Which is Best for Me: Invisalign or Braces?

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Treatment options for a straighter smile have come a long way over the years. No longer do you have wear a mouth full of metal for several years to get a movie star smile. But you may wonder whether you’d be better off with clear aligners such as Invisalign® or need to go the traditional route with braces.

At Volterra Dental, we think Invisalign is the best choice, and we offer the clear aligners to our patients. When compared to braces, Invisalign aligners are more discreet and comfortable, can fix almost any misalignment, make oral hygiene easier, and get faster results.

To illustrate why we use Invisalign, here’s a breakdown of the differences between the clear aligners and braces.

Convenient, comfortable, and invisible

The number one reason you may be having this debate between Invisalign and braces is because of the look. Invisalign aligners are nearly invisible, making it less likely anyone knows you’re wearing them. If discretion is what you’re looking for as you straighten your smile, then Invisalign is by far the better choice.

The aligners are also removable, which means you can take them out to eat and don’t have to worry about food restrictions.

And we have your aligners custom made to fit your teeth snugly and comfortably. The soft plastic sits below your gum line, so there’s no rubbing or discomfort.

On the other hand, you can’t hide braces. You may be able to get ceramic brackets that match the color of your teeth, but the braces aren’t removable. They’re permanently affixed to your teeth until the orthodontist removes them. That means you’ll need to avoid foods that may get stuck between your braces or break them, such as gum and caramels.

Braces have come a long way when it comes to comfort, but the brackets may still rub against the soft tissue of your mouth and cause pain and sores.

Treatable conditions

Both Invisalign and braces fix many of the same conditions, including:

  • Overbite and underbite
  • Overcrowding and gapped teeth
  • Crossbite or open bite
  • General fixes for misaligned teeth

While Invisalign can fix almost any misalignment issue, an oral examination is necessary to determine which orthodontic treatment is best for you.

In some cases, only braces work — for example, if you have extreme overcrowding or if you need a more precise movement of your teeth. The need for highly specialized orthodontic treatment, such as palatal expanders to widen your palate, may also place you in the braces boat.

Keeping it clean

Good oral hygiene is always important to prevent cavities and gum disease. Because you can remove them, Invisalign aligners make brushing and flossing a breeze, so you can continue your usual brushing twice a day and flossing once a day.

However, it’s a good idea to add extra brushings after you eat, so food doesn’t remain on your teeth when you put the aligners back in your mouth after a meal or snack.

Cleaning your teeth with braces is a bit more challenging. To clean between the brackets and wires, you may need a special toothbrush and orthodontic flossers.

Treatment time

The amount of time it takes to fix your smile may also be a consideration when debating between Invisalign and braces. While braces have come a long way in this department, with special heat-activated wires that move your teeth into the desired positions faster and with less pain than they used to, it’s still not faster than Invisalign clear aligners.

On average, using Invisalign takes 12-18 months to get your new smile, while braces take 18-24 months.

If you’re still not sure which is the best choice for you, contact us for a consultation.