Braces vs. Invisalign for Adults

If you are an adult seeking to realign your teeth for the perfect smile, you are probably wondering which type of appliance — braces vs. Invisalign — would be the best option for correcting your orthodontic issues.

To begin with, it is important to understand that there is no one perfect way to approach an orthodontic treatment. The best treatment begins with an accurate diagnosis — and that starts with your orthodontist. At your assessment, your orthodontist will examine your bite and use other tools such as models, photographs, and x-rays of your mouth to pinpoint the issues. At that time, he or she can suggest a course of action.

No one appliance is “better” than another. The one you choose will depend upon several factors including your lifestyle, your smile goals, and the severity of your case. Below, we discuss the pros and cons of each type of appliance so you can make a more informed decision if given a choice between them.

What are the Advantages of Invisalign?

Invisalign treatment is conducted using customized clear plastic aligners. These aligners are created using a 3D scan of your mouth and each set will be used to move your teeth in small increments until the right position is attained.

Some of the advantages of orthodontic treatment with Invisalign include:

1. They Are Discreet

Invisalign aligners are practically invisible, so most people will not even notice you are undergoing orthodontic treatment. This is important for working adults who must meet with clients or colleagues on a regular basis or for people who are self-conscious.

2. You Can Remove Them

You can take your Invisalign aligners out when you eat, or if you must attend a special event. This is a plus for those who still wish to enjoy their favorite foods, some of which may not be possible to eat with metal braces. Typically, you should wear your aligners for 20 or more hours each day for best results, so only remove them when you really need to.

3. Hygiene is Simpler

Because you can remove the aligners, cleaning your teeth is much easier since you can brush and floss as usual. With no metal pieces to collect food, keeping your oral hygiene on target is simpler.

4. They Require Fewer Appointments

Most of the work for aligners is done up front when the scans are taken of your mouth. You do not have to make appointments to get your aligners adjusted — you simply switch aligners at the appropriate time. You will still see your orthodontist for progress checks, but there will be fewer visits overall — perfect for adults with busy schedules.

5. They are Comfortable

While you can still experience discomfort as your aligners move your teeth into a different position, there are no sharp wires or metal parts to rub or snag on delicate tissues in your cheeks or gums.

Disadvantages of Invisalign

While there are many advantages to choosing Invisalign to perfect your smile, they do come with several drawbacks:

1. Patients Must Be Disciplined

Because you can remove your aligners, you must be disciplined enough to remember to put them back in after eating or brushing your teeth. Keeping them out for more than a few hours can seriously impede progress and increase the length of your treatment plan.

2. Removing Them Can Be Inconvenient

If you eat — or drink anything other than water — you must remove your aligners. This can be very inconvenient for those who drink coffee, tea, or other beverages during the day. Also, you must brush your teeth before replacing your aligners or you risk food particles interfering with tooth movement — and causing decay.

3. They Cost More (In Some Cases)

While Invisalign is more expensive than traditional metal braces, they are similar in price to lingual braces, or the braces that are placed on the inside surface of the tooth to be more discreet.

4. Not Appropriate for Complex Cases

If you are a complex orthodontic case, you may not be able to use Invisalign. Your orthodontist will know whether you can expect good results from clear aligners or not.

What are the Advantages of Braces?

While you may not think so at first, there are actually several advantages to choosing orthodontic treatment with metal braces.

1. Suitable for All Orthodontic Cases

Even if you present with a very difficult case, metal braces can be used to move your teeth into position. This is good news for patients with multiple facial and dental issues that require correction.

2. They Can Be Stylish

You can choose lingual-style braces where the metal brackets adhere to the inside tooth surface to make them less noticeable. Even if you choose standard metal braces, you can color-coordinate them with bright bands that can be changed at each appointment.

3. Treatment Time is Faster

Braces can help you reach your smile goals faster than Invisalign, which is important for many adults.

Disadvantages of Braces

There are also significant disadvantages to choosing traditional metal braces.

1. They are Obvious

There is no hiding the fact that you have braces. For many working adults, this can present self-confidence issues, particularly in a work environment.

2. Hygiene is More Difficult

With lots of metal bits and wires, it is easy for food to get trapped leading to plaque buildup or decay. Cleaning around the brackets and wires is more difficult and brushing and flossing can take longer to complete.

3. Some Foods are Restricted

You can’t eat just anything when wearing metal braces. Sticky or hard foods such as caramel, taffy, gum, and others can cause brackets to loosen or wires to break. If this happens, you must take time out to see your orthodontist for repair.

4. They Can Be Uncomfortable

Both Invisalign and braces can cause discomfort while teeth are being repositioned. But metal braces can abrade cheek and mouth surfaces and sometimes wires can poke loose and irritate or injure gums or cheeks.

Ready to Choose Your Orthodontic Treatment in Santa Barbara?

Choosing the right orthodontic treatment is a big step. At Orthodontist of Santa Barbara, we have the knowledge and experience to help you make the right choice — one that will not only give you the best smile in the fastest timeframe but will also suit your lifestyle.

Our Santa Barbara patients can rely on us to not only help them choose a treatment they will be happy with, but one that will move them closer to their smile goals.

Ready for that new smile? Contact us at (805) 979-9070 and get started with braces or Invisalign today.

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