If you’re considering treatment to straighten your teeth, you likely have a lot of questions about the different types of braces available.
The main contenders for orthodontic treatment, and the two systems that most people consider, are fixed braces and Invisalign. But what is the difference? And which system works best?
Fixed braces have been used to straighten teeth for many decades, and it evolved as a treatment over this time. Invisalign however, only hit the market in 2000. Traditionally, fixed braces were far superior to clear removable systems such as Invisalign. In more recent times (due to its immense popularity) such research and planning has been poured into Invisalign that it is now on par with fixed braces in terms the results that can be achieved.
So if the results are similar, which system is right for me?
There are advantages and disadvantages to each orthodontic system, and selecting the right treatment for you depends on your personal circumstances and your main treatment goals.
We’ve compiled a list of pros and cons of fixed braces and Invisalign treatment to help you make that choice:
- Aligners are almost invisible, making treatment hard to notice. Invisalign is a great treatment option for clients wanting to straighten their teeth discreetly.
- Treatment is more comfortable as there are no wires and brackets rubbing the cheeks and lips.
- It is easy to keep up to your oral hygiene. The aligners are removed for eating and brushing, making it easy to keep your teeth and gums clean.
- The results are highly predictable. Invisalign’s state-of-the-art technology plans your case with maximum accuracy.
- You can see your estimated results before you start treatment. Invisalign’s simulation technology allows you to see your result before you begin treatment.
- Invisalign is a low maintenance treatment, with minimal visits to the dentist required, making it a preferable treatment for clients with busy schedules.
- The cost is comparable to fixed braces.
- The absence of brackets and wires make Invisalign a great option for people who play contact sports.
- Requirements for Invisalign use are very strict, and must be adhered to for the treatment to be successful. Aligners MUST be worn for a minimum of 22 hours a day. Invisalign is not suitable for clients who will not be disciplined with aligner wear, and who may forget to put them in.
- Aligners can be lost or broken, which may lead to additional costs.
- Invisalign is not suitable for certain severe cases where more advanced treatment is required.
- Not all dentists offer the full range of Invisalign products, and are only able to treat mild cases. It is important for clients with more complex cases to find a full Invisalign provider (if your dentist is unable to provide this service, they will be able to refer you to an appropriate provider).
- Some discomfort can be expected weekly/2-weekly as each aligner is changed.
Fixed Brace Pros:
- Much longer case history and understanding.
- Will be offered by all qualified orthodontists.
- Less discipline and commitment required from the client, who won’t have to remember to put the aligners back in.
- No chance of the brace being lost or misplaced.
- Suitable for almost all case types, and can provide full and complete corrections.
- Easier to treat difficult and unpredictable tooth movements.
- Results can be achieved more quickly.
- Many different designs to keep treatment discreet.
Fixed Brace Cons:
- Soreness may be experienced. The brackets and wires can rub the cheeks and lips, particularly following the placement of the appliance.
- Diligent oral hygiene is required, and the teeth should be thoroughly cleaned after every meal. If this is not maintained, teeth can be discoloured when the brace is removed.
- Sticky and hard foods should be avoided.
- Regular trips to the orthodontist are required for tightening and maintenance (every 3-6 weeks throughout treatment).
- Less discreet than clear systems such as Invisalign.
- Contact sports should be avoided for the duration of treatment.
There are pros and cons to each treatment, and selecting the right one for you is a personal choice. For disciplined patients who are keen to be treated discreetly, Invisalign is an ideal choice. For those who are more forgetful, or perhaps have more complex cases, fixed-braces may be preferable.
Consultations are an important part of any orthodontic process. They give you an opportunity to discuss your main concerns and goals with a professional, and make an informed choice about the right treatment for you.
At Hewett’s Dental, we provide fixed braces and the full range of Invisalign treatments. Our team of experts will answer your questions, and guide you in finding the perfect treatment option for you.