If you’re looking to improve your smile, there are a few options on the market. One of these is braces, but what about Invisalign? What’s the difference between them and which one should I choose?
We’ll take a look at both types of orthodontic treatment and see how they compare in terms of cost, convenience, effectiveness, etc. After that, we’ll help you decide which option is best for you! Let’s get started.
What Is Invisalign?
Invisalign is an orthodontic treatment that is a great alternative to traditional metal braces. Invisalign uses a set of custom-made clear plastic aligners to fix misaligned teeth. These clear plastic trays apply gentle pressure to teeth to straighten them and will be swapped out every 1-2 weeks. Invisalign clear aligners are invisible, removable and far more comfortable than any other orthodontic treatment to give you a perfect smile.
What Is The Difference Between Invisalign & Braces?
Invisalign and traditional braces are both orthodontic treatment options that a dentist may recommend for straightening crooked teeth. Both these dental treatments have the same end goal which is to deliver a beautiful smile. However, the way they do this differs greatly.
The major difference between braces and Invisalign is the aesthetics. Traditional braces use metal brackets attached to each tooth and held together by wires to move teeth into position. Elastic band on braces are also used in this process to bring teeth into the ideal position. The look of metal brackets and wires is something most adult patients tend to shy away from.
Invisalign clear plastic aligner trays are virtually invisible and therefore, less noticeable. Invisalign aligner materials include BPA-free plastic which is far more comfortable than traditional braces. These aligners are also removable so you can eat what you want and clean your teeth better.
No matter the orthodontic treatment your dentist recommends they will need to create a treatment plan that is customized to you. Treatment plans for Invisalign differ greatly from those for braces. At your first consultation, the orthodontist will review the position of your teeth and decide which type of treatment is best for you.
Before your orthodontist recommends the Invisalign treatment, they will need to perform a thorough examination of your teeth. Then, if you are approved, a digital 3D scan of your teeth is done, producing accurate 3D images of your teeth. These images will help your orthodontist to prepare a treatment plan specific to you and your case.
The treatment plan will include how much the teeth need to move, how many aligners you’ll need, the aligner treatment time and the treatment steps. This treatment plan with the use of advanced technology allows you to see how your teeth will progress at every stage and how it will look at the end of the treatment.
Once you’re happy with the treatment plan, your orthodontist will send your images off to the Invisalign lab for your aligners to be made. You will be issued a specific number of aligners to be worn during the course of your Invisalign treatment. Your treatment plan will also let you know when you should swap the old tray for the next in your series for controlled tooth movements.
Once you adhere to your treatment plan and follow all the rules and your teeth are in their proper position, you want to keep them there. This is because teeth tend to move back to their incorrect positions over time without anything keeping them in place. That is why immediately after your last Invisalign aligner tray, the orthodontist will provide you with a retainer. You will need to wear the Invisalign retainer for 12 to 22 hours for the first 6 months. After that, you can wear them only when you sleep.
Dental braces follow a very different treatment plan than Invisalign. At your initial consultation, the orthodontist will examine your teeth and perform an x-ray as well. The x-ray allows them to see the roots of your teeth and jawbones to check for any underlying oral problems.
If all is well to move forward, the orthodontist will create a treatment plan which includes all the options and it will be up to you to decide which one you want. The various options include ceramic, metal, standard, or lingual braces. In some cases, you may not have an option especially if you have severe orthodontic issues.
Once you’re happy with your treatment plan, the orthodontist may recommend an expander. An expander widens your jaw so overcrowded teeth can have more room. If your jaw is wide enough then you move on to the first step of getting your braces.
One week before you’re fitted with your braces, you’ll be required to go to the dentist to have separators placed around your back teeth. These dental rubber bands are then removed after enough space has been created for metal rings to be placed on your molars on the day of the application of the braces.
Application day sees small metal brackets attached to each tooth using dental glue. Once the brackets are in place, your dentist will place the metal wire called arch wire through them and attach it to the metal rings around the molars. You will be giving tips on how to brush, floss to remove food particles and what not to eat with your dental braces. You will be required to visit the dental practice after a week to see how things are progressing. After that, you’ll have regular visits every 4 to 8 weeks to have the braces adjusted.
Similar to Invisalign, at the end of your braces treatment you will be given a retainer to wear full time for the first 3 months and then 12 hours at night.
Average Cost Of Invisalign & Braces
The cost for Invisalign and dental braces in Australia varies and depends on many factors. These factors include how complex your case is, the length of your treatment and your chosen provider. The cost of braces and Invisalign may be lower if you have health insurance that covers dental work.
The average cost for minor corrections with Invisalign is $4500 while major treatments can go for $6000-$9000.
The average cost for traditional metal braces is from $4500-$8000.
Pros Of Invisalign
- Virtually invisible
- No food restrictions
- Maintain better oral health
- Fewer visits to the dentist
Cons of Invisalign
- Be disciplined to wear the trays for 20-22 hours per day
- Will not fix complex dental issues
Pros of Braces
- Suitable for complex issues
- May provide faster and better results
- Cannot be removed so there’s no way of losing it or forgetting to put it back in
Cons of Braces
- Diet and food restrictions
- Harder to maintain good oral hygiene
- More checks with the dentist especially when dealing with broken brackets or wires.
- Discomfort from the wires and metal brackets.
Which Treatment Is Better For Me?
The only way to know which treatment is better for you is to visit an orthodontist. They will examine your teeth and recommend the best possible orthodontic treatment to fix your smile. If you are a candidate for both, weigh the pros and cons of each and ask questions if necessary. Make sure that you have all the information you need before you proceed.