As society advances, so do the technologies and best practices for orthodontics and dental care. In recent years, numerous clear aligner therapies, such as Invisalign® clear braces, have started to rival traditional metal braces as a method of orthodontic treatment.
Because we offer both at our Madison practice, many patients ask what the differences between treatments are. Though Dr. Gilbertson can discuss this with you in depth during a consultation, the following are some of the ways Invisalign treatment is distinct from conventional braces:
The most obvious way these two treatment methods vary is in appearance. Traditional metal braces consist of metal brackets that are secured to each tooth and connected via a metal wire. A colorful rubber band secures the wire to each bracket.
Invisalign consists of a series of clear plastic aligners that are worn over teeth and gently shift them into alignment over the course of treatment. A benefit of treatment with Invisalign is the ability to remove aligners for major events, such as weddings, family photos, or public speaking engagements. Even when being worn, the clear nature of the trays makes them far less noticeable than traditional braces.
Length of Treatment
As Invisalign is most often recommended for cases of mild malocclusion, the treatment timeline tends to be shorter than with traditional metal braces. More severe concerns are addressed with traditional braces, resulting in more time spent wearing these orthodontic appliances.
One of the first things dentists discuss with patients who have recently received traditional metal braces are the foods to stay away from during treatment. Given that these braces are attached directly to teeth, it’s important to avoid a diet that could damage the brackets or make hygiene more difficult.
Invisalign clear aligners get around these issues because they can be taken out before eating, brushing, and flossing. As a result, patients have very few dietary restrictions with this option.
Patients don’t have to worry about treatment impeding their hygiene routine with Invisalign because the aligners are easy to remove. Traditional braces are slightly more difficult to navigate, hindering a patient’s ability to brush and floss thoroughly. While there are tools available to make it easier to keep teeth clean while wearing braces, this still proves less convenient than at-home care with Invisalign.
The ideal candidate for Invisalign clear aligners has good dental and periodontal health. As mentioned, these patients are typically experiencing mild malocclusion, such as teeth that are crooked, crowded, or have significant spacing between them. Patients that have issues requiring extensive bite correction benefit from a more extensive orthodontic treatment plan that includes traditional metal braces along with other solutions.
Invisalign works best for older teens and motivated adults who won’t let the removable nature of treatment keep them from wearing their trays consistently. Though patients have additional freedom with clear aligners than fixed braces, compliance is critical for achieving ideal results. For this reason, many dentists recommend traditional braces when caring for children’s orthodontic needs. This way younger patients gain the straighter, healthier smiles they deserve without having to worry about losing or forgetting to wear their aligners.
If you’re interested in learning more about the differences between Invisalign clear aligners and traditional metal braces, Dr. Zac Gilbertson and the team at Madison Center for Dentistry are more than happy to help! Give our office a call today to schedule your orthodontic consultation.