Naturally straight teeth are rarer than you might think. Studies have shown that only around 35% of people have properly aligned teeth without any sort of intervention. Despite this, far fewer than 65% of people actually get them. There are a lot of reasons for this, including cost, worries about appearance, and ability to keep up with cleaning and maintenance.
For a long time, there was only one option: band and brackets, or traditional braces. About 25 years ago, however, a competitor popped up: Clear Aligners. A clear aligner, like Invisalign, is a clear, removable mouth piece that offers the ability to fix teeth without gluing metal to them for years at a time. But does that make it better than traditional braces? Let’s explore these two options. Let’s explore why you might need braces to begin with and then discuss the two options.
How do I know if I need braces?
For some people, a need for braces is obvious by misaligned or crooked teeth. Others might not know until a dentist suggests treatment. You can look for some common signs like difficulty flossing or brushing, underbites or overbites, jaw asymmetry, or pain and abnormal wear on teeth. The only way to know for sure, however, is to get a professional assessment.
Benefits of Invisalign
- Better Aesthetics – Invisalign offers a solution to one of the biggest criticisms people have toward braces: appearance. Many people don’t like the look of bulky pieces of metal attached to their teeth. Often, it’s hard to notice someone is even wearing a clear aligner. They must be worn 18-22 hours a day to achieve optimal results.
- Easier to eat – When you have band and brackets installed, you’re typically given a list of foods to either avoid or be careful with during the course of treatment. Because clear aligners are removable, they pose no complications at mealtime. You must remember to reinsert the tray immediately after eating!
- Brush and floss normally – It’s also easy to remove clear aligners prior to brushing and flossing, eliminating the need for a special process to keep your teeth around wire braces clean.
- Less frequent checkups – While you’ll still need to check in periodically, you won’t have to go into your dental office nearly as often as you would with traditional braces.
Drawbacks of Invisalign
- Requires willpower – Removability is both a blessing and a curse. While it comes in handy, you do have to maintain the willpower to keep it in for at least 18-22 hours per day. This can be tough when it gets uncomfortable or you have a busy lifestyle.
- More frequent teeth cleanings – Because you’ll be putting your clear aligners back on after eating, it’s essential to make sure your teeth are very clean. You should clean them after you eat or drink anything but water.
- Not ideal for severe cases – Clear aligners work great. But for some movements, band and bracket braces are more effective. Your dental professional can help you decide which will work for you!
Benefits of Braces
- Require less willpower – When your traditional braces are in, they’re in. There’s nothing you can do about it, which means you won’t be tempted to stall progress by taking them out or forgetting to put them in.
- Don’t have to clean them every time you eat or drink – Of course you should still clean your teeth thoroughly with braces, but doing so just 2-3 times a day is sufficient, especially if you are using the tools recommended toy ou by your dental office
- More effective for extensive treatment – If your teeth need a lot of movement, band and bracket braces will likely be much better at achieving the results you want.
Drawbacks of Braces
- More noticeable – Not everyone is bothered by the aesthetics of traditional braces, but for those that are, they’re very noticeable. This can make people shy to smile or promote worse self-image in the short term.
- Limited food choices – Because your traditional braces will be in while you eat, you’ll have to take special care not to consume anything that will cause problems. Hard foods can damage your braces, and other foods might get stuck.
- More frequent check ups – No matter what, you will need to go to the orthodontist regularly. This must be done in person because you will periodically need to get them tightened.
- Discomfort – It is important to note that tooth and mouth soreness will occur with both options. The clear aligners, however, tend to be kinder toto cheeks and gums.
It’s up to you!
There’s no one answer to the clear aligner vs. traditional braces debate. For some, aesthetics might come first, and any of the drawbacks for Invisalign won’t matter. For others, willpower might play a more important role. The important thing is to discuss your options with your dental professional and consider the question on a personal level. Ultimately, either option will help you achieve your long-term health goal of having a healthy and beautiful smile. This is a worthy investment you will benefit from for rest of your life.
Orthodontic Treatment at Cobblestone Park Family Dentistry
Do you think you or a loved one could benefit from orthodontic treatment? Contact Cobblestone Park Family Dentistry to make an appointment with our team today. We offer both options here and will help you decide what’s right for you.