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Invisalign vs Braces: Everything You Need to Know

Invisalign vs braces

Are you self-conscious about your teeth? Do you feel your imperfect smile is somehow holding you back?

If so, you’re not alone. Consider a few interesting finds from a recent survey:

  • 70% of Americans believe that one minor improvement in appearance would significantly boost their confidence.
  • People rank teeth as their #2 most common physical insecurity (57%), only slightly behind weight (60%).
  • 78% of adults say that straightening their teeth gave them the confidence to do something they would never have done before.

If you’ve been debating Invisalign vs braces for a while, it’s time to get off the fence. Straightening your teeth will not only improve your appearance, but it will also help you to feel happier and more confident.

In this post, we’ll discuss Invisalign vs braces and help you determine which option is best for you.

A Quick History of Dental Braces

The desire for straight teeth is far from a modern trend.

Archaeologists have found crude metal bands around the teeth of Egyptian mummies. They believe the ancient Egyptians tied cat skin or intestines around the bands to encourage the teeth to move.

Thank goodness for modern dentistry, huh?

It wasn’t until the 1700’s that modern orthodontics began to appear. Dentists in France used a bandeau, a horseshoe-shaped metal strip with evenly spaced holes that fit over the teeth to correct alignment.

In the US in the 1800’s, dentists developed techniques using headgear, gold caps, and vulcanized rubber. This led to the metal brackets, wires, and bands most of us associate with traditional braces.

These days, there are even more options for teeth straightening. Invisalign, for example, offers the same results as metal braces but is virtually unnoticeable to others.

Curious about the difference between Invisalign vs braces? Let’s delve into each option more closely.

A Closer Look at Braces

Traditional braces are composed of metal brackets glued to your teeth. They’re tied together by wires and small rubber bands.

For those concerned about their appearance, it’s also possible to get brackets that match your tooth enamel. This makes them much less noticeable.

Or, if you want to make a fashion statement, you can opt for braces in bold, fun colors.

Depending on your needs, you can expect to wear braces for anywhere from six months to three years. Because they’re glued on, you’ll wear them 24/7 for the entire length of time.

The average cost of metal braces is between $3,000 and $6,000, depending on your area.

While you have your braces, you’ll need to visit your orthodontist regularly for checkups. You’ll also have to follow a good brushing and flossing routine since it’s easier for debris to get trapped.

A common concern people have is that braces will hurt. You won’t feel any pain when the braces are applied or during the time you wear them. Most people describe a feeling of slight pressure as the braces gradually straighten their teeth.

A Closer Look at Invisalign

Invisalign was introduced in 2000 and has quickly become a popular alternative to braces.

Rather than metal and wires, Invisalign uses a clear tray made from smooth, BPA-free plastic. You wear it over your teeth to gently move them into proper alignment.

To create your aligner trays, your dentist will use pictures, x-rays, and dental impressions to make a precise 3D image of your teeth. This ensures your Invisalign trays will be comfortable to wear.

For best results, you’ll wear Invisalign 22 to 24 hours a day. In general, the only time you’ll remove them is when you eat, drink, or brush your teeth.

Expect to visit your dentist every 4 to 6 weeks so he or she can monitor your progress.

Depending on your teeth, you can expect your Invisalign treatment to last anywhere from 6 to 18 months. Costs vary by region, but the national average is around $5,000.

To clean your trays, you’ll need to use the Invisalign cleaning system. Alternately, you can brush and rinse your trays with lukewarm water. You’ll also need to maintain an excellent brushing and flossing routine.

Pros and Cons of Invisalign vs Braces

Now that you have a clear picture of both treatments, let’s analyze them side by side.

Pros of Braces

  1. Best for complex dental issues, including severe malocclusion.
  2. Requires less self-discipline, since you can’t be tempted to leave them out.
  3. Requires no extra cleaning maintenance steps beyond brushing and flossing.

Cons of Braces

  1. Noticeably alters your appearance.
  2. May experience discomfort or sores from the brackets or wires.
  3. May need to limit or avoid hard or sticky foods.

Pros of Invisalign

  1. Invisible to others.
  2. Completely removable, so no concerns about food getting trapped or avoiding certain foods.
  3. No risk of discomfort from metal brackets or wires.

Cons of Invisalign

  1. Requires self-discipline to wear it consistently.
  2. Must remove it every time you eat or drink anything.
  3. Need to brush after every meal to avoid stains.

Other things to consider are your lifestyle and habits.

For example, if you play rough contact sports, metal braces are probably not the safest option for you. On the other hand, if you struggle with self-discipline, you may not achieve the best results from Invisalign.

You also need to consider how severe your dental issues are. Invisalign is not ideal for rotating canines, moving teeth vertically, or anyone with back tooth bite problems.

Invisalign vs Braces: Which Will You Choose?

As you can see, there are advantages and disadvantages of both Invisalign and traditional braces. Your decision ultimately comes down to your budget and personal preferences.

One thing is certain, though. Whichever route you choose, you’ll end up with a beautiful, confident smile.

Do you have more questions about Invisalign vs braces? We invite you to contact us at Forest Park Dental to discuss your concerns.

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