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Starting any orthodontic treatment is a big step. And choosing the system you want to use is the very first step in the journey to straighter teeth. It’s important that you understand every step in the process and what you will need to do to make the treatment effective. The best treatment plan in the world won’t be able to correct your teeth if you are forgetful with your retainers.
Sometimes, the decision between Invisalign or traditional braces will be down to practical considerations. Some patients aren’t suitable for Invisalign, so you might have no choice but to opt for traditional fixed braces. But if you’ve been given a choice and you’re on the fence, read on to discover which system is right for you.
Back to basics: Invisalign Vs Fixed Braces
Before we launch into the specifics, let’s look at how these two orthodontic treatments work. Both are designed to correct alignments and leave you with a beautiful and straight smile. Invisalign has only been around since 2000, so it doesn’t have the same treatment figures as traditional braces which have been around since 1819.
Fixed braces: Porcelain brackets are attached to your teeth and then tied together using wires and small rubber bands. Through a series of checkups and adjustments, your teeth are moved into the correct alignment.
Invisalign: Your dentist takes an imprint of your teeth and then creates a series of clear BPA-free plastic aligners. These are worn over your teeth and can be removed to eat and drink.
While Invisalign aligners are almost completely invisible, advances in fixed braces mean that these are a lot less noticeable than the bulky metal braces you might be familiar with. With tooth-coloured brackets and wires, you can enjoy a more discreet teeth straightening experience.
If you want a completely invisible orthodontic treatment, then Invisalign is the option for you. But don’t rule out fixed braces if you’re worried about aesthetics as there are discreet options available.
You can expect a little bit of discomfort at certain stages of your orthodontic treatment, no matter which system you use. The advantage of the Invisalign system is that you can take out your aligner and enjoy a break every day. But remember that your treatment will only be effective if you wear your aligner between 20-22 hours per day. With fixed braces, you might have to adjust to having the brackets and wires in your mouth, but you shouldn’t experience any discomfort outside of slight pressure following adjustments.
You will need to visit your dentist every month to adjust your fixed braces. With Invisalign, you will change your trays every two weeks and visit your dentist for a checkup every 4-6 weeks. This will ensure that your treatment is on track.
The time taken to straighten your teeth will depend entirely on your individual circumstances. On average, Invisalign treatment plans will take between 6-18 months to complete. After this, you will have to wear an aligner at night to maintain the position of your teeth. Traditional fixed braces will typically take around 2 years to complete, although this can be faster in some cases.
Taking care of your fixed braces is simple as it just involves adding a few steps to your existing oral care routine. You will need to brush and floss twice a day throughout your treatment. Using a device like a water flosser can help you to remove debris and plaque from your braces and keep your teeth healthy.
With Invisalign, you will have to remove your aligners to brush and floss twice a day. You will also have to rinse your aligners every time you remove them and clean them once a day.
Ease of use
With fixed braces, you don’t have to do anything except for maintaining your oral hygiene and visiting the dentist for adjustments. You may have to give up some of your favourite foods, or you may have to be prepared to brush your teeth after every meal.
With Invisalign, you need to be disciplined enough to make sure that you wear your aligners for between 20-22 hours per day. If you are forgetful or likely to lose aligners, then fixed braces might be an easier option. You will also have to remove your aligners to eat or drink anything other than water.
Conclusions: which is better?
There are so many factors to consider when undergoing any orthodontic treatment. To help you make the right choice, we offer free treatment consultations. This will allow you to speak to an orthodontist about your lifestyle and preferences and decide on the best orthodontic treatment for you. At the end of the day, we know that both treatments work, but it’s about discovering which treatment will work best for you.