Although it does not have the lengthy track record of metal braces, Invisalign has emerged as a viable alternative to the old standby. Introduced in the year 2000, the transparent teeth straightening system has been winning new converts ever since. But could it ever really replace dental braces? Let’s find out!
Tale Of The Tape
If this were a boxing match, picking a winner wouldn’t be easy. Both systems do an excellent job of straightening crooked smiles; they just go about it in different ways. As we all know, dental braces use wires, tiny rubber bands, and metal brackets to pull unruly canines, molars, and incisors into place. Invisalign, on the other hand, uses clear plastic aligner trays that gently move teeth into their proper positions. How do they compare on key points?
Even after you get used to them, dental braces can irritate, scratch, even cut the inside of your lips. Smooth, plastic aligners are, by comparison, far more comfortable. When properly fitted and used, they should not cause any oral irritation.
Although they both cost about $5,000 for the average patient, there are some cases where metal models are considerably less expensive. But since the price of Invisalign is set by the manufacturer, the cost has remained consistent since its introduction.
While it is true that both options are effective for most patients, dental braces are superior for complex cases. If, for instance, a patient has serious spacing or crowding issues, orthodontists generally recommend metal models.
While it’s true that some folks prefer a metallic smile, most patients prefer models that aren’t as noticeable. Although they can be spotted close up, Invisalign is widely considered the far more attractive option. We should also mention that clear plastic aligners don’t get food stuck in them like traditional models.
Dental braces can be adequately cleaned through regular brushing alone. Because plastic aligners get dirty from normal use, they should be brushed and rinsed in lukewarm water on a daily basis. Generally speaking, it takes more time to care for the latter because it requires an extra step.
Because you must remove the aligners before eating and drinking anything (except water), patients wear Invisalign for an hour or two less than braces each day. As for the total treatment time, both systems take an average of about two years to achieve the desired results.
Another area where these two systems are more or less the same is in the dental visits department. Both require patients to see their dentists or orthodontists every month to six weeks. The only real difference is that the plastic aligners rarely require much, if any, adjustment during these visits. The same cannot be said for metal models, which generally have to be adjusted each and every visit.
The choice of a tooth straightening system really does come down to personal preference. Both options we discussed today can get the job done. It is up to you to decide which one is right for you based on your individual preference.