Kids, teens, and even adults who need teeth straightening today have several potential treatment options. While traditional metal braces are the best-known teeth straightening option, newer devices like Invisalign are becoming increasingly popular. One of the first questions that many patients have is whether Invisalign is as effective as traditional braces. Here’s what you need to know.
How Effective is Invisalign?
The main reason that many patients want Invisalign rather than traditional braces is that it’s virtually invisible. Nobody will even be aware that you’re wearing clear aligners in most cases. While this is certainly a major benefit, Invisalign isn’t always exactly like traditional braces in terms of effectiveness.
Invisalign can treat teeth alignment issues including overbite, underbite, crossbite, crowded teeth, and open bite. All of these issues can be treated with traditional braces as well. The main difference is that Invisalign is appropriate for mild to moderate alignment problems.
Invisalign is typically best for cases where you want teeth straightening primarily for cosmetic reasons. However, if the problem is very severe and major re-shifting of the teeth needs to take place, traditional braces may be the superior option. For example, if teeth have to be shifted vertically to achieve proper alignment, traditional braces can do that more effectively than Invisalign.
Ultimately, this doesn’t mean that Invisalign can’t be as effective as traditional braces — but it does mean that Invisalign and traditional braces each have an area where they perform particularly well. For Invisalign, it’s mild to moderate realignment of teeth for aesthetic reasons. For braces, it’s moderate to severe realignment of the teeth for aesthetic reasons, structural reasons, or both.
Is Invisalign Right For You?
If you’re interested in straightening your teeth with Invisalign, consider the following questions.
- Can you adhere to a strict schedule of wearing the aligners? If you choose Invisalign, it’s very important to remember that it can only work while you’re wearing it. You’ll need to wear the aligners almost all the time, removing them only for oral hygiene and eating.
- Is having metal free teeth important to you? If having metal free teeth is important to you, you might just be the perfect Invisalign candidate. With Invisalign, you get to skip the metal brackets and wires.
- Are you willing to wear a retainer to preserve your Invisalign results? After Invisalign treatment — usually 12-24 months — you’ll need to commit to wearing a retainer to preserve your good results. Most Invisalign patients opt for a clear retainer which is similar in style to the Invisalign aligners.
What if the Dentist Recommends Braces Instead?
If you’ve got teeth alignment issues that would be more effectively corrected with traditional braces, you still have options. These include:
- Traditional metal braces: traditional metal braces include brackets and wires that are periodically tightened to help reposition your teeth into the optimal position.
- Clear ceramic braces: clear ceramic braces still have traditional hardware, but it’s made from a clear ceramic that makes it difficult to see the braces on your teeth.
- Lingual braces: lingual braces are attached to the back of the teeth, which means your smile isn’t affected at all.
As you can see, braces have come a long way in the last couple of decades, so you now have plenty of good options for straightening your teeth. Ultimately, the question of Invisalign versus traditional braces isn’t black or white. It all depends on your particular problems, your needs, and your treatment goals. Dr. Valderrama will be happy to work with you to help you determine whether Invisalign or traditional braces is more effective for your needs.
Valderrama Orthodontics is a Melbourne, Florida orthodontic practice led by Dr. Natalia Valderrama, fondly called “Dr. V.” by her patients. Dr. V offers skilled and compassionate orthodontic care to children, teens, and adults. Services include not only Invisalign, Clear Correct, and metal braces but also clear braces, lingual braces, retainers, and mouth guards for sports. The Valderrama Orthodontics team always goes the extra mile to make sure that patients feel welcomed and supported. Contact the office anytime to arrange an appointment for you or your child.