Up until the last two decades, the only way to straighten teeth and correct dental alignment was through the use of silver braces. Traditional metal braces are highly effective at creating a gorgeous and well-functioning smile, but they can be a bit of an eye sore. That is where clear alignment trays like Invisalign come into play. Before you decide which orthodontic option is right for you, consider this comparison of Invisalign vs. silver braces.
How Invisalign and Braces Work
Metal braces work through a series of mounts attached to your teeth that hold a thin metal wire between them. The metal wire is adjusted over time to get your teeth properly positioned in your mouth. Typically, braces are tightened once every month, but that timeframe will vary based on your smile’s structure.
Invisalign is comprised of a series of clear trays that gradually move your teeth into place. You can take out these trays to eat or brush your teeth, but they should stay in your mouth most of the day. Use a new tray every 4-6 weeks until your smile is fully aligned. Most patients require 20-29 trays in total to complete the program.
Invisalign vs. Braces – Which One Is Right for You?
Now that you understand how braces and Invisalign work, consider these factors:
- What They Treat: Invisalign works well for uncomplicated adjustments, but anything beyond that will still require metal braces to fix.
- How They Look: Invisalign has the advantage here because the trays are clear and hard to detect. Because they are removable, you can take them out for photos or meetings if they become a problem.
- What They Cost: Both options can be expensive, but Invisalign costs approximately $500 more on average per year than traditional braces.
- How You Care for Them: Braces are somewhat difficult to care for, only because food easily gets stuck between the mounts. With that in mind, Invisalign trays can cause bacteria buildup if they are not properly washed out. Follow your brushing, flossing, and maintenance instructions from your dentist to get the best results.
- What They Feel Like: Both products will make your teeth feel sore shortly after a tightening or tray replacement as your teeth get used to their new positions. You will be back to normal in a couple days.
- How Long They Take: Both products may take years to correct your teeth, but Invisalign takes a little longer than braces because of the gradual adjustment the trays make.