In 2000, we all learned what a “hanging chad” was, thanks to the recount in the U.S. presidential race between Al Gore and George W. Bush. Concerns over a Y2K widespread computer outage proved unfounded. And Invisalign, a system that uses clear plastic aligners instead of metal and wires to straighten teeth, was introduced.
Unlike the first two events, you’re not likely to read about Invisalign in history books. But it has revolutionized orthodontic treatment, making it possible to get a straight smile without a mouthful of metal. If you’re at all self-conscious about your appearance, that probably sounds great to you. But is Invisalign right for you?
The best way to find out is to visit our Attleboro, MA dentist office for a consultation with our orthodontist, Dr. Yuhe Lu. In the meantime, though, we’ve shared some information here to help you compare Invisalign to braces. When you’re ready to schedule your orthodontics consultation, call Attleboro Family Dental Care at 774-225-0618.
First, an Invisalign Primer
First, here’s a little more information on how Invisalign works. It consists of a series of custom-made clear plastic aligners that fit snugly over your teeth.
The typical Invisalign treatment process works like this:
- Dr. Lu uses digital X-rays and impressions of your teeth to create a 3D model of your mouth.
- The model helps her create an orthodontics treatment plan for you.
- She sends specifications for your aligners to a special lab where they are manufactured.
- She ensures your first aligner fits well and reviews your Invisalign treatment plan with you. The aligners gently shift your teeth into place over time. You’ll visit our office for periodic checkups so we can make sure your treatment is progressing as planned.
Compare Invisalign to Braces
We’ve highlighted five of the most important issues you’ll consider when you compare Invisalign to braces:
- Your orthodontics issues
- Ease of care
- Ongoing orthodontic treatment
What Orthodontics Issues Are You Trying to Solve?
Probably the most important factor in choosing between Invisalign and metal braces is the orthodontic problems you are trying to correct. Simply put, braces typically are more effective than Invisalign for more complicated orthodontics treatments. We may recommend braces instead of Invisalign to correct issues that involve your back teeth, vertical movement of teeth, or rotation of teeth.
How Important Is Appearance to You?
One of the biggest differences between Invisalign and metal braces is their appearance. Because Invisalign aligners are made of clear, BPA-free plastic, they are practically invisible. Most people will probably not even be aware you’re straightening your teeth. In contrast, braces usually are made of metallic gray wires and brackets.
How Long Will Your Orthodontic Treatment Take?
Length of treatment will vary for individual patients with either teeth straightening method. Because Invisalign is typically used for less complicated orthodontics issues, treatment can typically be completed within 12 to 18 months. According to the Invisalign website, the average treatment time for adults is 12 months. Treatments with metal braces usually take longer, about two years for most cases.
There is a caveat: Invisalign treatment can take longer if you don’t wear your aligners for 20-22 hours a day. We recommend you remove your aligners only for eating, drinking liquids other than water, or brushing and flossing your teeth.
Is Ease of Care Important?
Invisalign aligners are easier to keep clean than braces because you can remove them when you eat or drink sticky liquids. So food won’t get stuck in them. And you remove Invisalign when brushing and flossing your teeth. With Invisalign, you’ll change your aligners every two weeks or so. And you’ll visit us for a progress check every four to six weeks. With braces, we’ll likely want to see you a little more often, about once a month.
How Does the Cost Compare?
It’s difficult to directly compare the cost of Invisalign with the cost of braces, as individual treatments will vary. Dr. Lu should be able to help you compare costs. If you’re ready to have Dr. Lu help you compare Invisalign to braces, call 774-225-0618.