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Difference Between Invisalign and Traditional Braces

If you struggle with crooked teeth, there are two well known options available: Braces, and Invisalign – a clear system used to straighten teeth gradually using a series of aligners. Metal braces are more widely known and have been used longer, but Invisalign aligners offer a compelling alternative for the right candidates.

  • Metal Braces – Metal braces have been used in orthodontics for centuries. They correct a variety of issues, including underbites, overbites, and crooked teeth through wires and either brackets or bands that fit over the teeth for several months to several years, pushing the teeth towards the “correct” location.
  • Invisalign – Invisalign uses a series of clear aligners that are replaced every 1 to 2 weeks with the next aligner in the series. These aligners fit over the teeth comfortably to produce small, gradual differences in the location of the teeth. Every aligner moves the teeth slightly more in the correct position.

Primary Differences Between Invisalign and Metal Braces

Metal braces still have excellent value. They are affordable, and one of the most effective solutions for highly crooked teeth. They are also the “easiest to forget”, as most metal braces can simply sit on your teeth, without any daily maintenance other than good oral hygiene.

Yet metal braces also suffer from drawbacks, and that’s why Invisalign is such a popular system for straightening mild to moderate crooked teeth. While both metal braces and Invisalign offers you the ability to obtain straighter teeth, there are many differences between the two that cause most people to prefer Invisalign. These include:

  • Visibility – Invisalign aligners are crafted to be very difficult to notice with the naked eye, unless you are looking closely. This offers a level of discretion that you are not able to find with metal braces, which are clearly apparent and can lead to self-consciousness with your smile.
  • Comfort – Traditional metal braces can come with some overall discomfort and pain while your mouth adjusts to the brackets and wires. It may also put you at risk for cuts on the inside of your mouth. Invisalign is specifically crafted to fit your teeth so that you are at less risk for pain while they are in place. Most people report less aching and discomfort while straightening teeth as well.
  • Removal – Invisalign aligners are removable. This allows you to floss and brush with ease, something that is not possible with traditional metal braces. With metal braces, oral hygiene is a greater challenge, and it’s not uncommon for food and bacteria to cause damage to teeth by the time the braces are removed.
  • Food – Because aligners are removable, you also have fewer food restrictions. Although it is still best to avoid gum (since you need to keep your aligners on as long as you’re not in the process of eating), all other foods are essentially fair game. Metal braces, on the other hand, cannot be removed and do require food restrictions.
  • Regular Appointments – Your regular office visits are shorter in duration compared to regular adjustment visits for traditional braces. That will leave more time in the day for your other activities. Also, your regular office visit can be spaced further apart. Instead of the regular 4-6 weeks office visit your appointments can be 8 to 10 weeks apart – taking less time out of your work and/or personal schedule.

Metal braces are still an excellent option for the right patients. Metal braces are best for those with serious crooked teeth, or those that do not think they are going to be able to keep up with the maintenance program for aligners (Example: regular brushing after meals)

But there are many advantages to choosing the Invisalign system, especially if you are a good candidate that has a choice between Invisalign or metal braces. If you’d like to learn more, contact us today at (949) 770-8011.


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