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Braces vs Invisalign

Updated on April 24, 2013

Braces vs. Invisalign

Are Invisalign clear braces truly better than traditional metal braces? That depends on how you look at it, and how people look at you while wearing them.

Cosmetically, Invisalign, because it’s virtually invisible, has it all over the traditional metal braces for straightening teeth. All you have to do is smile, often an embarrassment to someone who has a metal strip running through their mouth.

But there are other advantages to Invisalign as well.

Both Invisalign and metal braces treat a variety of cases including crowding, spacing and straightening. The average cost is about the same, depending on y our dentist or orthodontist.

The key advantage for Invisalign comes in a patient’s comfort. Invisalign allows patients to eat whatever foods they want, it’s more comfortable than metal braces which can irritate cheeks and gums, less frequent trips to the dentist for adjustments that metal braces require, and you can remove an Invisalign brace whenever you want.

That last advantage can come back to bite you. Invisalign still needs to be in place about 22 hours a day to have the correct effect. If a patient isn’t cooperative or neglectful in sticking to the regimen prescribed by his dentist, the teeth straightening can take longer, and the problems Invisalign is meant to correct may even regress.

Their ease in removal, however, allows a patient to remove Invisalign when eating and cleaning, reducing the incident of tooth decay that occurs in 50 percent of patients wearing metal braces.

The length of treatment is generally shorter with Invisalign than with metal braces

Orthodontists argue that while Invisalign is great for correcting many conditions, it is less effective for more severe issues concerning malocclusion or bite correction, rotation of cylindrical teeth, root uprighting or vertical tooth movements.

Where conditions are less severe, a study conducted at NYU/Buffalo University in 2009 showed similar results between Invisalign and metal braces in dealing with various conditions of the teeth, and also concluded that “Invisalign can treat mild cases of malocclusion as efficiently, if not better, as braces.”

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