No one wants to deal with the hassle of having braces. They are uncomfortable and expensive, restrict what you can eat, and require much maintenance. If you’re an adult, they can be downright embarrassing.
For many people who find themselves needing braces, clear aligners like Invisalign are an increasingly attractive option. Invisalign mouthpieces are removable – you take them out to eat, brush your teeth, and sleep. Plus, compared to traditional braces, they’re more comfortable, require less maintenance, and nobody knows you’re wearing them.
Of course, there are a few trade-offs, the first and most well-known being the increased cost. Invisalign can be much more expensive than regular braces, and insurances are less likely to cover them.
However, the second trade-off is just as necessary, but it often gets overlooked: Invisalign can’t fix everything. That is to say, there are some orthodontic issues that Invisalign can’t be used for; the more severe cases often need multiple kinds of metal braces.
There are also a few other factors that you will want to consider: medical recommendations, age, price range, timeline, and maintenance. We’ll discuss these below as factors that could impact your decision in the debate over Invisalign vs braces.
First and foremost, your orthodontist will do a thorough assessment to determine what work you need to have done. From there, they will recommend the best action to accomplish these goals. Your doctor’s recommendation should be one of the factors you consider most heavily – it comes from years of training and practice in the field, so you can be confident that it is a sound opinion.
That’s not to say that your orthodontist’s word is law. Indeed, suppose you disagree with their assessment and feel they are not making a good recommendation. In that case, you should seek a second opinion before you begin a lengthy and costly treatment.
Do keep in mind that if you need extensive work done, no doctor is likely to recommend invisible aligners right off the bat. These procedures are best suited for more common issues like correcting bite alignment, crowding, and tooth position and spacing, not correcting major orthodontic issues.
In that same vein, for patients who require extensive corrections, some orthodontists will start a course of treatment with a series of traditional metal braces. Eventually, they might suggest a switch to Invisalign as the treatment progresses.
Age – and with it, maturity level – is another factor you should consider. Most orthodontists won’t recommend that teenagers start with Invisalign – it is expensive, easy to lose, and nothing unusual about a teenager wearing metal braces.
For adults, Invisalign becomes more feasible. Most adults willing to pay for Invisalign will likely go to great lengths to ensure they don’t lose them because they are the ones footing the cost. It is also not as socially acceptable for adults to have traditional braces, and aside from potential embarrassment, they can negatively impact one’s career or social life.
Another thing to consider is your timeline, or how long you’re willing to wear braces. Regarding traditional braces, treatment courses can often be shortened by making more significant and more frequent adjustments to the braces – but this means higher, more constant levels of discomfort.
Do you have a big event in six months and need your teeth fixed by then? Metal braces might be your best bet. But if you’re willing to undergo a longer course of treatment but with less discomfort, Invisalign might be the better option.
Next on the list is your price range. Most people think this is the most critical concern – and for a good reason – but if you are not a good Invisalign candidate for other reasons, the price point doesn’t matter.
Most people expect to be paying hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars in out-of-pocket costs for any orthodontic treatment – traditional braces or Invisalign. A lot of this will depend on your insurance. However, it is worth noting that only a tiny percentage of dental insurance plans cover the total cost of braces – and even then, that usually only extends to metal ones. Either way, you can expect to pay a lot for orthodontic treatment. It’s a hefty investment but well worth it in the long run.
If you and your orthodontist determine that you are a good candidate for invisible aligners, you should know that Invisalign is a brand name for invisible aligners. There are other brands out there that you can choose from. You’ll have to research, but you can probably find one of good quality that fits your price range.
Last up is maintenance, which means the effort you are willing to put into maintaining your braces.
Metal braces are harder to brush at night and can keep food trapped against your teeth, whereas invisible aligners can be removed and put in a cleaning solution. Metal braces require more frequent visits to the orthodontist for repairs and adjustments, whereas most invisible aligners these days are mailed directly to your door. And then, of course, metal braces sometimes require springs or rubber bands when invisible aligners do not – but if you need springs or rubber bands, you might not be a good candidate for Invisalign anyway.
Any braces will require some upkeep, and the repercussions of failing to do so can be expensive and result in having to wear braces even longer. If your orthodontist suggests a style of braces that requires more upkeep than you can meet, don’t hesitate to voice your concerns.
Ready for Straighter Teeth and a Beautiful Smile?
If you’re ready for a straighter smile and want to know your options for Invisalign or braces, schedule an appointment today. Our friendly staff at Valley Ridge Dental Centre will set you up with a specialist and get you on the path to a beautiful smile. Contact our NW Calgary dental clinic today for more information.