A detailed comparison of Invisalign and metal braces - Braces R Us

(208) 737-0006

Twin Falls

(208) 788-0126

Hailey

(480) 668-8200

Mesa

A detailed comparison of Invisalign and metal braces

A detailed comparison of Invisalign and metal braces

Date: July 1, 2024

Invisalign and metal braces are both orthodontic treatments designed to straighten teeth, but they differ significantly in their design, application, and overall patient experience. Here’s a detailed comparison:

Appearance

One of the most noticeable differences between Invisalign and metal braces is their appearance. Metal braces consist of stainless steel brackets and wires affixed to the front of the teeth, making them highly visible. In contrast, Invisalign uses clear, custom-made aligners that fit over the teeth, rendering them nearly invisible. This aesthetic advantage makes Invisalign particularly popular among adults and teens who are self-conscious about their appearance during treatment.

Comfort

Comfort is another key differentiator. Metal braces can cause discomfort due to the brackets and wires, which may irritate the inside of the mouth and cause sores. Adjustments made during regular orthodontic visits can also be uncomfortable. Invisalign aligners, on the other hand, are made of smooth plastic and are less likely to cause irritation. However, switching to a new set of aligners every two weeks can still cause mild discomfort as the teeth adjust to the new pressure.

Treatment Process

The treatment processes for Invisalign and metal braces are quite different. Metal braces are bonded to the teeth and adjusted periodically by an orthodontist to guide teeth into the desired position. This process usually requires visits every 4-6 weeks. Invisalign treatment involves a series of custom-made aligners that are changed approximately every two weeks. Each set of aligners gradually shifts the teeth until the final position is achieved. Patients typically have check-ups every 6-8 weeks to monitor progress.

Effectiveness

Both treatments are effective for straightening teeth, but their suitability varies based on the complexity of the case. Metal braces are highly effective for a wide range of dental issues, including severe misalignment, large gaps, and bite problems. Invisalign is generally best suited for mild to moderate orthodontic issues. Recent advancements have expanded the range of conditions Invisalign can treat, but some complex cases may still require traditional braces.

Lifestyle Impact

Invisalign offers greater flexibility in daily life. The aligners are removable, allowing patients to eat, drink, brush, and floss without the restrictions imposed by metal braces. This can make maintaining oral hygiene easier and reduces the risk of food getting stuck in the braces. However, patients must wear the aligners for 20-22 hours a day to achieve optimal results, which requires discipline and commitment. Metal braces, being fixed, eliminate the possibility of forgetting to wear them, but they do require careful attention to oral hygiene and dietary choices to avoid damage and staining

Duration of Treatment

The duration of treatment can vary widely depending on the individual’s dental issues and how well they adhere to the treatment plan. On average, metal braces are worn for about 18-24 months, though complex cases can take longer. Invisalign treatment typically lasts about 12-18 months, but this can vary based on the severity of the misalignment and patient compliance.

Cost

Cost is an important consideration for many patients. Traditionally, metal braces are less expensive than Invisalign, though the exact cost can depend on the complexity of the treatment and the geographical location. Invisalign can be more expensive due to the technology and customization involved in creating the aligners. However, costs for both treatments have become more comparable in recent years, and many dental insurance plans now offer coverage for both options. In our office Invisalign is only $100 more making it a wonderful alternative to braces.

Follow-Up and Retention

After the active treatment phase with either Invisalign or metal braces, a retention phase is necessary to maintain the new position of the teeth. This typically involves wearing a retainer, either fixed or removable, to prevent the teeth from shifting back to their original positions. The type of retainer and the duration for which it needs to be worn will be determined by the orthodontist based on the individual case.

Conclusion

In summary, both Invisalign and metal braces are effective orthodontic treatments, but they cater to different needs and preferences. Invisalign offers a nearly invisible, comfortable, and flexible option for those with mild to moderate orthodontic issues, while metal braces provide a robust solution for more complex dental problems. The choice between the two will depend on the specific dental issues, lifestyle considerations, aesthetic preferences, and budget. Consulting with an orthodontist can help determine the best treatment option for each individual.

The Benefits of Orthodontic Treatment

Orthodontic treatment is more than just a path to achieving a perfect smile. It offers numerous health, psychological, and social benefits that can significantly improve an individual's quality of life. From enhancing oral health to boosting self-esteem, the...

The little device with a big impact on your treatment experience

SureSmile® VPro™ is an at-home device used only 5 minutes a day with your aligners. It delivers gentle vibrations that help your aligners fit properly and may reduce discomfort helping you on your journey to a new smile. Using SureSmile® VPro™ for 5 minutes a day, it...

IPR, ARS; Whats With All the Acronyms?

IPR and ARS are acronyms that are commonly used in conjunction with orthodontic treatment, but they are generally unknown outside of orthodontics. Just like in the acronym filled military, orthodontists have their own language and acronyms. So what are IPR and ARS?...

Invisalign & Clear Aligner Therapy (CAT)

Today, Invisalign is a household name and everyone knows what it is, but it wasn't always this way. The concept of incremental tooth movement is not new, and the inventor of Invisalign did not really invent anything. What he did do was see how technology could be...

Invisalign Retainers

Once we get the braces off or finish treatment with clear aligners and move to retainers, we tend to think that treatment is completed. This is not completely accurate. The active part of treatment where the teeth are being moved into place is done, but retention is...

Invisalign Touch-up

It is not uncommon for us as patients to get lazy with our retainer wear. Once we get lazy and start to move away from consistent retainer wear, it doesn't take long before we are never wearing our retainers. If the orthodontist has done their job and finished the...

Cross-Bites and Bite Ramps

Cross-bites are a common problem in young kids and if not corrected, they can cause real problems with facial growth and development, jaw joints, and oral function. Obviously, some cross-bites are more detrimental than others, but none of them are good. You may be...

Phase I or Limited Treatment

Many types of early treatment are labeled “Phase I” or may also be presented as a “Limited Treatment.” The purpose of a Phase I treatment plan or a limited treatment plan is to provide a problem focused treatment that is limited in scope and duration. This approach to...

Habit Appliances

There are a multitude of appliances that are designed to help break, control, or prevent habits that are detrimental to oral development and function. Appliances have been designed to encourage and support normal oral functional development from infancy through...