Many people interested in teeth straightening reach for Invisalign® because of the system’s near invisibility, comfort, and success rate. However, clear braces may be your best option if your smile troubles are complex. And while they aren’t invisible, clear braces are less noticeable and more comfortable than those bulky systems from the past.
So, which system is right for you? Dr. J.A. Duval at Duval Orthodontics in Albany, and Warner Robins, Georgia, provides numerous options for creating straight smiles in his Georgia communities. Here, he offers insight to help you understand the difference between Invisalign and clear braces and which system might be your smile’s best treatment option.
Invisalign is a system of clear aligners created from patented plastic - strong enough to correct mild to moderate bite misalignment (malocclusion).
At the start of your treatment, Dr. Duval uses advanced 3D technology to create a map of your teeth. The computer uses this information to design a series of trays (worn for 1-2 weeks each) that realign your smile over 12-18 months.
Along with low visibility, Invisalign trays are typically more comfortable than traditional braces. In addition, because they’re removable, you won’t experience the food restrictions common with braces, i.e., no sticky caramel if you’re wearing braces. However, you must remove the aligners before eating any foods or drinking liquids other than clear water.
With Invisalign, you may also find it easier to clean your teeth; just remove the tray, and brush and floss as usual. Brushing around brackets, wires, and other structural components of braces takes extra time and effort.
Invisalign usually straightens teeth quicker than braces, perhaps because they’re used for milder bite issues. However, you must wear the aligners 20-22 hours every day to achieve success.
What are clear braces?
Clear braces are a less visible alternative to traditional metal braces. Also known as ceramic braces, clear braces include brackets, bands, and archwire.
The brackets are affixed to the front of your teeth, the archwire threads through slots in the brackets, and bands hold the wire in place. During periodic office visits, Dr. Duval tightens the archwire, creating gentle tension on the brackets and eventually moving the teeth into proper alignment.
However, rather than metal, the brackets used with clear braces are tooth-colored or transparent, making them much less noticeable. You may also have an option of tooth-colored wire, reducing visibility even more. Treatment length depends on the malocclusion's severity, but most patients require braces for 12-24 months.
Compared to Invisalign, clear braces can correct even severe bite problems and are appropriate for teens and adults.
How do you choose between Invisalign and clear braces?
Dr. Duval recommends treatment options based on the level of malocclusion. Both systems offer exceptional results for moderate misalignment issues, such as:
- Underbite or overbite
- Gap teeth
- Crowded teeth
- Open bite
Invisalign may be Dr. Duval’s choice for slightly misaligned teeth; in that case, you may only require the aligners for six months.
However, he may recommend clear braces for complex issues, such as a severe overbite, rotated teeth, and tooth displacement (dental intrusion or extrusion).
If either system is appropriate for your oral health needs, Dr. Duval leaves the decision to you after discussing the pros and cons of each.
For instance, some people are irritated by the need to remove Invisalign trays for a quick snack, especially since you must clean your teeth before replacing the aligners. However, others consider that a minor inconvenience compared to food restrictions with clear braces.
Schedule an evaluation at Duval Orthodontics today to learn more about Invisalign, clear braces, or other services we offer.