If you’ve ever found yourself covering your mouth when you laugh, or refusing to smile in photos, have you stopped to think exactly why?
You might realise you’re in the same boat as many of the patients we treat at our Gold Coast dental clinics, who tell us the main reason they don’t like their smile is because their teeth aren’t perfectly straight.
Orthodontic treatments such as braces or Invisalign® treatment can be the most effective ways to help you achieve a smile you’ll want to share, transforming the aesthetics of your whole face and your confidence!
When deciding which orthodontic treatment is better for you, you may be questioning the difference between Invisalign® and braces.
We’ve put together a quick questionnaire below to help you determine which option is the best match for your lifestyle when your dentist or orthodontist has given you both options to straighten your teeth and change your life!
What’s the difference between Invisalign® and braces?
We’ll start by explaining exactly how each orthodontic treatment works, and the key differences between them.
What is Invisalign® treatment?
Invisalign® treatment involves using clear, removable plastic aligners (like a mouthguard) that fit over your teeth and use gentle pressure to cause movement into a straighter position. They are custom made to fit your teeth, and are usually changed every two weeks.
Another aligner treatment that you may have heard about in the last few years is SmileDirectClub, and although there are some similarities in how they work, there is a difference between Invisalign® and SmileDirectClub.
What are traditional braces?
Traditional braces are attached to the outside of your teeth, involving stainless steel brackets and wires which are adjusted over the course of treatment to move the teeth into their final position.
What are ceramic braces?
Similar to traditional braces, ceramic braces also involve wires and brackets, except the brackets are clear and the wires can be steel or tooth-coloured.
What are lingual braces?
Also similar to traditional braces in the fact that lingual braces are metal brackets and wires which are attached to the teeth, they differ slightly as they are bonded to the back of the teeth instead of the front.
Invisalign® VS Braces Questionnaire: Which is Best?
- How invisible do I want my treatment to be?
- How complex are the tooth movements I need?
- How well can I maintain my oral hygiene?
- How much comfort do I prefer?
- How compliant will I be?
- Do I need it to be removable?
1. How invisible do I want my treatment to be?
If you prefer a more discreet treatment and aesthetics are important to you, Invisalign® treatment will be your best option. The aligners are almost invisible due to the clear plastic and snug fit against the teeth.
Lingual braces are the next most discreet option as they’re bonded behind the teeth, followed by ceramic braces due to their colour being similar to your own teeth. Traditional braces are the most visible alignment treatment due to the stainless steel wires and brackets and coloured bands that are chosen.
2. How complex are the tooth movements I need?
The severity of how crowded or crooked your teeth are, the size of gaps and if you have an overbite, underbite or crossbite will determine which orthodontic treatment will achieve the desired results.
Invisalign® treatment is suited to mild to moderately complex cases, and the outcome of your treatment will depend on the experience of your dentist or orthodontist. Lingual braces are also suitable for mild to moderate complexity, as they are more difficult to manage compared to traditional braces on the front of the teeth.
Traditional braces and ceramic braces, on the other hand, are suitable for nearly all cases, making them the best alternative for significant movements.
For some more mild cases, other alternative cosmetic dentistry options to significantly enhance your smile instantly are porcelain veneers or composite bonding. To learn more, here are 10 things you need to know before getting veneers.
3. How well can I maintain my oral hygiene?
The ability to maintain your oral hygiene over the course of your treatment will differ depending on which option you choose. Invisalign® aligners can be conveniently removed when you need to brush and floss your teeth, meaning you can continue to keep on top of your dental hygiene as normal.
Fixed braces, both traditional and ceramic make it a bit more difficult, as it’s harder to floss and brush around the brackets and wires, increasing the chances of plaque buildup and gum inflammation.
Lingual braces make it especially difficult to brush and floss your teeth as they’re bonded onto the back, which means a higher risk of continuous plaque accumulation which can lead to potential tooth decay.
This is why it’s especially important to visit your dentist for your 6-monthly checkup and clean to remove any plaque and keep your teeth in their best shape.
4. How much comfort do I prefer?
Each type of orthodontic treatment causes a different type of discomfort at varying stages and duration. During Invisalign® treatment, speech may be affected for some patients right at the start of treatment, only temporarily as the teeth and mouth adjust to the feeling of the foreign object. Most people also feel mildly uncomfortable during the first day or two of their new aligners each time they are changed. This is just a feeling of slight pressure as the aligners need time to loosen up after being worn for the first time.
Traditional and ceramic braces can cause ulcers in the mouth due to being irritated by the brackets or wires. If they break, they can also cause discomfort and will need to be fixed as soon as possible by your dentist or orthodontist.
Lingual braces can also cause ulcers, as well as potentially impact on the tongue position and speech.
5. How compliant will I be?
As Invisalign® aligners are removable but must be worn for 20-22 hours a day to achieve the absolute best outcome, they’re best suited to patients who will be compliant with wearing their aligners for the required amount of time. If you think you’ll be tempted to leave them out every day to slowly sip on your morning coffee, or you’re not shy of a frequent night out where you’ll be unlikely to keep your aligners in, Invisalign® treatment may not be the most suitable option!
On the other hand, as braces are fixed for the entire duration of treatment, there are no chances you can fail at complying (apart from wearing elastics when required), making it a much better option for some patients.
6. Do I need it to be removable?
The key difference between Invisalign® treatment and traditional, ceramic and lingual braces is that Invisalign® aligners are removable. If you know you have a major event coming up during treatment where you may want to show off your teeth and ditch the aligners for a few hours, Invisalign® can give you the freedom to show off your smile on these special occasions! Many people would prefer not to have visible braces during a wedding, graduation or other event where there may be a lot of photos taken.
Asking yourself these questions will give you a better understanding of which orthodontic treatment may be most suitable for your preferences and lifestyle. To ensure you select the best treatment to achieve your dream smile, it’s best to visit your dentist for a consultation.
Oasis Dental Studio offers free Invisalign® consultations at our Gold Coast dental practices, so please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our amazing team to find out more!
In the meantime, to see in 60 seconds what Invisalign® can do for your smile, try our Invisalign® SmileView simulator.
Please feel free to schedule an appointment online or give us a call:
- Broadbeach Dental Practice: 07 5526 8722
- Palm Beach Dental Practice: 07 5525 6610
- Chirn Park Dental Practice: 07 5627 1127