment time lasting about 12-18 months.
- Fewer Dental Consultations: The bulk of the orthodontic process takes place prior to wearing aligners, thanks to a 3D teeth scan for crafting custom retainers. Following your orthodontist’s guidance on retainer changes minimises in-person appointments, thus reducing time off work or classes.
- Cost: Invisalign treatment can be more expensive than traditional braces, depending on the severity of your dental health issues and the length of your treatment.
- Discipline: Invisalign requires a certain level of discipline to wear, as the aligners are recommended to be worn for 22 hours per day. Failure to do so can result in a longer treatment time or less optimal results.
- Inconvenience to a certain level: Aligners must be taken out before consuming anything except water and your teeth should be brushed prior to reinsertion. Neglecting these precautions can cause aligner staining and elevate the risk of cavities and bad breath.
Pros and Cons of Braces
Braces are a standard dental treatment for many dental issues, including misalignments and malocclusions. While braces have been used for decades and maintain an established track record of success, they also have their advantages and disadvantages.
In this table, we have outlined some of the key benefits and drawbacks of braces, so you can decide whether they’re the right treatment option for you.
|Advantages Of Braces||Disadvantages Of Braces|
|Can treat a wide range of dental issues, including severe misalignments and malocclusions.||Can be uncomfortable, especially during the adjustment period or if a bracket or wire breaks.|
|Able to achieve very precise results, with the ability to move teeth in multiple directions.||Can be difficult to clean teeth and gums, leading to an increased risk of tooth decay and gum disease.|
|Generally more effective at treating complex dental issues compared to alternatives such as clear aligners.||May be visible and affect one’s appearance, which may be a concern for some individuals.|
|Typically covered by insurance, making them more affordable for patients.||Could require frequent appointments for adjustments and maintenance, which can be time-consuming.|
|Proven and reliable treatment option with a long history of successful use.||May require dietary restrictions to avoid damaging the braces or wires, such as avoiding sticky or hard foods.|
|Able to be customised to fit the unique needs of each patient, with options such as different colours and materials available.||Might cause temporary speech difficulties as the tongue adjusts to the presence of the braces.|
Making The Correct Choice
You may choose between traditional braces or Invisalign clear aligners when correcting misaligned teeth or improving your bite. Both options have benefits and drawbacks, and it cannot be easy to decide which is right for you. This response will explore the aspects you should consider when choosing between Invisalign and braces.
One of the most significant differences between Invisalign and braces is their appearance. Invisalign clear aligners are virtually invisible, while traditional braces are more noticeable. If you are worried about the appearance of your dental treatment, Invisalign may be a better option.
The cost of both of these dental treatments can vary depending on your case’s complexity, location, and type of treatment you choose. Invisalign dental treatment tends to be more expensive than traditional braces.
Both Invisalign and braces can cause discomfort as your teeth move into new positions. However, Invisalign aligners are made of a smooth plastic material, which may be more comfortable for some people than traditional braces’ metal brackets and wires.
The length of your treatment will depend on the severity of your dental issues. In general, Invisalign treatment tends to be shorter than traditional braces treatment. The duration varies depending on the individual and the dental issue he or she is trying to be resolved.
Maintaining good oral hygiene is crucial when you have dental treatment. With Invisalign, you can remove the aligners to brush and floss your teeth as usual. With braces, you’ll need extra care to clean around the brackets and wires.
In conclusion, choosing between Invisalign and braces involves several factors, including appearance, treatment duration, maintenance, comfort, and cost. Ultimately, the right option for you depends on your dental needs and preferences. It is crucial to consult with our dentists to get a professional assessment of your situation and receive personalised recommendations. Regardless of your choice, dental treatment requires patience, commitment, and consistent oral hygiene practices to achieve the best results.
Our dental clinics are conveniently located in Puchong and Bukit Jalil.
1. What happens if I don’t wear my retainer?
After finishing your Invisalign treatment, your teeth may revert to their initial positions if you neglect to use your retainers. Failure to do so can lead to them becoming firmly anchored in their original alignment.
It may not be immediately noticeable, but the ongoing pressure exerted on the teeth, such as through chewing and daily activities, can cause gradual shifting over time. The good news is that you can maintain the impressive results achieved by wearing your retainers several nights a week!
2. How do I protect my retainer from damage?
Given the necessity of lifelong retainer wear, it’s vital to maintain them well to extend their lifespan. Here are some strategies to safeguard your retainer from frequent replacements:
- Store your retainer in a clean container when not in use.
- Clean your retainer with water, soap, or specialised cleaning tablets.
- Remove your retainer before meals to prevent food particles from causing damage.
- Avoid hot beverages while wearing the retainer to prevent melting or warping.
3. What are aligner attachments?
Certain Invisalign users may require attachments to facilitate their aligner’s grip and tooth adjustment, ranging from a few to multiple attachments. Despite their tooth-coloured appearance, these button-like attachments may give the impression of clear braces rather than aligners.
4. Which option is best for me: braces vs. Invisalign?
Both Invisalign and braces can address tooth misalignment, enhance your smile, and rectify common dental concerns like overbites or underbites. If you’re concerned about the visibility of braces, especially as an adult, Invisalign might be a more inconspicuous orthodontic choice.
However, Invisalign isn’t suitable for everyone. Individuals with prior orthodontic treatments may not be eligible. Clear aligners may not yield the desired results for specific orthodontic issues, such as
- Rotated teeth
- Severe overbites
- Significant crowding
- Extensive gaps between teeth, or
- Cases involving dental intrusion or extrusion.
Traditional braces are often a more practical option in more intricate scenarios.
5. Are braces more painful than Invisalign?
Both clear aligners and braces apply pressure to the teeth, which can result in some discomfort. However, Invisalign users often comment that the pressure is less conspicuous than braces, as adjustments are more minor and frequent, with aligner sets changed approximately every two weeks. Moreover, braces tend to irritate the inside of the lips and cheeks, while Invisalign typically presents fewer issues.
6. What is the success rate of Invisalign?
Invisalign has the potential to achieve results on par with braces but places greater emphasis on patient discipline and commitment to use for 22 hours daily as recommended for success.
7. What are the different types of braces available?
There are three types of braces available in dental clinics, which are
Traditional Braces – represent the classic orthodontic approach, employing metal brackets linked by a wire. They offer exceptional effectiveness, reliability, convenience, and comfort, making them a favoured choice for patients of various ages.
Ceramic Braces – Ceramic braces employ a similar technology to metal braces, but instead of metal brackets, they utilise clear or tooth-coloured resin for a subtle appearance that seamlessly blends with teeth.
These braces deliver the same effectiveness as metal braces while offering a more discreet look, which is often preferred by older teenagers and adults. It’s important to note that because the brackets are clear or tooth-coloured, they are more susceptible to staining from dark-coloured foods or beverages (such as dark soda, red wine, or coffee), which may not be the ideal choice for younger patients or those unwilling to abstain from such items.
Lingual Braces – employ a similar technology to metal and ceramic braces. However, they differ in that they are affixed to the inner surfaces of the teeth, situated where the tongue rests.
This positioning offers a significantly less conspicuous treatment when viewed from the outside, all while effectively repositioning the teeth. It’s worth noting that, due to their placement, lingual braces may have limitations in addressing certain conditions or more severe cases. Your orthodontist or braces dentist will assess your diagnosis and determine if lingual braces are suitable for your treatment.
Given their relatively uncommon use and the required expertise, lingual braces may come at a notably higher cost than traditional metal braces.