What are the differences between Invisalign and Braces?
When it comes to choosing which type of orthodontic treatment is right for you, you will probably have two main options. This will depend on if you opt for conventional orthodontic braces, or a newer and very different solution known as Invisalign.
Firstly… the similarity
It will probably surprise you to know that both Invisalign and braces work in exactly the same way. This is by exerting consistent, gentle pressure onto the teeth in order to manipulate them and the jaw into the new, desired position. This is the best and most successful method of correcting alignment and bite problems. However, the way in which both Invisalign and braces exert this force is very different.
Here is what you need to know about the differences between the two types of treatment and what they mean for you as the wearer!
The difference in the design
The design of Invisalign is very different to that used in conventional braces. Although there are different types, most people are fairly familiar with braces, recognizing the metal brackets and wires that are attached to your teeth. These, along with rubber bands are then used to manipulate and move the teeth into their new position in a very slow, gradual process. You won’t feel and probably won’t even notice your teeth moving until you are near the end of the treatment program, which usually takes between 12 and 24 months.
The design of Invisalign is very different. While it works in the same way, Invisalign uses a series of custom-designed transparent, plastic aligners that sit over the top of your teeth. Although they may not look like they are doing anything, they too are exerting pressure onto your teeth to move them. The transparent design of Invisalign aligners offers patients much greater discretion. This is one of the driving factors when people are choosing which orthodontic solution is right for them.
The difference in the treatment program
When you have braces, you will need to make fairly regular visits to your dentist so that you can have your braces adjusted. This represents the next stage in your treatment program. On average, patients attend appointments every 4 to 8 weeks depending on where they are at in the process of their treatment. Meanwhile, with Invisalign you simply have to move onto the next aligner in the series to move on to the next stage in your treatment plan. You must wear these aligners in order for the prescribed time before moving on to the next one but doing so eliminates some of the need to visit your provider. Therefore, you may only need to attend appointments every 6 to 12 weeks to check on the progress of your treatment.
The difference in the day-to-day wear of the solution
Orthodontic braces require patients to make a number of fairly big compromises. Firstly, it is important to note that they cannot be removed at any point. This means that you are stuck with them until your treatment ends and the compromises that you will need to make will also be in place until this time.
One of the biggest challenges is with eating. Patients who wear braces will have to think before they eat. Anything sticky is definitely a no-no, but you may also struggle with foods that are particularly hard, chewy or that break up into little particles that could get stuck in your brace – such as popcorn. This is not the case for wearers of Invisalign. Since the Invisalign aligners are actually removable, you can and should take them out for eating and you can enjoy whatever food you want since you don’t need to worry about it getting stuck. However, you do need to make sure that you brush your teeth straight after eating and you pop your aligner back in immediately too. This is because Invisalign aligners must be worn for a minimum of 22 hours each day to be effective. Any less and it could have an adverse effect on your treatment plan.
As you might imagine, brushing your teeth properly is also something of a challenge for patients who wear braces. This is because they have to navigate around brackets and wires to effectively clean their teeth. Despite their best efforts, it can be tricky to do a truly thorough job and as such, it is not unheard of for braces wearers to suffer from dental decay. Meanwhile, if you have Invisalign aligners you can just take them out to clean both your underlying teeth and the aligner itself. Again, just remember to pop the aligner back in as soon as you are done.
Although Invisalign and braces work in the same way, you may have identified that there is one solution that is more convenient and suitable for you. If you would like more information on the differences between them, or if you would like to schedule a consultation with our experienced dental team, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at 850-810-0300 for our Destin location or 850-810-0600 for our Panama City Beach location.
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