My patients often say to me, “I would like to straighten my teeth, but I don’t want traditional braces.” Traditional braces are usually made from stainless steel and are therefore silver in colour. It’s understandable that the appearance of such braces is undesirable for many adults, so I usually offer them the alternative of clear braces.
Clear braces are made from a transparent ceramic material, which makes them more aesthetically pleasing than metal braces. However, being made of ceramic means they can chip, whereas metal braces don’t have this problem. Orthodontically speaking, we can achieve the same result using either, except that in my experience treatment has occasionally been slower with clear braces. (Not all orthodontists have had this experience.)
Then there are other adult patients who tell me “I can’t have any braces at all. Not even clear braces.” And that’s when I offer them Invisalign. Invisalign is a set of clear aligners that can be removed. I recommend that my patients wear them at least 22 hours per day, including when sleeping. Invisalign should only be removed for eating, and drinking anything apart from cold water, and of course when cleaning the teeth.
There is a big difference between braces and Invisalign. Braces are bonded to the teeth, so they are constantly at work and they restrict the kinds of food that can be comfortably consumed. Invisalign is removable, which allows the patient to eat anything. On the downside, this also means the aligners can be left out for longer than recommended. Therefore, in most cases, braces are the ideal option unless there is strict compliance on the part of the patient.
To achieve the ideal result with Invisalign, two important factors come into play. The first involves the treatment plan designed by the practitioner. This is where it is important to understand the difference between a specialist orthodontist and a general dentist. As a specialist orthodontist, the only treatments I perform daily involve the aligning of teeth. By contrast, a general dentist may treat only a handful of orthodontic cases per month or even per year. Invisalign is a product, not a treatment plan. It is up to the practitioner to tailor the treatment plan to the patient’s individual needs.
The second factor is patient compliance. The clear aligners need to be worn as prescribed, or the desired result will not be achieved. Some of my patients are able to wear their aligners for 23 hours per day. Others find it difficult to reach even 20 hours of wear. Therefore, as an overall treatment option, Invisalign can be slower than braces, especially if the patient cannot wear the aligners properly.
If you are given the option of braces or Invisalign and you are unsure which to choose, consider your lifestyle. You need to be confident in your choice, and I can recommend you the best treatment option for your teeth. In terms of fees, clear braces and Invisalign are currently the same price of approximately $8200. As Smile Solutions, we invite you to book a consultation to receive an accurate quote for your particular treatment plan.