Should I Get Clear Aligners or Braces?

At one point in time, there were very limited options for orthodontic treatment. Today, there are a couple of routes to choose from, and Innovative Orthodontics will step in to try and help you answer this question: Should I get clear aligners or braces?

Which is Which?

We’re going to break them down much further, but here are the basic descriptions of traditional braces and clear aligners:

  • Traditional braces consist of multiple parts, which work together to straighten teeth over time by being periodically adjusted. The brackets can be metal or ceramic.
  • Clear aligners like Invisalign are worn in trays that slowly move teeth, with each set being subtly different. 

Should I Get Clear Aligners or Braces?

Comparing and Contrasting

The choice comes down to you, in collaboration with Dr. Waters or Dr. Clayton. Many variables and factors will be considered regarding your individual case. These are some of the main comparisons you may discuss:

  • Comfort:
    • Invisalign: These plastic trays are custom-made to fit snugly over teeth and have smooth edges, which can reduce the likelihood of irritation to the gums and cheeks. Therefore, they’re usually a bit more comfortable than traditional braces.
    • Braces: Traditional braces can cause some discomfort initially and irritate the soft tissues of the mouth. Patients can experience some soreness after adjustments or when wires or brackets rub against the cheeks or lips. 
  • Maintenance:
    • Invisalign: Clear aligners are removable, allowing for easy cleaning of both the aligners and the teeth. Patients can brush and floss normally without any obstructions.
    • Braces: Since braces are fixed onto the teeth, they require special tools for cleaning, such as interdental brushes, floss threaders, and water flossers. Food particles can get trapped around wires and brackets, which can increase the risk of plaque buildup and tooth decay.
  • Treatment Duration:
    • Invisalign: Treatment duration with clear aligners varies depending on the complexity of the case and the patient’s compliance with wearing your aligners as instructed. On average, treatment may take 12 to 18 months.
    • Braces: Duration will also vary dramatically with braces. More severe orthodontic issues will warrant more time. This can range anywhere from 18 months to 3 years. 
  • Effectiveness:
    • Invisalign: Clear aligners are effective for treating mild to moderate orthodontic issues, including crooked teeth, gaps to teeth, and minor bite problems. They may not be suitable for complex cases or severe malocclusions. 
    • Braces: Braces can address a much wider range of orthodontic problems, including severe misalignment, overcrowding, overbites, crossbites, and underbites. Their components provide precise control over tooth movement and are often recommended for complex cases.
  • Adjustments:
    • Invisalign: Treatment will involve changing to a new set of aligners every one to two weeks, with each new set working to shift your teeth. These adjustments are made at home as you receive your new sets, though you’ll likely also visit our office for progress checks. 
    • Braces: Our team adjusts these appliances in-office, typically every four to six weeks. During these appointments, the wires may be tightened or changed, and adjustments may be made to the brackets.
  • Dietary Restrictions:
    • Invisalign: There are no real dietary restrictions with clear aligners since they are removable. We still advise staying away from excess sugar for your general oral health, but for the most part, you can eat all of your favorite foods without worrying about damaging the aligners.
    • Braces: Patients with braces are usually advised to avoid hard, sticky, or chewy foods because they can damage wires and brackets. Certain foods like nuts, popcorn, and hard candies should probably be excluded entirely or eaten with extreme caution.
  • Speech:
    • Invisalign: Some patients can experience temporary changes in speech patterns when first wearing clear aligners due to the presence of plastic trays. However, most people adjust quickly, and speech impediments resolve in a number of days.
    • Braces: Speech can be affected initially with braces, particularly with certain sounds that involve the tongue and teeth. With practice, patients are able to adapt and regain normal speech patterns over time.
  • Cost
    • Invisalign: Generally speaking, the cost of clear aligners is higher. It will depend on factors such as the complexity of the case, duration of treatment, and specific brand of aligners. 
    • Braces: Braces are seen as a more economical option for a lot of people, especially metal ones. But again, the cost will be based on the severity of the condition, length of treatment, and additional procedures that might be required.

Should I Get Clear Aligners or Braces?

The Best of Both Worlds

As you can see, there are definite advantages to both of these options. We hope this has offered some clarity if you’re in the process of trying to choose a course of treatment. We have three incredible offices: Savannah (912-800-0294), Rincon (912-800-0267), and Pooler (912-800-0541).