In our experience, we often find that the patients often wanting to know the answer to “which is better; Invisalign or braces?” are either parents or adult patients.
Adult patients want to understand if, in fact, Invisalign is credible and if it works. Whereas, parent patients are exploring different brace options and want to know what works best.
Therefore, because we understand that these private procedures can be costly, we’ve provided the below to ensure you are fully informed on the advantages and disadvantages of both.
First things first; are you suitable?
Before you determine whether which procedure will be best, you need to understand if you are a good candidate.
Over recent years, Invisalign has advanced to a place where it is able to treat minor to complex bite cases.
However, there can exist more stubborn bite conditions like complex overbite states that may require wires, brackets and additional force and even in some cases, jaw surgery.
Just like conventional braces, Invisalign treats overbites, underbites, crossbites, crooked or crowded teeth, gaps (up to 6mm) as well as narrow smiles.
Truly discovering if the treatment is viable for your condition will begin with an orthodontic consultation.
Here, we will be able to examine all possibilities and even recommend some discreet systems that you may not even be aware of.
The consultation will determine what can be done to straighten your smile that meets your requirements and specifications.
For example, if you are looking for faster, quicker treatments, we can recommend powerful alignment systems that can be done twice as fast as conventional systems.
Just ask us! We’re here. Call 01992 552115.
Quick overview: Braces vs Invisalign
With any treatment, there are pros and cons, and selecting the right one for you will depend on your condition and ultimately, a personal decision on which system you’d prefer.
Let’s help make your choice a little easier…
Which system is the fastest?
There are different types of Invisalign (see), and each version has a different timeline. For example, Invisalign Go focuses more on aesthetic tweaks and can take as short as 3 months to complete.
Whereas, Invisalign Full is more intense as it targets more complex bite problems like overbites. The max treatment time for this is usually around 12 months.
As they mainly treat complex cases, metal braces aim to straighten teeth gradually over a longer period of time.
The average time for metal braces can take anywhere from 12-36 months. This, on top of the overall appearance of fixed braces, tends to put patients off the idea of getting their teeth straightened at all.
Which one do patients rate higher?
Invisalign in this case is rated higher for many reasons; it’s comfortable, fast, easy and straightens teeth more accurately and predictably than any other treatment.
When patients have their train tracks removed and they are presented with a straight smile means that they are often happy with the results.
However, patients tend to expect a whiter smile on top of a straighter one, but metal braces can sometimes leave marks (discolouration) and cause tartar build up from a lack of being able to clean properly whilst wearing them.
There are many ways we can minimise or remove staining or white spots on the affected teeth, however, the best way to get rid of this staining is likely to avoid it in the first place.
Which are less painful? Are aligners more comfortable?
Made from SmartTrack materials, Invisalign sits tight to the gum-line, is invisible and reported to wear comfortably.
It uses a set or series of custom aligners that are designed to move your teeth into their next positions through each stage.
When swapping aligners, patients report minimal discomfort, but this is to be expected as your teeth shift into their new positions and get used to it. According to testimonials, this does not last longer than a few days.
Anyone who has ever received fixed braces has complained of the pain of having them tightened or having them initially put on.
However, it won’t be hugely painful and is completely manageable. More pressure may be felt when the orthodontist works to position bands around your back molars and as your teeth tighten into place when the orthodontic wire is engaged into the brackets.
How many appointments are needed?
Invisalign is often completed in three easy appointments; your consultation, your delivery appointment and your review.
There may be a few little check-ups along the way to determine how your teeth are moving, however, these will be very short, often taking no longer than 10 or so minutes.
The initial appointment will take around two hours to attach your braces.
Reoccuring dental visits to the orthodontist to have braces tightened will be required every 6-8 weeks.
So, if you have braces on for two years, you will likely visit the dentist around 17 times.
Do they have any limitations?
Even though regular overbites may be addressed, severe and complex overbite cases may not be treatable.
Other disadvantages of Invisalign:
- Cannot shift teeth into correct alignment if rotated too much
- If teeth are too short, they may not be able to work as effectively
- Cannot close gaps larger than 6mm
- Limits the foods you can eat
- Disrupts physical activity
- Obvious appearance
What looks better?
One of the greatest advantages of this system is the fact that it is barely noticeable. The clear aligners are highly transparent and are designed to blend in for patients wanting to seek their treatment privately.
Because metal braces are constructed from metal, they come with some negative connotations like “brace face” and “metal mouth”.
Not so discreet, metal braces are very obvious in the mouth. However, there are newer models, which include tooth-coloured braces or lingual braces, which are less obvious, but still visible.
What’s the best for oral health?
What’s great about Invisalign is that it’s removable. But you may be thinking “so?” But this actually translates to mean that your oral health can strengthen and improve.
As the aligners are taken out to eat, drink, brush and floss there is no interruption to any oral hygiene routine. In fact, it actually increases your oral health because you will be required to brush your teeth after every meal to avoid destroying the clarity of the aligners.
As conventional braces are attached to the teeth they can cause barriers when cleaning, brushing and flossing.
This can lead to the development of decay or gum disease.
However, metal braces are the most effective at correcting severely overcrowded mouths, which having corrected can benefit your oral health tremendously.
Which brace option is the cheapest?
More: Invisalign Costs
Metal braces are free on the NHS for patients under the age of 18. Not offered to adult patients (only in rare cases), they can cost anywhere from £500-£2,500.
Whilst they are slightly more affordable than Invisalign, so if you are just looking at the cost of the two treatments, then metal braces would be the winner. However, Invisalign has qualities that make it better value for money.
Which offer the fastest aftercare processes?
You will be required to wear an unobtrusive aligner for 12-22 hours a day within the first 3-6 months following treatment to avoid relapse or retention.
From here, you will be required to wear a retainer only in the nighttime over the next 6-12 months.
Many patients are tasked to wear a retainer all day, every day for a period of 4 months. Whilst others will be instructed to wear theirs for 12 months.
It is the opinion of many specialist orthodontists that you consistently wear your retainer every night, indefinitely after having braces removed.
Medically reviewed & updated on June 9, 2021