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What are the Differences Between Braces and Invisalign?

What are the Differences Between Braces and Invisalign?

Braces and Invisalign are two very different ways to align teeth. They are both orthodontic treatments that can straighten your teeth and align your bite over time. Braces and Invisalign are the leading options for straightening crooked teeth, and they both have incredibly high success rates. Both treatments have pros and cons, and there are several key differences between them. 

Braces

Conventional braces were, historically, the most common form of tooth alignment. Before the appearance of Invisalign in the late ’90s, braces were the only orthodontic method of straightening teeth. Braces have a long history in dentistry and a high success rate. They are still used for a reason and it is because they work. It is common to have braces in your teen years, but more and more adults are using braces to align their teeth as well. Braces are unique in the sense that they are able to move, rotate, and shift the roots of the teeth individually. They allow for correction of severe tooth misalignment and extremely precise tooth movement. 

Materials 

Braces are made up of three parts, which include: metal brackets, wires, and elastics. Brackets are bonded to the front of the patients’ teeth and they are connected with wires and elastics to apply pressure; which slowly moves the teeth into place. The majority of braces are made out of stainless steel, but some can be ceramic. 

Stainless steel braces are a classic metal color, whereas ceramic braces are lighter and tooth-colored. Ceramic braces are an excellent option for patients looking for a more subtle, aesthetic smile with braces on. Some patients also change the colors of their elastics. In order to add an individual touch to your braces, you can customize your band color, for a unique look to your smile. 

How it Works

Braces align and shift each individual tooth into place and they are incredibly effective. Braces are the ideal option for patients with difficult cases of severe tooth misalignment. Their design makes them versatile and capable of very specific tooth movement. The metal brackets on the front of your teeth allow for improved individual tooth movement, which can shift or rotate even the roots of the teeth; while the wires and elastics create constant tension on your teeth to move 

Braces are effective, but they are difficult to keep clean. A patient must take extra care when flossing and brushing to avoid cavities, plaque, and calculus build-up. Failure to care for oral hygiene with braces can often cause swollen, bleeding, and irritated gums, bad breath, and in some cases, a receding gum line. 

Cost 

In Vancouver, braces can cost anywhere from $7000-$10,000. The cost of braces depends on the patients’ needs as well as the level of treatment required. It is best to meet with your orthodontist for a consultation to determine the exact cost of braces for your specific case. 

Treatment Duration 

Braces can vary greatly in treatment duration. Each patient will be different, however, treatment time is generally based on the amount of movement the teeth require. For cases of mild tooth misalignment, patients may require braces for only 6 months. Whereas patients that have more severely misaligned teeth may need braces for up to 2 years in order to fully move the teeth into place. 

Frequency of Dental Visits 

After the initial installation, you will have to visit your orthodontist for adjustment and tightening. Most often, braces are adjusted every 4-6 weeks. However, the frequency will depend on the length of your treatment time. Your dentist will determine when your visits will be and they will monitor your progress to determine the frequency of future in-clinic visits.  

Benefits of Braces: 

  • Time tested method of tooth alignment 
  • Aligns difficult bites 
  • Cost-effective

Cons of Braces

  • Difficult to clean
  • Requires food restrictions
  • Visible and less aesthetic 

Invisalign

In the past, traditional braces were the only solution for misaligned teeth. Invisalign changed the orthodontics industry by introducing transparent aligners as an alternative. 

Although it is fairly common to see adults with braces, not everyone is willing, or comfortable with the thought of having visible braces when they smile. Braces are also difficult to clean and can limit your meal options. 

Ceramic brackets became available over twenty years ago and although they are much less visible, they still are somewhat noticeable and carry some of the drawbacks of traditional braces. Invisalign offers a modern, groundbreaking way to align your smile without sacrificing comfort or aesthetics.  

Materials 

Invisalign is made up of invisible, plastic aligners designed to be a patient-friendly alternative to traditional metal braces. They are custom-made, specifically for your teeth. The Invisalign aligner trays are made of clear, smooth plastic, and they work almost like a mouthguard to snugly keep teeth in place while moving them into the desired location. Invisalign uses a patented product called SmartTrack material which combines comfort with speed. The product allows for a fast treatment time with quality results.  

How it Works

These aligners fit overtop of your teeth, and they sit tightly against the teeth, in order to slowly move teeth into place. Invisalign uses 3D rendering technology to create a virtual treatment process, showing your teeth at different stages of the alignment process. Your Invisalign trays are then created based on the different stages set out by the rendered treatment plan. Learn more about how teeth are aligned with Invisalign.

Invisalign clear aligners are both removable and transparent, so the patient does not have to worry about their appearance while straightening their teeth. However, you must wear your aligners for 20-22 hours per day for the best results. 

It is easy to maintain your oral hygiene with Invisalign aligners as well. They can be removed for flossing and brushing. They also must be removed before meals. The smooth plastic shape of Invisalign helps to keep the gums from becoming irritated, and it does not affect the cheeks or lips, like metal braces. 

Cost 

The cost of Invisalign in Vancouver is relatively similar to braces at $4000-$12000. Invisalign can be slightly more costly, however, the price depends on the amount of treatment needed and the patients’ individual smile goals. Many health plans treat Invisalign treatment like braces, and it can be fully or partially covered by your provider. Invisalign also offers payment options. Learn more about how to pay for Invisalign.  

Treatment Duration 

There are many factors that determine your treatment time. It largely depends on the complexity of your case, as well as the frequency in which you wear your aligners. It’s best to talk with your orthodontist to determine the correct treatment time for your specific case. However, in general, Invisalign treatment lasts 12-18 weeks. It is likely that you will be able to see your results sooner than that. 

Frequency of Dental Visits 

Your orthodontist will generally schedule visits every 6 weeks. The office visit frequency is very similar to that of braces. Your Invisalign aligners must be changed every 1-2 weeks. However, this is something that does not require an in-office visit. But it is important to stay up to date with your office visits, as your dentist will provide you with new aligners and be able to check your progress.

Benefits of Invisalign

  • Aesthetic appearance 
  • Comfortable
  • Easy to maintain 

Cons of Invisalign: 

  • Self-discipline required 
  • Less effective for complex misalignment 
  • Must be worn 22h/day

Invisalign vs Braces 

Invisalign and braces are two leading orthodontic treatments that have been closely compared since the emergence of Invisalign in the late ’90s. In fact, our article, Invisalign vs Braces goes into the pros and cons of these two treatments in detail. 

Both braces and Invisalign are time tested and effective. Braces excel in difficult cases where significant tooth root movement is required, whereas Invisalign is best for more minor cases of misalignment. However, Invisalign continues to expand its product line and has come a long way since its initial product launch. They are now capable of aligning a vast variety of smiles. Invisalign is comfortable, aesthetic, and easy to clean, whereas braces require vigilant upkeep. However, a drawback to Invisalign is that it requires immense self-discipline. In some cases, patients may forget to wear their aligners and this will affect treatment time and the results. In 

In the end, both methods are excellent means of tooth alignment and the options you choose will depend on your orthodontic needs as a patient. Some patients even choose to use both options. Often patients who had braces in childhood opt for Invisalign in adulthood if their teeth shift back out of place.  

Learn more about Braces and Invisalign at VCCID 

At VCCID we offer both braces and Invisalign. The best way to determine which treatment is best for you is to meet with your dentist and discuss your needs in a consultation. Our clinic is conveniently located in Metrotown mall and our dedicated staff can answer any questions you may have about braces or Invisalign. Contact us today or call (604) 434-0248 for a consultation.

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