When your tween or teen learns that they need orthodontic care — or when you face the same need yourself – your dentist presents you with two options. Either align your teeth and fix your malocclusion (i.e., bad bite) with the clear aligner trays of Invisalign or choose traditional bracket-and-wire braces.
Your child might prefer Invisalign. After all, many of their friends use the discreet, nearly invisible aligners to nudge their teeth into perfect alignment. And if you’re the patient and a professional, you don’t want to look like a teenager, showing up to meetings with your mouth full of metal.
At Miracle Smile Dental in Aubrey, Texas, our expert dentist, Nisha Modi, DMD, advises you on the best way to straighten your teeth and align your bite. If you’re choosing between Invisalign and braces, evaluate yourself or your child to determine when braces are best.
The advantage of braces over Invisalign is that once the dentist applies your braces, your job is over. All you have to do is remember to come for your regular adjustments and take care of your teeth daily, as usual.
In contrast, Invisalign demands a lot from the patient. You switch alignment trays every two weeks. Although we offer Invisalign Teen® — which features an indicator dot that turns blue when time to switch up — you still have to remember to make the switch.
Braces are a better choice if you or your teen has a carefree approach to life, including misplacing items or accidentally breaking things. Your braces don’t come out of your mouth until your teeth are corrected, and your dentist removes them.
With Invisalign, you must remove your aligners every time you eat, rinse them, and store them safely in their solid case. That means your teen would have to take their Invisalign case to lunch at school or when they head out for a meal with friends. And not misplace it!
Invisalign clear aligner trays are also easy to break if you accidentally step on one. Since they’re virtually invisible, if you or your teen either places them or unwittingly knocks them to the floor, you might not notice until you hear an unwelcome crunching sound underfoot.
Braces don’t drastically change your lifestyle, although you should be more careful about brushing and flossing your teeth to remove food that may stick in the brackets or wires. Your routine doesn't change much other than avoiding certain foods and chewing gum, and you may need to wear a night brace for extra pushing force.
With Invisalign, you must remember to take them out with meals, rinse them, store them, re-rinse after a meal, and re-insert them. Every time you eat. You should also remove them when drinking anything sugary.
You brush the trays separately from your teeth with Castile soap or Invisalign cleanser before bed. And you have to remember to re-insert them before bedtime, too! You must wear Invisalign 22-23 hours every day.
Neither you nor your teen relishes having a railroad-track mouth filled with visible metal brackets and wires. Appearance is mostly driving your interest in Invisalign.
However, braces are much more discreet than those in decades past. In addition to traditional metal braces, we also offer ceramic braces tinted to match your natural tooth color. They straighten your teeth without drastically changing your smile. We might even be able to put the brackets and wires on the back sides of your teeth.
Also, even though Invisalign aligners are clear, if you have a relatively complex correction ahead of you, Dr. Modi may need to bond SmartAttachments to your teeth to help your teeth move. Although these are also clear, composite material, they’re visible at close range.
Whether you have a complex alignment problem better served by traditional braces or not, Invisalign isn’t always faster than braces. On average, you wear braces for about two years. While some Invisalign cases resolve in six months, others take two years. If you’re in the latter group, you might opt for braces instead.
Another consideration is strictly financial. While Invisalign and braces have an equivalent cost, Invisalign is usually considered a cosmetic treatment and dental insurance does not cover it.
However, some dental insurance either covers or defrays the cost of traditional braces, which may lower your overall cost of treatment. Either way, we recommend payment plans that make either option affordable so you can get the care you need.