For centuries, metal braces were the treatment of choice for straightening teeth. While braces are still extremely popular today, they are no longer the only option. Since 1997, Invisalign has been billed as the “clear alternative.” Both systems work quite well, and most patients are free to choose whichever they like. Your dentist will let you know if there is a specific reason to choose one treatment over the other. If not, then here are four factors to consider when making your decision.
With traditional braces, exactly how you will look after treatment is a mystery. Your dentist will show you the problems with your teeth and explain how the braces will help, but it can be difficult to picture the end results. Invisalign uses 3-D computer modeling to show you exactly how your teeth will look at the end of treatment. In addition, Invisalign aligners are changed every two weeks. This allows you to watch your treatment progress in a way that is not possible with braces.
Which is better depends on your personality. If you are the type of person who likes to plan
everything out, you will probably be happier with Invisalign. If you prefer a bit of mystique, then traditional braces allow you to enjoy a big reveal at the end.
Ease of Use
Which system is easier to use also depends on how you like to do things. With traditional braces, the dentist is responsible for all adjustments. The braces remain on your teeth until treatment is finished, and you do not need to remember anything other than your dental appointments and which foods are off-limits. However, your trips to the dentist will be more frequent, and could include emergency appointments if you pop a wire or have other difficulties.
Invisalign makes you an active participant in your treatment. You will see the dentist less frequently, possibly only every six weeks, but you will change your aligner every two weeks. You will also remove it for eating, drinking, and oral care. You must remember to put it back in, and avoid losing it. Aligners need to be worn 20 – 22 hours a day.
Since Invisalign is removed for eating and drinking, no foods are off-limits. If your favorite foods are on the banned list for braces, you might prefer Invisalign. The tradeoff is that you must be disciplined enough to brush immediately after eating and replace the aligner right away.
For many years, braces were less expensive than Invisalign. However, this is becoming less and less true. In order to make a true cost comparison, add the cost of adjustments to the quoted price for the braces. Invisalign is sold as a complete treatment package including all aligners and office visits. Since emergency appointments can significantly increase the price of braces, many people prefer the security of knowing exactly how much everything will cost up front.
Dental insurance is complex, and each insurance company has its own guidelines on what is covered and how much is paid. If you have coverage for metal braces you will also have coverage for Invisalign. Your insurer can tell you what your policy will cover and we can work with you to determine your out of pocket expense.
Most patients agree that Invisalign has the edge when it comes to oral comfort. Some pain is normal when the fasteners are first attached to the teeth, and discomfort from the intentional movement of the teeth is common. However, braces also add another level of pain that results from adding metal to the mouth. Oral cuts, scrapes, and sores can linger for a long time, and each adjustment can bring fresh discomfort.
Traditional braces are now available in fashion colors, and many people like having a pop of color in their mouths. However, those who are less comfortable with bold statements may not enjoy the reality of showing metal brackets whenever they speak, eat, or laugh.
Invisalign aligners are clear, and are barely noticeable in most settings. If you prefer not to advertise your dental treatment, or work in a career where dental aesthetics matter, Invisalign might be the better choice for you.
Conveniently located in Woodbury, MN, Creekview Dental provides a progressive yet conservative approach to dental care. Our innovative, highly personalized procedures are focused on maintaining tooth structure and providing you with the healthy, beautiful smile you deserve. Call us today at 651-738-8204 for a free consultation with Dr. Haag to determine if you are a good candidate for Invisalign.