Orthodontic treatments are used to straighten misaligned teeth to resolve various issues, like gaps, crowding, overbites, underbites and crooked teeth. These days, you have a choice of metal braces or clear plastic aligner trays to sort out your smile.
Traditional braces use a metal archwire, brackets and ligatures to shift teeth into place, while treatments like Invisalign® uses a series of subtly different clear plastic aligner trays to coax teeth into the desired position.
But which treatment should you choose, and is Invisalign® better than braces? Find out everything you need to make your decision in this Invisalign® vs braces comparison.
What Are The Differences Between Traditional Braces And Invisalign®?
Traditional braces and Invisalign® aligners are both highly effective teeth straightening methods.
For minor orthodontic issues, such as crowding, crooked teeth, gaps, overbites or underbites, the choice often comes down to personal preference. For more severe issues, however, traditional metal braces can be the only viable option.
If you are considering getting orthodontic treatment, there are some fairly major differences between traditional braces and Invisalign® that may sway your decision-making process. Here are just some of the main differences:
Until fairly recently, fixed metal braces and metal fronted retainers have been the only teeth straightening methods available. Unfortunately, they have always come with a certain stigma – it was the bane of many a teen’s life to wear so-called ‘train track’ braces or ‘metal-mickey’ wire retainers…
The stigma around braces can be potentially embarrassing – and not just for adolescents. With traditional braces, there is no hiding the fact that you are actively trying to straighten your teeth.
Invisalign® has changed the face of orthodontics (quite literally). With their clear plastic design, Invisalign® aligners are virtually invisible to the naked eye. This means most people will be totally oblivious to your teeth straightening journey, and you can simply go about your daily life without any hassle or worries.
You can even smile your broadest grin in photos without a care in the world. All in all, if you are looking for the most discrete orthodontic treatment, Invisalign® is the choice for you.
As effective as they are, there is no denying that fixed braces can be just as physically uncomfortable as they are socially awkward. Metal braces can be painful when they are first fitted and with every subsequent tightening.
Many wearers also report suffering cuts and sores to their tongue, cheeks and gums during the initial stages of adjusting to having metal braces in their mouths. During this period of readjustment, some people may also experience some minor and temporary changes to their speech as they avoid moving their tongue as much.
The great thing about Invisalign® is that it does away with all the brackets and wires that come with traditional fixed braces. Made from Invisalign’s patented SmartTrack™ material, these smooth, plastic aligners are custom-made to fit your teeth like a glove. That means no cuts or scratches and minimal impediment to your speech (sometimes a slight lisp may occur, but only temporarily).
That is not to say that Invisalign® comes with zero discomfort – there will be a feeling of tension or an aching sensation when you start wearing each new tray. But within a day or two of wearing your Invisalign® aligners, you’re more than likely to forget they are there.
Ease Of Use
In an ideal world, fixed braces would be a ‘fit and forget’ type of solution. But that is rarely the case. Not only do you have to visit your dentist every four to six weeks to have them tightened, but sometimes an archwire or bracket can break, which will also require a visit to the clinic.
Plus, by the nature of braces being attached to your teeth, they make cleaning your teeth quite a difficult task. Food debris can get trapped in and around them, giving plaque a perfect place to hide, which can lead to staining and tooth decay.
On the other hand, Invisalign® scores highly for its ease of use. Perhaps the biggest advantage of Invisalign® aligners is that they can be removed whenever you like. So you can take them out whenever you need to eat, drink or brush your teeth.
You can enjoy pretty much all your favourite food and drinks too, so you won’t have to drastically alter your lifestyle to get the benefits of Invisalign®. With Invisalign®, you won’t have to visit your dentist’s clinic quite so often, either, because you will receive a set of multiple aligners to swap out every fortnight or so.
How Do The Two Treatment Options Compare In Terms Of Effectiveness?
Invisalign® is best for treating minor issues, such as crowding, gaps, crooked teeth, overbites and underbites.
In more severe cases, fixed braces might be a better alternative because they can exert more force to move teeth into place. Ultimately, your dentist will be able to recommend the best treatment option for you, based on your specific circumstances.
Are There Any Risks Associated With Either Treatment?
Invisalign® and fixed braces are extremely safe orthodontic treatments.
The biggest risks with either treatment come as a result of poor oral hygiene routines. Failing to brush and floss your teeth properly can lead to food debris and bacteria-filled plaque lingering on the teeth – either in and around the individual brackets of fixed braces or within Invisalign® aligner trays.
This can lead to a host of problems, including cavities, tooth decay and gum disease. As long as you maintain a consistent cleaning routine for your teeth and your aligners, the risks are minimal.
In rare cases, some people may experience an allergic reaction to the materials used in Invisalign® aligners (such as acrylate). The same can be said of the latex rubber bands and nickel used in fixed braces.
What Are The Typical Treatment Times For Invisalign® And Traditional Braces?
On the whole, Invisalign® treatments can provide much quicker teeth straightening results than traditional braces. Invisalign® treatments typically take around 12 months from initial consultation to winning smile. Of course, some people’s journeys may take longer, while some might be as short as six months. Fixed braces, in comparison, usually require one to three years of wear for the best results.
What Other Factors Should I Consider When Deciding Which Treatment Is Best?
Aside from the differences and various benefits we mentioned earlier, there are several other factors to consider when deciding between Invisalign® and fixed braces. Here are just a few considerations to bear in mind:
Invisalign vs braces cost is most certainly a major factor for most people.
We only provide clear, invisible orthodontic treatments here at Ollie & Darsh, but the average cost for metal braces in the UK is around £1,500 to £3,000. Our rapid and discreet Six Month Smiles® treatments typically cost less than traditional braces.
With a starting price of £3,500, Invisalign® definitely costs more than braces – but many people accept that the benefits of Invisalign® are well worth the extra investment.
If you are weighing up these two teeth straightening options, another factor that could sway your decision-making is how disciplined you can be during the course of your treatment.
Because traditional braces are fixed and tightened by your dentist, there is very little you have to do yourself.
The convenience of Invisalign’s removability has its flipside: every time you remove your aligner trays you have to remember:
- To brush and floss your teeth
- To rinse your aligner trays
- To remember to put them back in
You also need to give your aligners a thorough clean every morning and night. Plus, you must remember not to eat or drink anything other than clear water while wearing your Invisalign® aligners.
Therefore, if you are the forgetful type or struggle with self-discipline, you may not get the results you want with Invisalign®.
How Can I Ensure The Best Possible Results With Orthodontic Treatments?
For the best possible results, it is vitally important to diligently follow your treatment plan and any guidance provided by your dentist and hygienist.
When you are investing a fair amount of money into an orthodontic treatment, you owe it to yourself to follow the treatment instructions to a tee, to ensure you get the most out of your investment.
Though it might take discipline, your smile (and wallet!) will thank you for it.
Extra Tips For Good Oral Health While Straightening Teeth
With any teeth straightening treatment, maintaining a consistent oral hygiene routine is vital to ensure the health of your teeth, gums and mouth in general. Here are some handy tips to keep you on track:
- Avoid hard, chewy, sticky foods and sugary food or drinks, which promote plaque and tooth decay.
- Use a soft bristle brush with fixed braces and use interdental brushes to clear lingering food debris.
- See your dentist and hygienist as advised, so they can assess your progress and address any issues.
- Keep a travel bag of toothbrush, toothpaste, floss and mouthwash for when you are out and about.
Orthodontic Treatments At Ollie & Darsh
Hopefully, this comparison has given you a deeper understanding of each dental treatment and will help you decide whether Invisalign® is better than braces for your specific needs.
If you like the idea of a clear, invisible orthodontic treatment, Ollie & Darsh can help you out. Our Invisalign® and Invisalign Teen® treatments offer a discreet, comfortable, removable teeth-straightening option. Meanwhile, Six Month Smiles® is the award-winning clear bracket, white wire system that produces noticeable results in just six months.
Both options are available with 0% finance, so you can spread the cost of your treatment over 10, 12 or 24 months. We also offer monthly Invisalign® open days for the chance to get £1,000 off your Invisalign® treatment.
If you would like more information about Invisalign® or Six Month Smiles®, or would like to book an appointment, please contact us on our website or call 0151 236 6578. The Ollie & Darsh team will be only too happy to discuss your options.