Not sure how to choose between Invisalign clear aligners and traditional braces? Our Ottawa dentists offer some factors to think about, including cosmetic considerations.
Choosing Between Clear Aligners & Braces
Invisalign vs. braces: a tough choice! Luckily, we can help you out. Here are some facts to consider about each option while you think about which one to choose to help you achieve a straight smile.
Transparent clear aligners such as Invisalign are custom-made to fit your smile. These removable orthodontic appliances are constructed from a clear, durable plastic material and do not have the brackets or wires that traditional braces have. This means they are usually the more discreet orthodontic treatment option—a casual observer will be hard-pressed to see them on your teeth.
With Invisalign, your dentist will create a custom treatment plan to help you achieve your smile goals. Clear aligners don't require regular adjustments the same way that braces do, so you're likely to spend less time in your dentist's office. Your dentist will schedule brief appointments with you every 4 to 6 weeks, and take the opportunity to review your progress and general oral health, answer questions, and adjust treatment as required.
Depending on your specific treatment plan, Invisalign costs run about the same or slightly more expensive than traditional braces.
One of the downsides of Invisalign is they require a more active commitment from the wearer. With braces, you can't remove them so there's no risk of getting off-track with treatment. However, clear aligners must be worn for 22 hours each day and removed while drinking and eating anything except water. Commitment to treatment, self-discipline and scheduling meals to fit within the 2 hours allotted for meal times every day.
Traditional Metal Braces
These are the most common type of braces. Made entirely out of metal and supported by elastics, metal braces have received numerous upgrades in recent decades thanks to advancements in orthodontic technology.
Over time, braces apply continuous pressure to your teeth, slowly shifting them into their new, corrected positions. As this pressure is applied and the teeth move, the bone changes shape to accommodate their new positions.
Brackets today are more streamlined than those used in years past. Now, you’ll run less risk of the inside of your cheeks or lips growing irritated by a bracket, as the brackets have gotten smaller and more comfortable. However, some people are still reluctant to choose metal braces because of their appearance.
In this case, clear braces may be a viable alternative.
Many patients choose clear braces as they are better able to blend in with their smile. However, it is important to note that clear braces are not actually transparent; the brackets are constructed from tooth-coloured ceramic.
While they are a compromise between metal braces and clear aligners when it comes to appearance, they are actually more brittle and larger in size than the traditional metal braces you may have seen.
They also tend to be more costly. Therefore, they are commonly used only on upper front (your most visible) teeth to save on costs.
Keep in mind that your gums may feel sensitive with these, as the larger ceramic brackets can make it more challenging to clean around the brackets, leading to receding or swollen gums should your toothbrush not reach the gum line and enamel.