How Is Invisalign Different from Traditional Braces?
When the Invisalign system of aligners first became available in 2000, it opened up new possibilities for patients to achieve the straightest, healthiest smile with less impact to their daily life during treatment. Before that time, the only option for patients with crooked teeth or bite issues was traditional metal hardware.
Today, the aligner system has become one of the most popular choices for orthodontic care nationwide. In particular, professional adults and teens tend to favor aligners because they are less visible to colleagues and peers. However, traditional orthodontic treatment also continues to be a popular choice and offers some types of benefits no other system can yet provide.
In this post, learn how Invisalign and traditional braces are different and how to select the treatment approach that best serves your needs or the needs of your child or teen.
The word “braces” today includes a range of treatment options that include traditional metal hardware, but also expands to offer behind-the-teeth (sub-lingual) options, invisible clear or ceramic hardware and customized alignment-based systems such as SureSmile® and the self-ligating Damon System®.
The hardware used for this type of orthodontic treatment typically includes brackets, arch wires, O-rings, spacers, rubber bands, headgear and/or other orthodontic help as needed. Some teeth straightening and bite adjustment systems require the use of more hardware while others require less. The typical course of treatment is 18 to 24 months, with periodic adjustment appointments as needed to ensure teeth are moving into proper alignment at the desired pace. But for some of the newest systems, treatment results can be accelerated by as much as 50 percent.
The aligner system is an alternate route an orthodontist can offer patients for achieving a healthy, straight smile. With the aligner system, there are some key treatment differences that patients usually notice right away:
- The aligners are fully non-invasive and fully removable, so they can be taken out to eat, floss, brush and for sports matches or special events as needed.
- The aligners are quite easy to care for and difficult to damage.
- The aligners are nearly invisible to peers and colleagues since they are made of a clear material that resides almost entirely behind the teeth.
- The aligners typically require fewer adjustment visits and a much briefer period of mild (if any) discomfort after each visit.
- The aligners come with no real restrictions on eating or drinking.
- The aligners tend to be more comfortable overall since they do not abrade the inside tissues of the mouth at all.
- Treatment with aligners is typically shorter than traditional orthodontist treatment.
Important Differences: Choosing the Best Treatment for You
The choice between traditional orthodontia and aligners is often one of individual patient needs and preferences. Sometimes one system or the other makes it easier and faster to achieve tooth and jaw goals, which your orthodontist can tell you during your initial treatment consultation.
Traditional treatment is better for more complex alignment needs.
Aligners are a good choice for relatively simple alignment issues, but traditional hardware can be more effective for more complex jaw and teeth movement issues that need to be resolved during treatment. For some patients, only traditional orthodontia can resolve all of their treatment needs without resorting to surgery.
Aligners are less visible
Teens in particular often favor treatment with aligners over traditional hardware. This is not only because they are less visible and less time-consuming (in terms of adjustment visits and daily care) but also because there are no restrictions in eating and drinking or high impact sports events. Also, they can be removed for special events like prom, homecoming, and graduation.
Aligners are easier to care for
The hardware required for traditional orthodontia looks robust, but can actually be quite sensitive to damage, especially if the patient eats very chewy or hard foods. Plus, flossing and brushing can take extra time and require special flossing tools. With aligners, there is no extra time required for flossing and brushing and aligner care is as simple as dunking the aligners into a special cleaning solution every day.
Costs are typically about equal
For some families, traditional orthodontia can be a lower cost treatment option than aligners, but often those costs even out when you add in the number and cost of adjustment visits, which are more frequent with traditional treatment.
Both treatment types often require maintenance retainers
Whether the patient is a teen or an adult, the teeth will continue to move throughout your lifetime, and especially during the young adult years. So regardless of the type of treatment, use of a retainer is often advised on a temporary or permanent basis to safeguard the results of treatment.
Aligners require more self-discipline
Traditional hardware is not removable, which means there is no possibility of taking it off for any reason. Aligners, on the other hand, can be removed at any time but must be worn for a minimum of 22 hours per day for the best results. So a patient who chooses aligners for treatment must be self-disciplined enough to leave the aligners in place for the required amount of time daily. As well, since traditional hardware can’t be removed, it can’t be lost, which can be an issue with busy teens!
Contact Us to Schedule Your First Orthodontic Appointment
If you live in Minnesota, then you can have an expert examination from a knowledgeable orthodontist at McDermott Orthodontics. Dr. Michael McDermott offers appointments at several facilities, including:
• Baxter – 218-829-1630
• Brainerd – 218-829-1630
• Pequot Lakes – 218-568-5600
• Delano – 763-972-4444
Dr. McDermott has been caring for adults, teenagers and children for 15 years, making sure to provide customized orthodontic devices that include:
• Invisalign – clear plastic aligners for teenagers and adults
• Braces – ceramic, metal and Damon
• Retainers – worn after orthodontic treatment ends
For patients who want to reduce their treatment time, we recommend using the AcceleDent Aura system at home for 20 minutes each night. Schedule an appointment today.
How Is Invisalign Different from Traditional Braces?
708 Elm Ave. E.
Dr. Michael McDermott earned his Bachelor of Arts Degree in both Chemistry and Biology from St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN. He followed his undergraduate degrees with a doctorate in dental surgery at the University of Minnesota, where he graduated with highest distinction.
Dr. Mike then furthered his dental education by earning a masters and certificate in Orthodontics at the University of St. Louis in Missouri.