Many of our patients love the idea of having clear removable aligners (Invisalign) but worry that invisible aligners aren’t as effective as traditional metal braces. If this describes you, you’ll be happy to learn that there are ways to make Invisalign deliver the same results in a comparable timeframe. When it comes to Invisalign, the expertise and experience of your dental specialist (Orthodontist) is the most important part of how successful it will be. Invisalign is a tool and works best when designed and executed properly. Here’s what you need to know.
Is Invisalign or Braces A Better Option?
For some patients, both options work equally well, so the answer to this question comes down to the personal preference, goals, and unique lifestyle of the individual.
There are some rare circumstances in which Invisalign isn’t an option, but aligner technology has improved since it was first introduced and it can now handle most orthodontic problems: cross-bite, open bite, overbite, underbite, and more.
When making your decision, it’s very important, to be honest with yourself: will you wear your aligners as instructed ( all the time except when eating and brushing & flossing? If you get braces, will it be an inconvenience to spend the extra time each day flossing under the wires and cleaning around the brackets? Think about your lifestyle and what matters to you. Many patients choose Invisalign because they want the freedom to eat their favorite foods and they like the idea of a discreet orthodontic solution. The negative is that Invisalign costs more and is slower in moving teeth so the treatment time may be longer. Traditional braces are less expensive and can achieve the same results in a shorter time.
How Effective Are Invisalign Aligners?
Invisalign aligners are effective when calculated and designed well to carry out the desired tooth movements and are worn 20-22 hours/day. Both Invisalign and braces work by exerting pressure on teeth, forcing them to slowly move. The difference between the two systems is that Invisalign does this with clear plastic aligners and tooth-colored buttons (attachments) placed on the teeth while braces use brackets and wires.
Although many general dentists now offer Invisalign, the benefit of seeing an orthodontist is that the specialist with additional 3 years of training and exclusive practice in the field of Orthodontics is able to diagnose the problems related to your teeth and bite, help you choose the best treatment option or combine techniques to deliver the best outcome for you. At Fullerton Orthodontics, we offer all types of braces, so we can help you weigh your options and tell you exactly how they compare to your unique circumstances. Another significant advantage of having an orthodontist in charge of your treatment is if you don’t like the treatment option you choose, you can always switch to another option. For example, if you get Invisalign and later realize you don’t want to be wearing aligners all the time or the movements are too slow, you can switch to braces with no additional cost. After all, we want you to have the best results and a great experience while in treatment with us regardless of what Orthodontic treatment option you start with.
Invisalign vs. Braces: Which Is Faster?
With Invisalign technology advancements and using special techniques in designing and utilizing aligner buttons and other features, we now see treatment times that are more comparable to traditional metal braces. When Invisalign does take longer, we have options to add certain features like hidden buttons and braces or nighttime rubber bands that can help expedite the movements of teeth. Of course, you can always switch to Braces for the last 2-3 months to finish your treatment faster with perfect results.
Every patient is different, so the length of treatment depends on the issues we’re correcting. Invisalign works with a series of sequential aligners that move your teeth based on our calculated prescription. Utilizing the most advanced technology, we use a digital iTero scanner to create a digital model of your teeth and mouth and we can then show you a simulation of your treatment outcome in a few minutes! It is amazing to be able to see how your teeth will look after treatment.
Here’s the inconvenient truth though: Invisalign only works when you’re wearing your aligners. Braces are affixed to your teeth, so they work 24/7. It’s important to only remove your aligners when you’re eating, brushing, or flossing, otherwise, you may end up extending your treatment time.
Cost of Invisalign Compared to Braces
Traditional metal braces are usually cheaper than Invisalign. That said, if you’re looking for a discreet treatment option, Invisalign is less expensive than Lingual ( inside) braces – the kind of braces that go on the backs of your teeth- and comparable to the cost of clear (ceramic) braces. If your dental insurance covers orthodontic treatment, it will pay the same amount toward the cost of Invisalign. Our insurance coordinator will check your benefits and give you an estimate of your cost with no interest payment plan options at your initial consultation.