Invisalign vs. Traditional Straight-Wire Braces

Although braces are an effective solution against crooked teeth, the whole process can be a pain. After all, no one wants to have a mouthful of metal for months or years on end. That’s why dentists have developed what’s called Invisalign, a more subtle approach to dental realignment. 

Currently, Invisalign is gaining popularity as a suitable alternative to braces, especially for people who want a less obvious method. But there are still people who opt for good, old-fashioned braces, and for good reasons. 

Learn more about the pros and cons of Invisalign vs. traditional straight-wire braces, and discover the ideal realignment method for your needs.

All About Invisalign

Invisalign is essentially a tray that’s shaped to fit snugly over your teeth, something to the effect of a slim, clear mouthguard. They’re designed to apply pressure on specific areas to push your teeth into proper alignment. 

In recent years, Invisalign has gained popularity over braces, especially for older clients who want to be able to realign their teeth without attracting too much attention.

Pros of Invisalign 

  • Less Noticeable – Perhaps the most common reason why people opt for Invisalign as opposed to traditional braces is that they’re less noticeable. The clear trays slip over the teeth and look almost invisible. So for older individuals who might not feel comfortable sporting a mouthful of metal, Invisalign is a suitable alternative.
  • More Comfortable – Another reason why you might consider Invisalign over traditional braces is that they’re more comfortable. They don’t have spokes of metal or rubber that jut out to cut the inside of your mouth, so they’re less likely to cause any nicks, bruises, or bleeding.
  • Allow Routine Teeth Cleaning – Invisalign trays can be removed so you can clean your teeth as you normally would. This also gives you the opportunity to clean the trays themselves, helping you maintain proper oral care routines even as you go through the process of realignment.
  • Minimal Impact on Eating Activities – Finally, it’s worth mentioning that eating with Invisalign isn’t going to be a chore because your dentist will recommend that you remove them while you eat. This lets you enjoy your meals without having to feel cautious about your Invisalign trays. 

Cons of Invisalign 

  • Only a Two-Hour Removal Window – You will have to wear your Invisalign trays a minimum of 22 hours a day if you want to reap the realignment effects. Unfortunately, that only leaves you two collective hours to brush your teeth and eat throughout the day.
  • Attachments – In some cases, dentists will have to apply attachments that click on to your trays to keep them in place. These can be seen through the material, making them more noticeable to people around you.
  • Constant Pressure – The trays work to push your teeth into the ideal alignment, so you should expect quite a bit of pressure. This can be uncomfortable for some people, even calling for the need for OTC pain killers.
  • No Coverage – Invisalign is currently not accepted by any insurance provider, so the entire cost of the treatment will have to come out of your own pocket.

All About Traditional Straight-Wire Braces

We’ve all seen braces before. This realignment method calls for the mounting of brackets on the enamel of your teeth, which is what your dentist will run a wire through. They’ll tighten the wire as you go through the process, moving your teeth around with the forces generated by the tension. 

Pros of Traditional Straight-Wire Braces 

  • More Aggressive – The tension and force produced by straight-wire braces can be more aggressive, making them more effective at resolving severe overcrowding that Invisalign might not be able to address.
  • No Fear of Misplacing – Braces are fixed on your teeth. You can’t remove them, and thus, there’s no need to worry that you might misplace them.
  • Reasonable Cost – Throughout the years, braces have become more and more affordable. But aside from their lighter cost, some insurance companies can also include traditional braces in their coverage. This can be a major plus, especially when you consider that Invisalign is usually an out-of-pocket expense.
  • More Accurate – Your dentist has a greater opportunity to make micro-adjustments to braces, allowing for more accurate results.

Cons of Traditional Straight-Wire Braces

  • Painful and Uncomfortable – Braces have brackets and wires that can hook onto the soft tissues inside your cheek. This can lead to painful cuts that can impact the way you talk and eat.
  • Poor Aesthetics – Of course, one of the biggest downsides for braces is the aesthetic. They look very obvious and bulky, which may lead to issues with confidence and self-esteem, especially in teens.
  • Strong Impact on Talking and Eating – Braces can take up quite a lot of space in your mouth, altering the way that you talk and eat. Needless to say, getting used to having them in your mouth can take a few months, and you may have to completely change the way you eat your food in order to fulfill your nutritional needs without too much discomfort.
  • Difficult to Clean – The wires and brackets that make up your braces will have lots of little nooks and crannies. That said, you will need specialized dental care tools to clean your teeth. Even then, there’s no guarantee that you’d be able to do it as optimally as possible.

With so many people seeking the confidence boost that a straight smile can provide, both Invisalign and traditional straight-wire braces prove to be formidable options. Consider these pros and cons, and talk with your dentist to decide which realignment option is best for you.