Many of our patients find themselves weighing the pros and cons of Invisalign vs. traditional braces. It's a discussion we've had so many times at our orthodontic practice that we've decided to write an entire blog post about it! The answer ultimately comes down to what's right for you--your preferences, your lifestyle, and, of course, your unique orthodontic needs. But here's a quick rundown of the two options to get you started.
Invisalign vs. Traditional Braces: Appearance
This is the primary reason why patients request Invisalign over traditional braces. Braces are obvious and they cannot be removed. Invisalign aligners are only visible by others when they're standing close to you--and they can be taken out when needed.
If the appearance of traditional braces is a sticking point for you, but Invisalign isn't an option, consider ceramic or lingual braces. Ceramic braces (sometimes referred to as "clear braces") are made with tooth-colored material. It's still apparent that you're wearing braces, but they stand out a little bit less. Lingual braces are a popular option for adults because they go on the back of teeth instead of the front. Keep in mind that oral hygiene can be difficult with these braces, so you'll need to be extra diligent with your daily brushing and flossing routine.
Invisalign vs. Traditional Braces: Cost
It's true, traditional braces are cheaper than Invisalign. Even more importantly, traditional braces are more likely to be covered by your dental insurance plan. If cost is an issue for you, metal braces are the hands-down winner when it comes to pricing. To find out the exact cost difference for your case, schedule an evaluation and sit down with our billing coordinator to get an estimate with a side-by-side comparison of each option.
There are ways to help defray the cost of Invisalign, though. If you have an FSA or HSA accounts, that money can be used on Invisalign treatment. Our practice offers financing through CareCredit and we accept all major credit cards.
Invisalign vs. Traditional Braces: Treatment Time
Treatment time doesn't just mean the amount of time you'll spend with braces or aligners. It also means the amount of time you'll spend at our office! Many of our adult patients appreciate that Invisalign requires fewer visits to check-in with us. We love seeing our patients’ smiling faces, but we also understand that it can be a pain to have to rearrange school and work schedules for orthodontic visits every 4 weeks. With traditional braces, you'll need to come in often for tightening and adjustments; when you're ready to progress with Invisalign, you simply switch to the next set of aligners right at home and check in with us every 6 weeks.
Another time-saver with Invisalign is that you'll never need to come in for emergency visits when a bracket breaks. No repairs makes Invisalign a great option for busy schedules.
As far as duration of treatment, braces are faster than Invisalign. This is because braces are not removed--you have them on 24 hours a day. Invisalign treatment can be prolonged by not wearing your aligners as much as you should; try to keep them on as much as possible to keep your treatment on track. Invisalign aligners are much more comfortable than metal braces, so it should be easy to do! If you're honest with yourself and think you'll be likely to forget about wearing your aligners or lose them at work or school, braces might be a better option for you.
Invisalign vs. Traditional Braces: Results
Invisalign and traditional braces both do a fantastic job at straightening teeth--if they didn't, we wouldn't be offering them at our practice! That said, there are situations where braces are a better choice. For complex orthodontic issues, traditional braces remain our recommended course of treatment. We know this may be disappointing if you really wanted Invisalign, but we always want to make sure we are fully treating any problems you might have and setting you up for a lifetime of beautiful, healthy teeth.
If all things are equal and Invisalign and traditional braces are both options for you, another thing to consider is hygiene. Because aligners can be taken off and you can brush and floss as normal, your overall oral health will be better. When we remove braces, we sometimes see staining; difficulty flossing may lead to cavities between teeth. Invisalign and braces will both leave you with straight teeth, but traditional braces may also leave you with some additional issues that you need to fix once they're off.
Which Option is Right for You?
Are you ready to explore your options for orthodontic treatment? We'd love to meet with you! Contact us and schedule an appointment at one of our three Minnesota locations.