When patients have teeth that are crooked, gapped, or misaligned, it can negatively affect their confidence and self-esteem. Straightening your teeth can provide physical and emotional benefits. Many people are familiar with traditional braces. Here brackets are glued directly to each tooth and connected with wires and small rubber bands. The bands are tightened to force the teeth into the desired position. Although you may think of the classic metal appearance, there are also clear or ceramic braces or fashionably colored braces, which accomplish the same result.
Another option is Invisalign® clear aligners. This treatment system is based on 20 years of research, has more than 700 patents, and has been used successfully by more than 4 million patients worldwide. A series of computer-generated clear aligner trays are custom-created to meet your unique repositioning needs. Each aligner fits snugly over your teeth. Instead of having a dentist adjust the bands on your braces, you simply move on to the next aligner in your series. Each provides the exact amount of force needed to shift your teeth slightly along a predetermined path. Invisalign aligners are worn between 20-22 hours per day and are only removed for eating, drinking, and cleaning.
Comparing Invisalign and Braces
While both Invisalign and traditional braces can help straighten your teeth, how do you know which is right for your situation? Your family dentist can discuss the benefits of each option to help you make a choice that is right for you. Here are some points you’ll want to consider when comparing Invisalign and braces:
- Case complexity: Both approaches are effective at managing simple to complex cases, although Invisalign may not be as effective as braces at dealing with issues relating to the back teeth.
- Precision: A dentist can map out a precise treatment plan with Invisalign. If patients follow the directions, they know exactly how their teeth will move, the length of their treatment plan, and their projected new smile.
- Comfort: Because teeth are being repositioned within your mouth, patients can experience some discomfort with each approach. With braces, you may experience inconvenience or even pain due to broken wires and brackets. However, because of the precise fit and unobtrusive materials used in Invisalign clear aligners patients typically experience a higher level of comfort than with traditional braces.
- Maintenance: Many patients find that traditional braces are hard to care for and difficult to brush. More food gets caught around the components and flossing is nearly impossible. They may need to add the use of a Waterpik to their oral health routine to avoid the formation of cavities. Invisalign teeth straighteners are removable and allow for easy cleaning of the clear aligners and the ability to perform your usual oral hygiene routine.
- Speed: The effectiveness of each approach depends on the complexity of the case and the patient’s commitment to sticking with the program. Braces usually take up to two or three years to accomplish the job. Invisalign can take from six to eighteen months to achieve the desired results. Most patients will change their Invisalign tray every two weeks, but going with a once a week change can increase the realignment time by 50%.
For some patients the most important factor is cost. Each situation is different, and the cost depends on the amount of correction needed and your attention to the treatment care regimen. Factors in a cost determination include:
- Case complexity
- Length of treatment required
- Your geographic location
- Number of in-office visits required
Overall the price is similar, with most braces in the range of $2,500 to $6,000, and Invisalign clear aligners in the range of $3,500 to $8,000. Of course, your insurance coverage may determine exactly how much you will pay out-of-pocket for dental treatments.
Williams & Daily Dental is a family and cosmetic dentist located in North Raleigh, NC with a team of dedicated dentists enthusiastic in their commitment to their patients. Contact Williams & Daily at (919) 846-9070 for more information and to schedule an appointment today.