Some people may consider metal braces and Invisalign clear aligners as orthodontic treatment options. Our BC and Alberta orthodontists explain the differences between the two options and offer some advice for determining which is right for you.
Both Invisalign® and traditional metal braces work to achieve the same goal: straight teeth and better oral health. The fundamental difference between them is in the way they straighten your teeth. Which is preferable for you will be determined by your needs and tastes.
Metal brackets are attached to the enamel of each tooth to form braces. Metal wires are then positioned between the brackets to gradually shape and reshape your teeth. The wires may occasionally be fashioned to match the colour of your enamel, which can make them less obvious. Patients can usually also select from a variety of colours to have some fun with their braces.
It can be difficult to know whether or not metal braces are the best option for you, so we've put together a list of what may make metal braces a good option:
Not Removable: Metal braces will stay in place. This is beneficial for individuals who are concerned about losing their trays (which is what Invisalign comes with) or who do not want to change their trays regularly.
Cleaning: Brushing your teeth is generally less of a hassle with braces. All it should require is regular brushing and flossing (twice a day brushing and once a day flossing is the recommendation), the same as if you didn't have them.
Used for Complex Issues: Generally speaking, traditional braces are more likely to succeed in treating patients with more complex dental issues.
One of the main reasons traditional metal braces may not be an option for some people is that they are generally not ideal for a person who plays contact sports as the metal from the braces can potentially damage tissue if you are hit in the mouth.
Invisalign aligner trays are composed of BPA-free plastic and are designed to gradually shift your teeth. Because this sort of plastic should be smooth and pleasant, wearing the trays shouldn't be too much of a hassle. Rather than a mould, Invisalign creates trays with a custom fit using a 3-D picture of your teeth.
Like with metal braces, you might not know if Invisalign clear aligners are the best option for you, so we've put together a list of the benefits of using Invisalign:
Removable: Unlike braces, Invisalign clear aligners are removable. In fact, you're allowed to remove them for two hours a day, usually. This is generally during meal times so you don't get food stuck inside the aligners.
Near-Invisible: Adults who have wanted to straighten their teeth for a long time but have been put off by the appearance of metal braces may consider Invisalign. Many individuals may not even notice that a patient is wearing Invisalign. Your treatment is a closely guarded secret, and you can share the results later.
Treatment Time: Patients should be wearing their clear aligners for about 20-22 hours per day for 6 to 18 months. Of course, this will vary with each individual patient.
One of the main reasons Invisalign clear aligners may not be a good option for some people is that patients with bridgework, rear tooth biting difficulties, or the need to rotate canines or premolars might not be good candidates.