If you have made the decision to straighten your child’s teeth – or if it is time for you to get the straight smile that you’ve always wanted – there are several orthodontic options to choose from. Traditional braces and Invisalign are the two of the most popular options on the market at this time, but how do you know which one will work best for you? A consultation with your orthodontist is a good first step, but by better understanding the differences between the two options, you can be better prepared to make your decision.
One of the most notable differences between Invisalign and traditional braces is the appearance of the systems. Traditional braces consist of metal brackets that are bonded to the teeth and connected with arch wires. Periodic adjustments of the arch wires are what put pressure onto the teeth so that they move into their desired positions. On the other hand, the Invisalign system consists of plastic aligners that are clear and barely noticeable to others. People who are looking for a discreet way to straighten their teeth often choose the nearly invisible Invisalign over bulky traditional braces.
Scope of Services
Invisalign and traditional braces can be used to treat many of the same cases. However, orthodontists have less control of the teeth with the Invisalign system, so this option isn’t the best choice for severe cases of tooth rotation, gaps, overbite, and other problems. For malocclusions that are mild to moderate in severity, treatment times for Invisalign and traditional braces are similar.
Lifestyle changes are necessary with both traditional braces and Invisalign. With braces, you will need to avoid eating foods that are especially hard or sticky so that you don’t damage your appliance. While you can eat whatever you want with Invisalign, you will need to first take out your aligners. This can lead to some awkward situations, especially if you are out eating in public, and it can make it easy for you to lose your aligners.
When wearing traditional braces, it is especially important to practice good oral hygiene. Food particles can get stuck in between your brackets and wires, and if they aren’t removed, they can cause tooth decay and even cavities. Flossing is also important with traditional braces, although it can be tricky to floss while trying to navigate through the arch wires. Brushing and flossing is considerably different with Invisalign, as the process should be unchanged since you’ll need to remove your aligners before caring for your teeth.
With any orthodontic appliance, there is bound to be some levels of discomfort associated with the system. Each time that you switch to a new aligner in the Invisalign series you may experience soreness for a day, and this is similar to having your arch wires tightened with traditional braces. However, the Invisalign system has a distinct advantage over traditional braces in terms of comfort because the soft plastic used to form the aligners won’t cut or irritate your lips and the inside of your mouth.