Is Invisalign better than fixed braces?
It can be tough to make a decision about something as important as your dental health. Patients commonly ask us if Invisalign can really be as good as fixed braces. While the two systems can achieve similar results, the treatment plan is very different.
Understanding these differences is key to making an informed choice about which one is right for you. In this article, we’ll explore the pros and cons of each option so that you can make an informed decision about your treatment.
What is Invisalign?
Invisalign is a clear, removable aligner system that gradually moves your teeth into the desired position. You receive a case of numbered aligners and will change to the next one every 10-14 days, according to your treatment plan. You can remove your aligners to eat, drink and brush your teeth, but you need to wear them the rest of the time for the treatment to be effective.
Invisalign can be used to treat many common orthodontic issues, including overbite and overcrowding. For more complex cases, attachments can be used to ensure that aligners can get a better grip on your teeth. It’s a common misconception that Invisalign is only suitable for mild cases; it can actually be very successful for a wide range of issues.
Advantages of Invisalign
Removable aligners allow you to eat, drink and brush your teeth
Clear aligners can make you less self-conscious
Can remove the aligners for special occasions
No foods are off limits
Easy to care for your teeth
Fewer trips to the dentist
Can have fast treatment
Disadvantages of Invisalign
Have to follow the treatment plan
More difficult for your dentist to adjust treatment as you go
Can be more expensive than fixed aligners
What are fixed braces?
Fixed braces use brackets and wires that fit onto your teeth. Your dentist will attach the bracket and then thread a wire through it, which is tightened at regular intervals. These adjustments help to move your teeth into the correct alignment.
Unlike Invisalign, you don't have to manage any stage of your treatment plan, you simply wear the braces and attend appointments for adjustments.
Advantages of fixed braces
The treatment plan is easy to follow
Brackets and wires can be tooth-coloured and clear
No changing your own aligners at home
Cannot lose an aligner or forget to wear it
Often cheaper than Invisalign
Disadvantages of fixed braces
Treatment is less discreet
You may need to make changes to your diet
Brushing can be more difficult
Which treatment is right for me?
Both treatments are effective, so the decision comes down to your lifestyle and preferences. There are a few questions you should ask yourself before you start treatment to determine which one is right for you.
Am I likely to forget to wear my aligners?
If you are forgetful, then a removable aligner system might not be the right choice for you. When you can remove your aligners, it’s very tempting to not wear them, particularly if you’re at an uncomfortable point in your treatment plan. Likewise, if you think you might lose your aligners, then you should consider fixed braces as an alternative.
Do I have time to attend regular dentist appointments?
One of the biggest perks of Invisalign treatment is that you don’t have to visit the dentist for every adjustment. You simply move to the next aligner in your case. With fixed braces, you’ll have to visit the dentist for regular checkups and adjustments. With Invisalign, the visits are less frequent. Think about how much time you have to commit to regular checkups.
Am I self-conscious about wearing braces?
While Invisalign is very discreet, fixed braces can also be less noticeable than you might imagine. If you aren’t too bothered about appearances, fixed braces offer a cost-effective alternative to Invisalign. They have tooth-coloured brackets and clear wires, so they are still very discreet.
Am I ready for the maintenance?
Both orthodontic systems require a little extra attention to keep your teeth and gums healthy. With Invisalign, you’ll need to remove your aligners to eat and drink and clean them before you put them back in. You’ll also need to deep-clean your aligners once a day. With fixed braces, you’ll need to brush your teeth and braces carefully after meals to ensure no food debris is left behind. If you aren’t ready for this extra care, then a treatment like veneers might be more suited to you.
Do I need to be able to play sports?
You can continue to play sports with both orthodontic systems, but you might need to be extra careful with fixed braces. You’ll need a specially-made mouthguard to protect your braces or aligners from impact.
Who can help me decide?
If you’re still unsure which treatment option is right for you, the first step is to arrange a consultation with one of our orthodontists. We will be able to advise you on the options available and support you in making the right choice for your needs.