Invisalign versus Braces

When making the decision between traditional braces and Invisalign for a teeth straightening solution, many patients are left with questions. Which option is more effective, has a quicker treatment time and what are the differences in price?

Invisalign in dumfries va and braces are orthodontic solutions which were designed as an option to help patients straighten their teeth, achieve a better bite, and have improved oral health. Invisalign was first used in 2000, making it is a newer orthodontic treatment solution.

Traditional braces involve the use of metal brackets which are secured to the teeth using a strong glue. These brackets are then connected with thin wires and small rubber bands. With modern enhancements, less obvious brackets have been introduced which can match the enamel of the teeth and are less visible.
Invisalign, however is essentially invisible and more comfortable. Smooth, BPA-free, clear plastic aligner trays are used for this treatment. The trays are placed directly over the teeth and slowly move the teeth and jaws into the desired location. The dentist or orthodontist uses X-rays, photos, and impressions to create an accurate 3-D image of your teeth. These images are then used to create the custom-made aligner trays.

Braces and Invisalign both have certain advantages and challenges. The chart depicted below aids in highlighting some of the key difference between the two teeth straightening treatment options.

  Invisalign Braces
Color Clear and less visible Metal, tooth-color and additional colors are available 
Treatment Time Estimates Worn for 22-24 hours daily for about 6-18 months Continuously worn for about 24 months
Average Cost $3,500-$8,000 $1,800-$5,500
Maintenance Trays should be brushed and rinsed daily Brackets and wires should be cleaned regularly when brushing the teeth; water picks may be used
Dental Visits Every 4 to 6 weeks Monthly or as needed
Follow-up Treatment A retainer is typically required  A retainer is typically required 
  • Virtually invisible
  • Removable
  • Dietary restrictions are not required
  • Removed for eating
  • Minimal pain
  • Permanent, cannot be lost or forgotten 
  • Optimal treatment for complex cases
  • No additional steps for cleaning 
  • Movement of teeth can cause discomfort
  • Must be removed for eating and drinking 
  • Regular cleaning required to prevent stains
  • Wires, brackets and movement of the teeth can result in mouth sores and pain
  • May result in tooth discoloration
  • Diet modifications may be necessary

As depicted in the chart above, both options have their own advantages and disadvantages. Invisalign can be enticing for patients who are concerned with the appearance of traditional braces. In addition, the aligner trays can be removed for eating, drinking, and cleaning of the teeth. Invisalign may not an ideal solution for patients who lack the discipline to regularly remove and replace the trays.

It is difficult to accurately measure the long-term success rates for each solution. In addition, Invisalign is a relatively new treatment. Meaning there is no long-term data available to assess. A successful outcome for Invisalign treatment completely depends on the discipline of the patient. In order to achieve the desired results, the aligner trays must be worn for most of the day or about 20-22 hours. Braces, in comparison, are attached to the teeth. Meaning there is no risk of losing them or temptation not to wear them.

Patients who have more complicated issues, or require adjustments in the back of their mouth, may not be ideal candidates for Invisalign. If the teeth must be rotated or moved vertically, braces may be a better solution. Follow up with your orthodontist or dentist to determine if Invisalign or braces will best meet your individual needs.

Is Invisalign Painful?

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