20 Sep Invisalign vs Fixed Braces
Are Invisalign Braces better than Fixed braces?
Okay…a brief resume
Invisalign braces are composed of a series of clear aligners that incrementally place pressures on the teeth that result in movement of the teeth. They look great, cause minimal rubbing when compared to fixed braces, and the level of control we have over the movements of your teeth is astounding. BUT …. you can take them out, a MAJOR problem. You can learn more here:
Fixed braces come in two components- brackets that are glued to each individual tooth, and a wire that runs between the teeth, beginning with flexible wires at the beginning up to steel wires that allow controlled movements of the teeth. They can be placed on the outside of the teeth or on the inside and the always work 😊. BUT… they can cause far more rubbing at the start of treatment, and although they are clear they do not look anywhere near as good as aligners.
Overall, no one system is ‘better’ than the other, but on an individual basis there is often a good way to go. Some people really don’t care how the brace looks or feels, and some place great importance on the look of the brace. Other people have had a fixed brace and really don’t want another one….
Here are the things that I think you need to consider before making a choice, they may not be the ones that you may want to consider but we all want the treatment to be successful so it’s best to take as much information on board first:
How crooked are your teeth?
If your teeth are very crowded, we may need to remove teeth to make room to relieve the crookedness and straighten the teeth. Removing teeth is not ideal BUT the alternatives can be a real worry.
Removing teeth means the treatment is going to take around 12-24 months, which is a long time to wear aligners for, so you need to ask yourself is there any chance that you may start to lose your passion for taking aligners in and out, in which case do you really want to be in the middle of treatment and the aligners aren’t being worn for 22 hours a day?
I will almost always recommend fixed braces if your treatment requires the removal of teeth. In this way we can be more certain of the outcome- with fixed braces you are practically guaranteed of a good result.
How likely are you to wear the aligners?
There are two main things to consider about the likelihood of you keeping your aligners in place:
- How busy is your lifestyle? If you are going out a lot, having regular meals or snacks, then is Invisalign for you? They need to be worn for 22 hours a day, so that’s 2 hours a day to eat and clean your teeth….that’s not a lot.
- How easy going are you? Now don’t get upset, it’s just some people are a little flighty and may get distracted from wearing their aligners….if this is the case then aligners are not for you. If you like the tin cans lined up labels facing the front, the cutlery in the right place in drawer and the dishwasher loaded in a certain way then aligners are for you!! 😊
How precise do we need to be?
On many occasions brace treatment is an adjunct to other techniques (the main ones being composite bonding and contouring) whereby we need as close to a perfect level of control to ensure the teeth end up in the right location so we can reshape the teeth and get the best end result. This can be very hard to achieve with Fixed braces where we can move teeth within 0.5mm, or 10-15 degrees.
Invisalign is so precise that it can be integrated into Digital Smile Design, a technique whereby we show you how your smile will look before we start treatment. Once you are happy we can program Invisalign to give us a predictable outcome.
The more minor improvements you are looking for the more we will look to Invisalign.
How long do we have?
The ideal patient from our perspective is someone who comes to us without a time frame, but you may not be in that position.
The normal time sensitive situation is that you are getting married and need your brace treatment finished by a set date and given that fixed braces will take 12-14 months, or 18-24 months if we need to remove teeth, we are often in a situation whereby you will refuse fixed brace treatment.
Thankfully Invisalign is far more flexible:
- Because it is a bespoke system, the aligners are made for you, we can often align teeth in as little as 6 months.
- And if we cannot complete the treatment by the wedding, we can program the system to align the front teeth as a priority, and then finish the treatment once the wedding (and honeymoon) is over.
Who are you asking?
Please remember that us dentists are not perfect and suffer from the same flaws as other human beings so:
- Get several opinions on your teeth. Most dentists are providing remote consultations to go over your options so set up a few and ask them their opinion.
- Ask around- see if any of the people you know have had a brace and with who. See if their teeth were similar to yours in terms of crookedness and take on board what they say.
- Trust your gut- if it doesn’t make sense to you, it probably isn’t right. Dentistry is not hard and can normally be explained quite easily.
I hope this has been of some help. As you would expect we are more than happy to provide an opinion on your smile and offer you advice on what to look for. We don’t aim to treat everyone, but we hope to educate as many people about teeth as possible 😊.
Take care and keep on smiling,