Invisalign vs Braces: What’s the Difference?

April 19, 2018
Jason K. Bunch, DDS, MS

In your research for the best orthodontic treatment for you or your child, you’ll likely spend time comparing Invisalign vs braces. Both options are designed to straighten your teeth, improve your smile and better your oral health, so what’s the difference between Invisalign and braces?

Ultimately, you want to make the choice that best serves your lifestyle, so the following information may help.

Invisalign vs Braces: What is the Difference?

How Braces and Invisalign Work

Here are the basic ways in which Invisalign and braces work to straighten your teeth:

Braces.

Braces use constant, gentle pressure to move your teeth into their proper positions over time. The two main components of your braces include: 1) brackets on your teeth and 2) a main archwire to connect them. We first affix the brackets — clear or metal — to each tooth and then thread the wire threads through the brackets to move your teeth into ideal alignment.

Invisalign.

Without the use of wires and brackets, Invisalign straightens your teeth with a series of clear, customized, removable aligners. Every one to two weeks, we design a new set of aligners to gradually move your teeth into proper placement. Along the way, patients enjoy the ability to easily remove the aligners for eating, brushing and flossing, without calling unwanted attention to their teeth.


How Straight Teeth Can Sustain Your Overall Health


5 Differences in Invisalign vs Braces

Now that you understand the basics, let’s dive into the details and compare the specific differences between Invisalign and braces:

1. Materials: Braces consist of metal or ceramic brackets and archwires, as well as rubber bands, whereas Invisalign consists of a BPA-free transparent plastic material.

2. Cost: In our offices, there is no cost difference between braces and Invisalign, although many other offices charge more for Invisalign than braces.

3. Follow-up Visits: When necessary, braces require that you see your orthodontist about every 6-8 weeks for follow-up visits to check on your progress and adjust wires. Invisalign consists of a series of custom-made aligners and a virtual treatment plan, which means far less check-up appointments, usually every 12 weeks.

4. Convenience: Braces can be quite difficult to maintain at times, with many food restrictions and complex cleaning routines. Patients must also follow a long list of foods to avoid with braces. On the other hand, patients can simply take out Invisalign aligners before eat any food they desire. Invisalign requires you to rinse your aligners in warm water whenever you take them out.

5. Duration: In compliant patients, there is no difference in treatment time between braces and Invisalign. In non-compliant patients, traditional braces can require slightly less time to complete treatment, since the brackets are permanently fixed to the teeth. With Invisalign, while we recommend wearing the aligners for at least 22 hours a day, patients may prolong the treatment schedule by wearing them less than we suggest.

. . .

We hope this info helps you compare Invisalign vs braces. In our experience, many people prefer Invisalign because of the lack of food restrictions, uncomfortable brackets and wires, as well as the reduced number of appointments. At the same time, many parents also select braces so that their teens do not misplace or forget to wear them. What we have found, however, is that teens who want Invisalign are often better patients than our adults! It’s really just a personal choice.

Here at Gorman and Bunch, we specialize in complex and teen cases. If you’ve ever been told you aren’t a candidate for Invisalign, we’d love to sit down with you and talk about your options between traditional braces and Invisalign.

 

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