“What’s the difference between Invisalign and braces?” is a commonly asked question in our surgery. We will discuss the differences and also the advantages and disadvantages of each type of brace in this article.
Disclaimer: This article is based solely on the opinion of Shields Dental & Implant Clinic Limerick.
What is Invisalign?
Invisalign is a brand of brace, manufactured by the Californian company Align Technology. It is a treatment which describes a series of individual transparent aligners that slide over the teeth to gradually move them into the correct position over a period of time.
The aligners are made using the orthodontist’s treatment plan and a computerised model of the patient’s teeth. Invisalign is popular for its minimal cosmetic impact and the ease with which it can be removed for cleaning.
However, Invisalign is limited in its effectiveness and longevity as follows:
- It is only suitable for mild cases and is generally not effective where complex orthodontic issues exist.
- Long term results Invisalign can be poor. Tooth movement has been shown to be significantly more pronounced in Invisalign patients years after treatment than in fixed braces patients.
- Invisalign can be less hygienic than fixed braces because the braces are removable. They may not be cleaned following eating or drinking, causing food and sugary drinks to become trapped in the braces.
- Aligners need to be changed every 2 weeks and significant discomfort comes with every change. Thus Invisalign may be more painful than traditional braces.
What are Fixed Braces
Fixed braces consist of square brackets attached to each tooth, with a wire running through them. The brackets give 3 dimensional tooth movements and gradually move your teeth into the correct position. Fixed braces are bonded onto the teeth and remain fixed for the duration of your treatment. Only your Orthodontist can remove them.
The two types of fixed braces are:
- Six month braces
Six month braces are ideal for those requiring to change the appearance of the front teeth over a short period of time. Therefore, the goal is mainly cosmetic, the braces are discreet and the procedure is relatively painless. However, the treatment tends to be more successful in the long term than Invisalign.
- Traditional Braces
Traditional braces are required when significant tooth movement is needed, such as when there are bite issues or jaw malformation. Tooth extraction may also be required as part of the treatment. Both ceramic braces and metal braces come under the category of traditional braces. Treatment can take 18 to 24 months and results are very satisfactory and long-lasting.
Invisalign versus Fixed Braces – Which is Best?
The answer to this question depends very much on the extent of the orthodontic problem. So to summarise:
Invisalign may be suitable where minimal tweaks are required, although your specialist orthodontist will need to assess the level of treatment required. However, the main caveat is that results may not be successful in the long term
Fixed braces may be suitable where more extensive treatment is needed and the results are very successful long term.
Further Information on our Orthodontic Treatments
Hopefully, we have addressed some of your queries above and you are now ready to take the next step. You can read more about our Orthodontist in Limerick here.