Is Invisalign® as Good as Metal Braces?

Dental Tool With Model In Dental Care Concept.

If you’re on the fence about your orthodontic treatment, don’t worry. There are many more options available today than in years past and it can be a bit much when you start thinking about how you’d like to straighten your teeth. Fortunately, our Ann Arbor Invisalign® dentists are here to inform you about clear aligners and how they compare to standard metal braces.

Here are the notable similarities and differences between Invisalign and regular braces.

How the Two Treatments Stack Up 

Based on how each treatment option looks, it might seem that there are only differences between Invisalign aligners and braces. However, a few key similarities emerge when the two are directly compared.

One such similarity centers around the overall purpose. Patients wanting to correct teeth positioning and bite alignment are the target audience for both forms of treatment. Moreover, Invisalign and braces are approved by the FDA as solutions for malocclusion (abnormal alignment). Either will straighten your smile and deliver beautiful results.

Traditional braces and Invisalign also generally work in the same way. Both orthodontic options apply controlled force to teeth so they are moved into the proper position. While braces use metal brackets and wires to do this, clear aligners are custom-fit and tight enough to accomplish a similar effect on your smile.

Assessing Your Candidacy

For the most part, any teen or adult who is interested in pursuing Invisalign can do so. The main exception to this relates to a patient’s specific dental needs. How misaligned the bite is, how crowded the teeth are, and the presence of jaw issues all influence whether Invisalign treatment is the most appropriate.

If your individual case is severe enough, our dentists will recommend that you receive metal braces instead. Certain orthodontic issues that may complicate clear aligner treatment include:

  • Teeth that are rotated
  • Severe overbite or crowding
  • Large gaps between teeth
  • Tooth displacement

On the other hand, if your dental situation is mild to moderate, clear aligners will get the job done just fine. Teens and adults are welcome to choose Invisalign for their smile if they’re looking for a discreet alternative to metal braces.

It should be noted that because children often have a mix of baby and adult teeth when orthodontic treatment is being considered, an orthodontist referral may be needed before Invisalign is chosen.

What Treatment Will Look Like

Every patient is different and requires a personalized approach. Because of this, the length of treatment may vary from person to person. For the easiest comparison, let’s look at averages.

Most patients with Invisalign finished treatment in 12-16 months whereas those with braces had them on for 1-3 years. These numbers can change and may not reflect your exact situation. The more there is to correct, the longer it will take.

In terms of a treatment plan, each aligner set in a series does need to be worn for 20-22 hours a day and can only be removed for eating and oral hygiene. Braces of course can’t come off until treatment is complete, thus eliminating any temptation to take them out more than necessary.

Oral Care Remains Important 

When you have braces, you have to choose your foods carefully or you risk damaging the metal components. That means staying away from popcorn, corn on the cob, and sticky or crunchy candy. With Invisalign, this problem doesn’t exist as the aligners are removable.

One caveat that does apply to clear aligners and not to braces is their ability to stain. Your aligners must be gently brushed after every meal. If they’re not, bacteria will accumulate and stains will ruin their nearly invisible effect. Permanent braces should also be cleaned regularly as food debris can become trapped underneath wires.

Whether you have braces or Invisalign, our dentists do recommend keeping up with your oral hygiene. Brush your teeth at least twice a day, floss once daily, and visit our Ann Arbor, MI, dental office for a teeth cleaning every 6 months.

We Can Help You Decide

Our Invisalign dentists in Ann Arbor, MI, are a wealth of information and always happy to help! If you’re torn between braces or clear aligners and want to know more about Invisalign before making the final decision, we’re here to talk. Call Excel Dental today at (734) 929-9999 to request an appointment.