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LAST UPDATED: March 27, 2018
Are Traditional Braces Cheaper than Invisalign?
Cost is a major factor that must be weighed into your decision to seek orthodontic treatment. Today, you have many options available to help straighten your teeth and create a more beautiful smile. For most people, it will come down to two main options: Invisalign and the traditional wire braces with which most people are familiar. Understanding the differences between the two types of appliances is critical to deciding whether or not the cost should be a significant factor regarding which way you go with your treatment.
What is the Commitment Involved During Treatment?
With both types of appliances, you will need to be prepared to make regular visits to your orthodontist. With Invisalign, however, you will need to attend more frequent appointments due to the need to check your progress and create new trays. With this type of appliance, you should expect to visit your orthodontic office about every two weeks, although you may need an extra visit in between if you lose or break your plastic tray. Traditional wire and brackets, however, only require a visit about once a month. This is sometimes more convenient for people who work long hours or attend school.
What are the Options for Desired Results?
It is possible that your options may be somewhat limited to one or the other, depending upon your preferred results for a straightened smile. This is because the plastic tray method works best on teeth that only need minor adjustments. This is because they place less pressure on the ligaments that support your teeth in the jawbone. Metal brackets and wires are able to be bonded to your teeth, which allows your orthodontic care team more control over the amount of pressure that is placed to help your teeth shift into proper position. Essentially, plastic trays offer a fast track to more aligned teeth, but metal brackets and wires allow for a more long lasting result. It is best to go with the treatment plan that is recommended after viewing your x-rays and assessing your alignment through an oral exam regardless of the price difference since it increases your likelihood of being satisfied with the overall results.
What are the Current Oral Health and Hygiene Practices?
Your orthodontist will also spend some time assessing the current state of your mouth and discussing the time you spend on oral hygiene at home. This is because the two types of appliances require very different methods for care. The plastic trays are removable, which may not always be ideal for small children who may take it out of their mouth. Since consistency is the key to success with this type of orthodontic treatment, it is necessary to be compliant with the treatment plan.
It is important to note, however, that being able to remove the trays does make it easier to clean your teeth and reduces the risk of decay or staining that sometimes occurs around brackets if food particles are not fully removed during brushing and flossing. Traditional wires and brackets tend to require advanced tooth brushing and flossing techniques to remove food particles that lead to decay, and young children may need help with the extra care they require.
What are some Concerns About Aesthetics?
Kids often look forward to flashing a mouth full of metal since it is common for the other children in their age group to be working on their smile. However, adults may be a little more hesitant about altering their appearance due to work responsibilities and other upcoming events. For example, getting married involves lots of picture taking, and you may need to think about the aesthetics of whichever treatment you begin. Plastic trays should be worn as much as possible, but they can briefly be removed for situations such as a professional portrait or public speaking event.
Parents may also want to consider plastic trays for their kids if they play contact sports such as football since they reduce the chance of injury during a game. Traditional metal brackets can sometimes be placed on the backside of your teeth, which allows them to be less noticeable. Since your treatment plan could span several months or years, it is important to look ahead into the future before making your final commitment. Doing so increases your ability to comply with the plan without sacrificing your self-confidence in public situations.
What are some Additional Factors to Consider?
The technology used to create plastic trays tends to result in less discomfort during your treatment. This is because wires and brackets can sometimes rub against your gums and cheeks and cause slight irritation. A broken wire will also cause discomfort and require an emergency trip to your orthodontic office for repair. Plastic trays can still be broken or cracked, but the possibility of breaking them is less likely if you follow the guidelines that are provided to you regarding basic care. It is also important to note that traditional metal appliances can sometimes be spruced up to appeal to a child’s personality. For example, using clear or colored brackets can make it more fun for them to undergo orthodontic treatment. Since this is purely a personal preference, you will want to discuss this with both your child and their orthodontic team as you weigh the various factors regarding their treatment.
What are some things to Understand about Long Term Maintenance?
Since orthodontic treatment takes the time to complete, it is possible that changes in your mouth could affect your treatment. For example, a child who loses a tooth may need to have wires or brackets replaced. Since this can be inconvenient, choosing plastic trays is sometimes a better option for a child who is at the height of the transition to adult teeth. Adults can also lose a tooth or experience dramatic changes such as the need for a crown during their treatment. Therefore, it is critical to talk to your orthodontist about their concerns about your oral health over the course of your treatment. Understanding how new events will affect your treatment helps you choose the right type of appliance to fit both your budget and long-term care needs.
With both treatment methods, you will need to be prepared to wear a retainer to keep your teeth in alignment after the first phase of your orthodontic treatment plan is over. Usually, you will need to start out wearing a retainer for most of the day and night, but you will gradually be able to decrease your time wearing it to only while you sleep by the end of your treatment. Committing to wearing your retainer is critical for your long-term happiness with your smile, and choosing to use a plastic tray appliance for your first phase of treatment helps you fit this into your lifestyle. For younger kids, plastic trays also give you a chance to teach them how to remove and clean their appliances as part of their normal oral hygiene routine.
Investing In a Beautiful Smile
Deciding to seek orthodontic treatment is an investment that should never be taken lightly. In addition to the time involved in attending appointments, you will need to consider the cost of your various options. Usually, Invisalign is slightly more than traditional braces due to the need to make new impressions at biweekly visits to cast new trays. However, they offer multiple benefits over traditional metal and brackets that may enhance your quality of life while you continue your treatment. Naturally, it is always best to factor in every quality regarding your two options since your happiness with your finished smile is truly what matters over time.
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.
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.