Projecting an aura of confidence may be one of the most important factors when it comes to leaving a good first impression. However, even seemingly trivial things about our appearance can negatively affect the way we feel about ourselves, and even cause us to miss out on opportunities in both our personal and professional lives.
A beautiful smile is a very important feature – one that will determine how comfortable you feel laughing and smiling – yet at the same time, one that a lot of people have issues with. Proper oral hygiene will ensure that your teeth stay healthy and white, but there are still other factors that will affect yourdento-facial aesthetics.
Unlike with tooth decay, where our lifestyle choices affect the way teeth look, many people have crooked teeth naturally, through no fault of their own; the teeth simply “grew that way”. Luckily, the process of straightening crooked teeth is simple and highly effective. Gone are the days when braces meant wearing full headgear to keep them in place.
Today, you can choose between sleek, modern braces and near-invisible Invisalign. Procedure, aesthetics, cost and convenience differ between the two, and some or all may affect your choice.
Who are these procedures best suited to?
There are certain pros and cons with both Invisalign and traditional braces, and the best choice will be different for each individual. Let’s go over both options and look at some of the factors that can affect your choice of Invisalign versus braces.
PROS – Traditional braces involve permanently attaching metal wires to the teeth for a period of about two years in order to straighten them. Braces are highly effective and have some interesting benefits:
- They can reliably fix more serious issues
- You can’t take them out and leave them on the nightstand – less responsibility
- No special steps need to be taken before a meal, you just brush afterwards
CONS – However, while they are a proven method, there are also a few downsides:
- The metal wires can cause pain and discomfort at times
- Braces are visibly noticeable, which some people don’t like
- They can cause a tooth to chip or break
- Eating certain types of food can present difficulties
- It takes 1-2 years, or sometimes more, to straighten the teeth
Generally speaking, braces are a reliable treatment, but can cause some issues with comfort. They also need to be worn for a long time in order to achieve the desired results.
Invisalign is an elegant solution for people who don’t want others to notice their braces.
PROS – There are a number of additional benefits to choosing Invisalign:
- It is completely unnoticeable
- You only wear it for about 9-15 months
- It can be removed
- It won’t cause any issues when eating food
- There is no risk of teeth getting damaged or discoloured
- It is comfortable
CONS – When you look at that list of pros, it seems like they should be the logical choice for anyone, however, there are several important things to consider when looking at Invisalign:
- A person has to be very careful and responsible (so as not to leave it out for too long and ruin their progress)
- Invisalign may not be an option for those with more serious alignment problems
- It has to be taken out before each meal or before drinking anything other than water
- It needs to be cleaned regularly
- You need to brush your teeth after a meal before putting it back in
Invisalign is a fast and comfortable way of straightening the teeth, and the aligner trays are invisible, but you need to have the discipline to keep them in unless you are eating or brushing your teeth. As long as you are dedicated to wearing them throughout the day they will provide fast results.
How much does Invisalign cost?
Invisalign generally costs less than braces, but the actual cost will depend on the severity of the problem and length of wear. The average costs are between $5000 -$12,000 for braces, and around $3000 – $7,000 for Invisalign.
How are the procedures performed?
Both procedures require X-rays and dental moulds to be taken, and a 3D digital model to be made first, but they have some distinct differences:
- Braces – after a person has used orthodontic spacers for a couple of weeks, the dentist will use adhesives and dental cement to attach small metal brackets to the teeth, and will secure the teeth in place with metal wires threaded between the brackets. Small elastic bands known as ligatures, which come in different colours, are then attached to secure the wire. The patient will have to get regular monthly check-ups, when the wires will be tightened to keep pulling the teeth in the right direction.
- Invisalign – after a 3D digital model has been made, the dentist will create a set of aligners for the patient, which are then changed out every two weeks. The aligner slowly pushes the teeth towards the desired position, so new ones have to be designed to ensure further progress, but this is a routine process.
With Invisalign, the majority of the procedure is done without the involvement of the patient, and he or she is not inconvenienced in any way. The aligner trays will need to be replaced after two weeks, but you receive several of them at a time, so it only requires additional visits every 6-8 weeks. Braces on the other hand require an extensive procedure and more frequent visits.
Invisalign trays will not cause any discomfort, nor cause any discoloration as long as proper hygiene and maintenance are performed. Braces, on the other hand, can cause discomfort and pain during chewing, make the teeth feel sore and increase the flow of saliva. Your fillings or crowns can be damaged during the removal of the braces, requiring additional dental work, but this is rare. The braces can also cut the inside of your mouth if you get hit in the face, e.g. playing a contact sport.
Things are not always black and white, but when it comes to choosing between braces and Invisalign the latter is an objectively better option in most cases. The only reason to opt for traditional braces is if you have a very complicated case, as the somewhat higher price is more than compensated for by the aesthetic look, comfort and quick results.
Want to find out more about Invisalign? Get in touch with our friendly staff today.