When it comes to orthodontic treatments, our North York orthodontist knows that each person has unique needs. When choosing between traditional metal braces and Invisalign clear aligners, it’s important to take your personality and lifestyle into consideration!
Our orthodontics patients often ask us about the comparative pros and cons of traditional metal braces and invisalign clear aligners. Both treatment options have their benefits and downsides, and here, we’d like to go over what those are.
First, let’s look at what each of these treatment options actually are.
Braces are metal brackets that are adhered to the teeth, and tied together with wires and tiny rubber bands. They are permanent for the duration of your treatment, and cannot be removed.
Invisalign treatment consists of a series of clear, BPA-free plastic aligners that are worn over your teeth. Each set in the series is switched out every other week or so.
Both braces and Invisalign can straighten your teeth, but they both have benefits and drawbacks.
Braces Pros & Cons
Braces are metal, and typically silver in colour, but there are clear and colourful options. You’ll wear your braces 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for the duration of your treatment.
Wearing braces requires a lot of careful cleaning and attention, since they have lots of crevices where food particles can build up. As a result, plaque buildup and tooth decay become more of a risk during treatment, and so you should carefully clean your braces and teeth after each meal, as well as in the morning and before bed.
You’ll need to visit your orthodontist approximately once a month for checkups and adjustment appointments, so that your progress can be monitored and your braces tightened for the next phase of tooth movement.
After your braces treatment is complete, you’ll have to wear a retainer, full time at first and then eventually only at night or a few times a week, to retain your results.
Metal braces are typically more effective for complex orthodontic issues, and since they’re permanently adhered to your teeth, there’s no temptation to take them out, meaning less self-discipline is required in that respect.
On the downside, the brackets and wires can cause some soreness and irritation inside your mouth, and you make experience some tooth discolouration around the area where the brackets have been place. Metal braces can also make eating certain types of food difficult, and can even be damaged by sticky, hard foods.
Invisalign Pros & Cons
Invisalign aligners are made of clear plastic, making them discreet when worn. You’ll wear your Invisalign aligners between 22 and 24 hours a day throughout treatment.
Invisalign aligners are arguably easier to clean than metal braces, and they make your teeth easier to clean too, because they’re removable. You can simply take them out, brush and floss as you normally would, brush your aligners with lukewarm water, and pop them back in.
You can change your Invisalign aligner trays yourself every 2 weeks, so while you’ll still need to visit your orthodontist regularly for checkups to monitor progress, you won’t need to attend any adjustment appointments.
After you’re finished with your Invisalign treatment, you’ll need to wear a retainer, just like with regular braces, to maintain results. As with regular braces, the duration and frequency of retainer wear will depend on your needs.
Invisalign aligners are low profile and difficult to see, so many people may never even notice that you’re undergoing treatment. The fact that they’re removable means you can brush and floss like you normally would, and you won’t have to deal with any food limitations either. And because they’re made of smooth plastic, you won’t experience any irritation from brackets or wires.
However, you will likely still experience some discomfort as your teeth move and shift into their new positions, and they absolutely must be removed before you eat or drink anything other than water. You must also be careful to clean them thoroughly and regularly to avoid staining.
You’ll also need to practice self-discipline to keep your trays in for at least 22 hours out of the day if you decide to move forward with Invisalign treatment.