Should I Get Braces or Aligners?
When it comes to straightening teeth, you want to make the best decision for yourself or your child. Your teeth make a difference in your quality of life, from eating and talking to having confidence when you smile. That's why you're trying to decide which is better, braces or Invisalign? Since Invisalign's introduction in the early 2000s, people have been asking that same question. The truth is people have found success with both options.
The choice you make will depend on your personal and dental needs. As you consider your decision between Invisalign or braces, use this guide to understand the differences and discover which option is right for you.
What Is the Difference Between Invisalign and Braces?
People around the world use Invisalign and braces for some of the same reasons, including achieving straighter teeth and a more attractive smile. Yet these two methods differ in several ways. Let's take a closer look at the most notable differences between braces and Invisalign:
1. Appearance and Functionality
Braces consist of metal or porcelain brackets stuck to your teeth with an adhesive. A metal wire passes through each bracket, which your orthodontist will use to exert force on your teeth to move them into straighter positions. Braces have been around for centuries, so most people are familiar with how noticeable they are. People also know braces are effective and get the job done.
Invisalign and other brands of clear aligners are discreet options for getting straighter teeth. Invisalign consists of a patented, see-through plastic material called SmartTrack® that fits around your teeth, exerting force to move them in the desired direction. This process makes it possible to straighten your teeth with less-noticeable aligners.
Since braces attach to your teeth with an adhesive, they stay there for the duration of your treatment. You'll wear your braces 24/7 for the entire process. And when you complete your treatment, only your orthodontist can remove your braces safely. If you choose braces, get ready, because they'll be in your mouth for the foreseeable future.
Invisalign is a different story. When you start your Invisalign treatment, your provider will give you several sets of trays to wear for 7 to 14 days each. For the best results, you should wear your trays for 22 hours per day. That means you get to remove them whenever you eat, brush your teeth, clean the aligners or drink anything besides water. Many people prefer Invisalign over braces because of the freedom to remove the trays at a moment's notice.
The accountability factor of braces and Invisalign may have a large impact on your decision. With braces, you'll have regular meetings with your orthodontist to make adjustments and track your progress. These visits will hold you accountable and help you treat your braces the right way when out of the office. That means protecting them, eating the right foods and making sure they stay clean.
Invisalign offers much more freedom than braces. You can take them out whenever you want to eat a meal, enjoy a coffee or brush your teeth. With this freedom comes greater responsibility. You'll have to remember to reinsert your trays when you're finished with your break. This level of accountability is doable for some people. For others, remembering to reinsert trays after a meal or before bed can be a struggle.
Braces vs. Clear Aligners FAQs
We've compiled some of the most commonly asked questions about braces and aligners to help you learn more about these two teeth-straightening methods:
1. Are Braces Faster Than Invisalign?
For some people, speed is the most important factor when it comes to straightening their teeth, regardless of the cost. When it comes to how long your orthodontic treatment will last, several factors can affect that window, including:
- The orthodontist or Invisalign provider you choose
- How responsible you are
- The severity of how crooked your teeth are
- Other dental issues you want to address, including overbite, underbite and impacted teeth
Putting a number on how long your treatment could last is difficult, and your orthodontist or Invisalign provider can give you a more accurate estimate. Invisalign often involves a shorter treatment period than braces because of its effectiveness against less-severe issues, but this can vary. Imagine you decide to get Invisalign to straighten your teeth. Forgetting to wear your trays every few days can affect your progress and extend the duration of your treatment. In such instances, Invisalign may take longer than braces.
Whatever option you choose, make sure you're partnering with a reputable orthodontist or Invisalign provider. They'll make sure you get the most out of your treatment and that it goes as quickly as possible with your cooperation. Remember that the most severe dental issues may need extra time and effort to remedy. Be patient and follow your regimen to ensure your treatment is successful without needing extra time.
2. Are Aligners Cheaper Than Braces?
Besides the speed of each treatment, another question people often ask is which straightening method is more affordable. Keeping within your budget is important, but so is the health of your teeth. You may find it worthwhile to pay a little more for the treatment you feel best about.
The price you pay for braces is usually a bit less than the price you'd pay for aligners. Braces can fall anywhere in the $1,500 to $6,000 range depending on the severity of the issues, the skill of the orthodontist and the time needed to complete treatment. Be sure to ask your orthodontist about insurance. In some instances, your insurance policy can cover the cost of traditional braces for your child, which can be a huge benefit to your budget.
Invisalign has a broader range of costs depending on the length of time needed for the treatment and the severity of the patient's needs. The cost for Invisalign ranges from $2,000 up to $9,000. Some expedited treatment plans can be more affordable, but for the most part, you could end up paying more for Invisalign than for standard braces. Some insurance may cover part of the cost of Invisalign, or you can sign up for a payment plan that make the cost more manageable.
3. Are Aligners as Effective as Braces?
Aligners can be as effective as braces in some instances. Braces have a reputation for solving even the most complex dental issues, and this is true in many circumstances. But if the crookedness of your teeth is moderate, aligners can be as effective as braces while being more discreet. If your goal is to enjoy straighter teeth without others knowing you're wearing aligners, Invisalign is more effective than braces. It all depends on your goals and needs.
When deciding how to straighten your teeth, the effectiveness of Invisalign vs. braces should be at the top of your considerations. The end goal of the process is what's most important. You should be sure you're choosing the method that provides effective teeth-straightening. From making slight, discreet movements to adjusting your teeth in a major way, your choice should reflect your dental needs.
4. How Do You Care for Braces and Aligners?
Whether you get traditional braces or Invisalign, caring for them is crucial for your success. When you introduce objects like braces or aligners into your daily life, dental care becomes even more important. Bacteria and food particles can cling to these new surfaces, so proper hygiene is important in limiting cavities and other issues.
Here is a brief rundown of the difference between caring for braces and caring for aligners:
Caring for braces: Make sure you brush every bracket and wire twice per day when you brush your teeth. Consider brushing after each meal to dislodge any lingering food particles and stop bacteria from accumulating. A water pick could be useful when trying to floss since the wires can get in the way of traditional flossing methods. For the most cleaning power, use OrthoFoam from EverSmile when you brush and rinse to kill bacteria and whiten your teeth.
Caring for aligners: Be sure to rinse your aligner trays in lukewarm water whenever you remove them from your mouth. Since you can remove them, you have the ability to brush and floss your teeth like normal throughout your treatment. To make caring for your aligners easier, try EverSmile's WhiteFoam which kills bacteria, whitens teeth and freshens breath all at the same time. Pump the WhiteFoam into your trays, insert your trays and go about your day! For a travel-sized option, use AlignerFresh from Eversmile for on-the-go aligner cleaning.
Invisalign vs. Braces Pros and Cons
Making a decision between braces and Invisalign involves weighing the pros and cons. Both options have aspects that make them seem like the best option, while other characteristics could make you spend a bit more time deliberating. In this section, we'll try to help you see these two alignment options more clearly so you can make a confident decision. You may discover some benefits you need in your life or some concerns that are a deal breaker for you. It's better to know now rather than later.
Benefits of Braces
Here are some of the most popular benefits of braces:
Braces are time-tested: Braces have a long history of success stories. Some people find comfort knowing many people came before them wearing braces throughout the years. These years helped orthodontists and scientists develop the best methods for moving teeth with braces to ensure success. By now, wearing braces is a streamlined process that you can feel confident jumping into.
They're effective for severe dental cases: The most severe dental cases may demand braces over aligners. Braces have the power and ability to fix impacted teeth, severely crooked teeth and even teeth that need turning or vertical movement. With braces, you can achieve the smile of your dreams, whatever position your teeth are in.
They offer consistent movement: For teeth to move their positions, they need to experience consistent pressure from an outside force. Braces guarantee this pressure remains consistent since they are permanent. They'll stay connected to your teeth, allowing you to focus on other things. Braces are always working in the background as you wear them and go about your business.
You can enjoy colorful options: Braces are quite visible, and you may enjoy embracing their visibility by choosing colorful brackets and rubber bands. Braces can help you show off your unique flair thanks to the many color options you can choose from. Incorporate the colors of your braces into your style or represent your favorite sports team for the big game.
You'll stay accountable: The process of wearing braces involves frequent visits to your orthodontist. These visits can help you stay accountable by keeping your mouth clean and protecting your brackets and wires. If something goes wrong with your braces, you can quickly call your orthodontist to set things right. This accountability is a major benefit, especially for those who want the extra push to keep them on track.
Cons of Braces
You should know a few more things about braces before making your decision. Here are some of the concerns of wearing braces:
Braces can trap bacteria: The brackets of your braces are like traps for bacteria. Without proper care, this bacteria can form into plaque and start damaging the enamel of your teeth. In some instances, this process can cause discoloration. When your orthodontist removes your brackets, you might be able to tell where the brackets were located on your teeth because of this discoloration. Make sure you use EverSmile's OrthoFoam to keep your braces clean and help avoid this issue.
People will notice you're wearing them: Unlike clear aligners, braces are quite noticeable. This fact could be a deal breaker for some, especially young adults and older individuals who want to look more professional at work or in public. While some people may enjoy this visibility, others could view this aspect of braces as a major concern.
Brackets and wires can cause discomfort: Braces contain brackets and wires that can poke and aggravate the soft tissues of your mouth.
Only your orthodontist can remove them: When your orthodontist attaches braces to your teeth, they're going to stay there for the duration of your treatment barring unforeseen circumstances. That means they'll stay in your mouth, which could be a bother to you. If you want the freedom of removal, you may want to choose Invisalign instead of traditional braces.
You may experience tooth pain: Tooth pain is par for the course when it comes to having your teeth straightened. The pressure your braces exert against your teeth can make them feel sensitive to the touch and could cause some pain. This pain is usually temporary, but it could cause a bit of discomfort while it lasts.
Benefits of Aligners
Clear aligners have many benefits of their own. Here are some of the reasons why you may choose them as your teeth-straightening method:
They're removable: People around the world love clear aligners because of their removability. When it's time to eat a meal, enjoy your morning coffee or brush your teeth, you can take your aligners out and enjoy the experience with your natural teeth. You can enjoy all your favorite foods without worrying about them getting stuck in brackets or causing damage to any components.
They're virtually invisible: The invisibility aspect of clear aligners leads many people to think Invisalign is better than braces. You'll love going out in public knowing you're straightening your teeth and still showing your natural teeth when you smile and talk.
They're comfortable: Invisalign's patented SmartTrack aligner material is smooth and gentle on the delicate tissues of your mouth. You'll enjoy this experience compared to the sharper wires and brackets involved with braces. You might actually miss the feeling of the aligners on your teeth during the day when you complete your treatment.
They're easy to clean: Aligners are easy to clean, especially when you use EverSmile products like WhiteFoam and AlignerFresh to get the job done. Pump WhiteFoam into your trays and insert them to enjoy cleaner trays as you wear them. Just a few sprays of AlignerFresh will keep you fresh and confident all day long as you wear your clear aligners.
Cons of Aligners
Despite their many benefits, clear aligners also have some concerns worth considering:
Aligners may not fix severe issues: Aligners are a great option for mild to moderate tooth correction, but more severe issues could demand braces. Ask your orthodontist if you are a good candidate for Invisalign. After an examination, they'll be able to identify the severity of your needs. Depending on your teeth-straightening needs, you may want the power of braces over that of aligners.
You'll need to practice discipline for success: Aligners require discipline to straighten your teeth. Forgetting to wear your trays once in a while may seem like a harmless accident, but it can get in the way of your progress and cause your teeth to shift incorrectly. You'll need to wear your aligners as recommended by your provider, which usually amounts to at least 22 hours per day.
It's easy to misplace them: Since you have the freedom to remove your trays during meals and at other times of the day, you could find yourself misplacing them. A common mistake is wrapping your aligner in a napkin during mealtime. This can lead to throwing away the trays with the rest of your lunch trash. Simple mistakes like this can lead to losing your aligners and falling back on your progress.
They can cause tooth pain: Like braces, your clear aligners will put constant pressure on your teeth, which can lead to tooth pain and sensitivity. When it comes to the effectiveness of aligners vs. braces, this pain means they're working. But the pain can still be distracting or discouraging. Use OrthoChews from EverSmile to help manage the pain. Each package comes with two chews, one for helping situate your new trays and the other for relieving pain in problem areas.
Care for Your Braces or Aligners With EverSmile Products
Whether you choose clear aligners like Invisalign or traditional braces to straighten your teeth, you can count on EverSmile to help enhance your oral hygiene routine. We design all our products to help everyone enjoy a cleaner mouth, whatever their dental needs may be. From dentures and implants to braces and aligners, we have game-changing products that make oral hygiene easier and more enjoyable than ever.
Contact us today for more information on how we can help you reach your dental goals. And be sure to follow our blog to stay up to date with the latest oral hygiene tips!