So, you’ve decided to finally straighten your teeth and get that beautiful smile you’ve always longed for, but with so many options available, which should you choose?
Before 1998, the only choice for straightening the teeth was metal braces but then along came clear aligners or invisible braces as they are often referred to. Naturally, patients were excited to have an option for straightening their teeth which didn’t involve wearing metal brackets and wires. But the question is …. do invisible braces work as well as metal braces?
The truth is that both these orthodontic treatments straighten teeth effectively. However, the best way to know which to choose is by visiting a dentist experienced in orthodontics. They will examine your teeth and recommend which is the best option for your particular case.
Below however, we break down the major differences between invisible braces such as Invisalign and metal braces and how it may (or may not) affect their ability to straighten teeth.
Metal Vs Plastic
The obvious difference between metal braces and clear aligners is their appearance. To help understand the difference it helps to know how each of these orthodontic devices works.
With traditional braces, our dentist will bond a bracket to each of your teeth. Then a thin metal wire or archwire is threaded through the brackets and everything is held together with a series of ‘O’ rings and rubber bands. Gentle pressure is applied to the teeth by tightening the wire which moves the teeth into their correct positions.
Alternatively, Invisalign treatment utilises a series of removable computer-designed clear aligners that are worn over the teeth like a mouthguard. The teeth are moved closer to their correct position each time an aligner is worn and discarded for the next in the series. By the time the last aligner has been worn, teeth should be beautifully straight and even.
In terms of comfort, invisible braces are more comfortable to wear than metal braces because they don’t contain any sharp edges. Moreover, because they are made from transparent medical-grade plastic, and virtually invisible, most people won’t know you’re even wearing them.
Moderate Versus Challenging
When answering the question, do invisible braces work as well as metal braces, then it all depends on the orthodontic work that’s required.
For instance, if your teeth are significantly crooked or they’re sitting at noticeably different heights, a traditional metal brace would be the recommended option. This is because plastic aligners struggle to force teeth into complex movements.
However, clear aligners are a great choice for people with mild to moderate alignment or crowding issues or who have had previous orthodontic work but failed to wear their retainer and suffered a relapse.
Months Versus Years
Another thing to know is that treatment time with invisible braces is often considerably less than with traditional braces. With systems such as Invisalign, you need to wear your aligners for a minimum of 22 hours every day and, depending on your dental eeds, treatment can be completed in as little as 6 months to 18 months.
Metal braces, on the other hand, remain firmly in place throughout your treatment which, depending on circumstances, typically takes around 2 years to complete.
If you’re a suitable candidate for either option, then it may be the cost that determines what method you use to straighten your teeth. Invisible braces such as Invisalign start from around $4,500 for minor issues, rising to $9,000 for more complex treatments. Traditional metal braces, on the other hand, cost from $4,500 to $8,000.
Number of Visits
With traditional braces, you can expect to visit your dentist every month to have your wires tightened or replaced. With clear aligners, you’ll be issued with your first few sets when you start treatment. These are changed at home every two weeks. This means that you will only need to visit the dentist every 6 – 8 weeks so that your dentist can quickly check progress and for you to receive your next batch of aligners.
Food Restrictions Vs Eat What You Want
Wearing metal braces does restrict the wearer to the type of foods they can eat. Sticky or hard foods for example are best avoided because they can damage or dislodge the wires or brackets and it’s also wise to refrain from sweet foods and drinks that can cause cavities.
Invisible braces wearers, on the other hand, remove their aligners to eat and drink, so there are no food restrictions whatsoever.
High Maintenance vs Low Maintenance
If you choose to wear metal braces then it’s more important than ever to brush your teeth at least 3 to 4 times a day and floss regularly. Food particles can easily get trapped in the wires or beneath your brace and if this isn’t removed, bacteria can cause tooth decay or gum disease.
With clear aligners, trapped food isn’t a problem since the aligners are removed to eat. That said, it’s important to brush and floss your teeth after every meal and to thoroughly clean your aligners once a day.
When evaluating the differences between aligners and metal braces, the answer to “Do invisible braces work as well as metal braces” is a resounding yes in mild to moderate orthodontic cases. That is however on the proviso that you commit to wearing your aligners for 22 hours a day.
If you’re considering straightening your teeth, then why not schedule an orthodontics appointment with the experienced team at MyDentist West Ryde or call us at (02) 8073 9338. Not only do invisible braces work for many people, but we offer a choice of Invisalign and ClearCorrect aligners which are equally as versatile but slightly more affordable.