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Is Invisalign Better Than Braces?

Talk to your dentist to determine which is best for you
Read Time: 7 minutes
May 9, 2022

Talk to your dentist to determine which is best for you.

If your teeth need to be straightened, there are two popular options most people choose between: Invisalign and braces. But which is better? The two serve different purposes, so which is best for you depends on your situation. If you’re considering either, speak with your dentist so you can get a professional opinion on which will be best for your teeth.

What Is the Difference Between Invisalign and Braces?

Both Invisalign and braces straighten teeth gradually over time. The biggest difference is that Invisalign is clear and therefore not as obvious, so it doesn’t affect your appearance as much. Braces, even with clear bands, are still visible as metal attached to your teeth. Additionally, braces are typically better if your teeth require more correction.

How Do Braces Work?

When you get braces, the orthodontist places brackets on each tooth that will be straightened. For some, this is only some teeth, while for others its all of them. There is a wire that attaches all of the brackets to each other. It’s this wire, which is called an archwire, that actually moves the teeth into place by exerting pressure on them. The wire is what the orthodontist changes out every appointment and why your teeth ache for a few days until they adjust to the new wire.

How Does Invisalign Work?

Invisalign works similarly. Instead of brackets and a wire, Invisalign instead exerts pressure on the teeth via its clear aligners. You would need to switch to a new aligner every couple of weeks to maintain the pressure on your teeth as they move to adjust to each new aligner.

Benefits of Braces

adult woman with braces on her teeth

Braces are still a common solution for tooth straightening for both adults and children. They can handle more complicated straightening situations and don’t require the same amount of discipline as Invisalign.

Braces Are More Versatile

One of the major advantages of braces is that they can be used for both minor and major fixes. In some cases, if teeth need a lot of work done, Invisalign may not be an option at all because they can’t straighten more serious cases.

Braces Can’t Be Removed

Braces are stuck onto your teeth until the orthodontist removes them. This means that you don’t have to worry about remembering to put them back in. For some, the removability of Invisalign is more of an advantage, but then they have to pay attention to how long they have it out or their teeth won’t be straightened as well. With braces, the permanence removes that stress.

Braces Are Customizable

If you’re concerned about appearance, it’s possible for braces to be placed on the backs of the teeth instead of the front. If they are on the front, then you can choose different colored bands.

You Can Drink Anything with Braces

While there may be limitations on what you can eat with braces, you can drink anything with them in. With Invisalign, you have to be careful about drinking certain beverages with the aligners in or they could get stained.

Drawbacks of Braces

Despite their advantages, braces also have some disadvantages that you should be aware of.

There are Food Limitations

If you have braces, you shouldn’t eat anything sticky or crunchy. This is because you could damage the braces or get the food stuck on them.

Braces Can Be Uncomfortable

No matter how you straighten your teeth, the process of moving your teeth to new locations in your mouth will ache. But on top of that, braces can be uncomfortable or even cut the inside of your mouth.

You’ll Have to Go to the Orthodontist More Often

Braces can only be adjusted by an orthodontist. This means that with braces, you’ll have to go in for orthodontist appointments more frequently than with Invisalign, which might not require orthodontist visits at all.

Braces Can Stain Your Teeth

Braces are stuck to your teeth with cement for several years. This could potentially stain your teeth so that some whitening treatments are needed once they’re removed.

Braces Are Obvious

Braces are more easily visible on your teeth than something like Invisalign. Even though you can customize their appearance with different colored bands, some don’t like the way they look and would prefer a more discreet option.

Benefits of Invisalign

a person putting an Invisalign aligner in their mouth

Invisalign is a popular choice for straightening teeth for its appearance. However, there are more benefits than appearance alone.

Appearance

While braces are common for teenagers, they’re less common for professional working adults. For this reason, many choose Invisalign because they’re clear. They can wear Invisalign to straighten their teeth without the braces being obvious to others.

Brushing and Flossing Are Easier

With braces, you have to brush and floss around the brackets and the wire. This can be difficult to do well. However, with Invisalign, all you have to do is take out the aligner and then brush and floss before putting the aligner back in.

Lower Risk with Certain Foods

When you get braces, the orthodontist always warns you against eating sticky or cruncy foods because they can either get stuck in or damage the braces. There’s no danger of this with Invisalign. Invisalgin aligners have to be removed while eating, so wearers won’t have to worry about damaging them with anything that they eat.

Reduced Time at the Orthodontist

In some cases, you may not need to visit the orthodontist at all. Some people are able to order Invisalign online and just switch aligners themselves when necessary. Some Invisalign customers may need to visit an orthodontist, but if so, it will likely be less frequent. With braces, any adjustments or repairs must be made with an orthodontist.

Invisalign Is More Comfortable

Many have found Invisalign to be more comfortable to wear than braces. No matter what, there will always be the ache as your teeth move, but many have found Invisalign to be less painful than braces.

Drawbacks of Invisalign

While Invisalign has many advantages, there are also some drawbacks that anyone thinking about straightening their teeth should be aware of.

More Brushing Is Needed

If you use Invisalign, you’ll need to brush your teeth after every time you eat. This is because you’ll want to make sure that your teeth are clean before you put the aligner back in. Otherwise, plaque and food particles will sit against your teeth and increase the risk of causing cavities and other oral health problems.

You Can’t Drink Certain Beverages

Braces may have limits on what you can eat, but there are limitations with Invisalign when it comes to beverages. You shouldn’t drink anything that could stain the aligner, such as tea or coffee. You could remove the Invisalign aligner while drinking, but that would be a lot of time with the aligner removed, which could reduce its effectiveness.

Invisalign Requires Discipline

One of the advantages of braces is that once they’re on, you don’t have to remember to take them off or put them back on. They’re stuck there until a dentist removes them. With Invisalign, however, eating with the aligner in can damage it, so it’s important to make sure that you remove it during meals or snacks. You also have to removed it while brushing your teeth and flossing.

However, you also need to remember to put it back in. If you don’t wear it for at least 20 hours a day, it won’t be nearly as effective as it should be.

Invisalign Can’t Correct More Complex Situations

If your teeth require a lot of straightening or the situation is a more complex one, then invisalign may not be for you. They can work well for simpler straightenings but aren’t capable of handling more complex realignments.

Which Is Better for Me: Invisalign or Braces?

Neither braces nor Invisalign is better overall than the other. Each type of tooth straightener has its pros and cons and which is better for you depends on your teeth and your life circumstances. Your best bet is to consult with your dentist. They can help you to decide which is best for you.

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