If you have crooked teeth, a misaligned bite, or gaps between your teeth, there are a few different treatment options that can correct these issues for you.
The two most popular orthodontic treatments are braces and Invisalign. Both teeth-straightening options have their benefits and drawbacks, and it’s important to make an informed decision about which treatment is right for you.
In this guide, we look at braces vs. Invisalign, covering everything from the length of treatment to price comparisons.
What is Invisalign?
Invisalign is an orthodontic treatment that uses custom clear trays to straighten and reposition the teeth.
These trays cover the teeth and gently apply pressure, moving them into the desired position over time.
Invisalign can close gaps between teeth and treat overbites, underbites, open bites, and crossbites. Clear aligners can also treat overcrowded teeth by shifting them into evenly-spaced positions.
Unlike traditional metal braces, Invisalign trays are clear and can be removed, making them a more discreet option. They are made from BPA-free plastic and are widely considered a much more comfortable alternative to braces.
Both teenagers and adults can wear Invisalign.
What are Braces?
Braces are dental tools that correct orthodontic issues such as crowding, misalignment, and crooked teeth. They straighten and align your teeth so that you have a normal bite.
Most people undergo braces treatment during their teen years, but adults can get braces too.
There are a few different types of braces that you can consider for your treatment.
- Metal braces, also known as traditional braces, are made of metal. They have brackets that attach to the front of your teeth and flexible wires that hold the brackets together. Some braces also have rubber bands that link the brackets to the wires. These bands create more pressure to straighten the teeth.
- Ceramic braces are tooth-coloured ceramic brackets and wires. The colouring and material make the braces less noticeable and are a popular option for adults in particular.
- Lingual braces are attached to the back of the teeth, facing the tongue. They are a subtle option for people who may be self-conscious about wearing braces.
How Long Does Invisalign Take?
The average treatment time for Invisalign is one year, but this will vary depending on the severity of your dental concern, and how many hours a day you wear your aligners.
As a general rule of thumb, adults tend to wear Invisalign longer than teenagers, because teenagers’ teeth are easier to move and are usually more responsive to treatment.
Adults tend to present with more complex issues and their teeth are often less responsive teeth, which extends treatment time.
For your treatment to be successful, you will need to wear your aligners for no less than 22 hours a day.
You cannot brush your teeth, floss your teeth, or eat with your aligners in, so you won’t be able to wear them constantly (unlike braces). However, you’ll need to limit the amount of time that they are outside of your mouth to two hours a day.
Leaving your clear trays out for longer will lead to a longer treatment period.
Are Braces Faster Than Invisalign?
In a nutshell, no. Invisalign actually moves your teeth faster than braces do.
While Invisalign treatment typically takes 12 months, braces usually need to be worn for 18 to 24 months.
The time required to achieve the desired results is mainly determined by the complexity of the dental concern.
The appointment frequency is similar for both braces and Invisalign. You will require adjustments (for braces) and tray updates (for Invisalign) every two to three weeks.
Is Invisalign Cheaper Than Braces?
With all this in mind, let’s consider costs.
Are braces cheaper than Invisalign? The short answer is yes, braces are cheaper than Invisalign. Invisalign is, in most cases, the more expensive option.
This is where braces come out on top in the braces vs. Invisalign debate.
Of course, costs depend on the severity of your misalignment and how long your dentist believes it will take for your teeth to shift into the correct position.
The average price of Invisalign is between $3,000 and $5,500. Invisalign tends to incur higher costs because of the laboratory work required to create the aligners. High-quality materials and state-of-the-art technology are used to make the aligners.
On the other hand, braces cost, on average $1,800 to $5,500.
The cost will also vary depending on where you live and the type of insurance coverage you have.
Invisalign is typically only covered by some insurance plans, as many state-funded programs only cover braces.
Can I Get Invisalign After Braces?
Yes, you can undergo Invisalign treatment after braces treatment.
It’s very common for teeth to shift after braces, especially if you don’t wear your retainer often enough. Our teeth also tend to move with age, so many people turn to Invisalign to correct these minor changes.
Can I Get Invisalign Instead of Braces?
Some people can get Invisalign instead of braces, but this will depend on your individual dental issues.
If you have minor dental concerns such as spacing issues or crookedness in a few teeth, you may be able to opt for Invisalign. Clear aligners will deliver more precise results more efficiently.
However, in some cases, Invisalign won’t be suitable. Many people will require braces to properly correct their alignment issues.
When Do I Need Braces Instead of Invisalign?
For some people, Invisalign won’t be powerful enough and braces will be required.
Complicated dental issues will require the use of stronger, more durable braces. In cases where multiple teeth have been extracted, or teeth need to be rotated, Invisalign will not suffice.
These cases require more power and control, which can only be offered by traditional braces.
Braces vs. Invisalign: What’s Better?
So, is Invisalign better than braces, or are braces the more effective option?
You will first need to consult with a dentist to determine whether you have any complex dental issues present. If you do, your dentist will likely recommend traditional braces.
Both treatment options work wonders and provide similar results. Your joint decision with your dentist will be informed by the condition of your teeth, as well as which option will best suit your lifestyle needs.
For example, if you are uncomfortable with having metal on your teeth or you feel you will struggle to cut out certain foods, your dentist may decide that Invisalign will be best for you.
Let’s take a look at the unique benefits of Invisalign.
- They don’t require food restrictions
- They allow you to better maintain dental hygiene
- They are removable
- They are more comfortable
- They work quickly
- They are clear and less noticeable than braces
- The movement of teeth is more precise
The benefits of braces should also be considered.
- They can correct complex issues
- They are cheaper
- They cannot be lost or misplaced
- They work for almost everyone
- They are durable
A Final Word
When we look at braces vs. Invisalign, the bottom line is that both treatments are effective in correcting dental concerns.
If you are an adult presenting with minor alignment or spacing issues, Invisalign will likely be the best option for you.
If you have particularly complex dental issues, or you are looking for the most cost-effective option, braces may be a better fit.
At Kew Dentistry, our skilled and friendly dentists can chat you through which option will be best for you.
Want to learn more? You can request an appointment with us to discuss braces vs. Invisalign with one of our expert dentists.