If you have to make the choice between invisible braces vs metal braces for your orthodontic treatment, which one would you opt for?
Many people find themselves facing this decision and it’s a conversation we have time and time again at Dental 266, as we try and help patients weigh up the pros and cons of invisible braces or traditional metal braces.
Each patient is different, and ultimately, the decision comes down to a combination of personal preference, lifestyle, and your orthodontic needs. Let’s start by discussing how both orthodontic treatments work.
Both invisible braces and metal braces are designed to straighten teeth while improving your overall oral health and smile.
Metal braces consist of metal brackets that are attached to each tooth and then connected by a wire which is regularly tightened in such a way that your teeth are gradually moved into the correct position. Wires are held in place using rubber bands which come in a variety of colours and is one reason that children like wearing traditional fixed metal braces.
Invisible braces, on the other hand, straighten the teeth without the need for brackets or wires. Instead, they use a series of clear customised trays known as aligners to move the teeth into their correct position.
While traditional metal braces have been around for decades, Invisalign® has in contrast only been around for a little under 20 years but that doesn’t make the process any less effective.
The most obvious difference between metal braces and Invisalign is that braces are not removable. They are, however, the best option for fixing complex misalignments.
Here are a few other things you need to consider when making your decision.
Invisible Braces vs Metal Braces – Appearance
Well, it’s clear which is the winner here! If you’re looking to straighten your teeth without drawing attention to the fact, then invisible braces are streaks ahead of metal braces. Invisible aligners are made from transparent plastic that is virtually invisible. As a result, most people won’t even notice that you’re wearing them.
One of the things that put people off getting metal braces is the level of maintenance that goes into this treatment option. The brackets and wires need adjusting periodically, certain foods have to be avoided, and brushing and flossing around braces can be challenging.
Follow-up visits will also be required every 4 to 8 weeks for metal braces. During these visits, the rubber bands will be changed, and the wire will also need to be changed or tightened.
Patients may also experience a little soreness after each appointment, but this usually subsides within a couple of days. It’s really important not to skip these appointments since this can prolong your original treatment plan.
What about invisible braces? …….
Invisible braces have become an incredibly popular option because they are invisible and removable. Not only can you remove your aligners to eat, brush, and floss but you also have the option to leave them off for special occasions when you don’t want your treatment interfering with your lifestyle.
Since aligners are designed to be removable, you can continue to eat all of your favourite foods without worrying about loosening a wire or breaking a bracket.
Another advantage of clear aligners is that there are no wires or metal to chafe the inside of your mouth. As a result aligner trays are more comfortable to wear. Depending on your treatment plan, you may need as few as 12 aligners or as many as 48 but we’ll be able to tell you how many once we start to plan your treatment.
The average treatment time is between 6 to 18 months although it depends on the individual. This is assuming that a patient is committed to wearing their aligners for the designated time of 22 hours per day because failure to do so, can lengthen treatment.
Invisible braces wearers will still have to visit the dental clinic every 4-6 weeks for us to monitor their progress, but these appointments are quick and painless. Also, with no wires to bend or brackets to break, it’s unlikely that you’ll have to disrupt your schedule to make an emergency visit to your dentist.
Invisible braces can also save you time in other ways since patients can switch to their next set of aligners at home. Swapping out the aligners every 1 to 2 weeks is important to keep up with the shifting of your teeth. If you skip an appointment or don’t change the aligners when ready, then treatment time can be prolonged.
It’s difficult to compare the costs of invisible braces vs metal braces without knowing the degree of a patient’s oral issues. Traditional metal braces can set you back up to $8,000 whereas invisible braces can cost between $2000 and $9000 depending on how many aligners you need. So, it could be a tight call.
If you’re just starting out on your orthodontic journey, it may be worthwhile finding out what degree of cover and claims you have under your existing health fund provider so that you can maximise your rebates for the duration of your treatment.
Whichever treatment option you decide to pursue, remember it isn’t just about improving your smile but also about improving your overall oral health. It certainly isn’t a decision to be taken lightly which is why it’s important to choose a dentist that has experience with both invisible braces and metal braces.
At Dental 266, we can recommend the best method for your dental needs and smile. We have many years of experience in orthodontic treatments and will work closely with you when designing a treatment plan.
We’re here to help you find your best smile. Contact us today at (02) 9051 0600 to schedule an orthodontics appointment.