What are Braces?
Dental braces are orthodontic devices, generally made from thin, strong wires, used to gently realign teeth. A wide variety of tooth misalignment problems can be gradually corrected by braces – particularly, crooked or crowded teeth.
What Is Invisalign?
Invisalign is a brand of clear plastic spacers also used to fix a range of issues with tooth alignment. These spacers should be worn a minimum of about 23 hours every day, but they can be removed periodically for eating, cleaning, or sports.
Benefits of Each
- Braces can correct the widest variety of issues and are suitable for patients of almost any age
- They are relatively easy to care for and the underlying science behind them is well understood, so virtually all patients are ultimately successful with braces
- Braces are relatively inexpensive and suitable for many budgets
- Although they are not as subtle as Invisalign, many of today’s braces can be made from materials that blend in with the teeth for a more pleasing appearance
- They are especially good for younger patients, who might find it more difficult to care for Invisalign spacers or to keep them in the mouth for the appropriate length of time.
- Not quite as versatile as traditional braces, but tend to work faster
- They can be removed any time the patient desires which can be a good when engaging in activities like contact sports, eating, or other hobbies.
- They are undetectable in day to day situations
- Requires fewer follow-up appointments than braces
Why One Might Be Better Than the Other
Braces tend to be inexpensive, are somewhat more versatile than Invisalign, and great for patients of all ages. Very rarely, people with certain known allergies to plastics may experience mild inflammation or other discomfort with Invisalign. In these cases, braces are the best course of treatment for long-term orthodontic health.
Invisalign is ideal for those who want superior aesthetic value from their orthodontic solution, such as performers or speakers. It is also great for athletes, particularly in fast-paced sports where occasional contact with the head may be unavoidable. It is very convenient, requiring no lifestyle changes and very little extra time spent on dental hygiene.
Who Makes a Good Candidate?
Invisalign clear braces may be right for patients aged 12 and up once permanent teeth have grown in. Patients must complete any pending dental treatment before they can start using Invisalign. People of any age with significant dental decay may be unable to use Invisalign.
Conventional braces can usually be placed starting at age 10. Because of the differences in how metallic braces work versus Invisalign, these are most effective if they are placed while the mouth and head are still growing – doing so can reduce the total time that treatment requires.
Adults of any age whose teeth are in otherwise healthy condition can also pursue braces or Invisalign spacers. When used correctly, either of these treatments will continue to produce desirable results, although the course of treatment may be somewhat longer.