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Invisalign – Better than Metal Braces?
Which is better: metal braces or Invisalign®? If orthodontic treatment is necessary to align your teeth or correct a bite issue, you may be asking this question. Many people, professionals and consumers alike, tout the benefits of the clear aligners, but at the end of the day, is the traditional method of aligning teeth better than the revolutionary way?
Comparing straightening options
When comparing the traditional braces with the revolutionary clear aligners, many patients ultimately make the decision based on the pros and cons of each. Which system is more effective? Are there drawbacks to either?
Invisalign® pros and cons
Invisalign® is a revolutionary technology that involves fitting a patient's teeth with snuggly fit custom-made trays that move the teeth ever so slightly over time. The trays, which are computer-generated and made in a dental lab, are designed to hug the teeth tightly upon initial wear. The patient wears each set of aligners for 24 hours a day, seven days a week for two weeks straight. At that point, the aligners should be loose, and the patient needs to swap the old out for a new custom-made set.
Invisalign® comes with a couple of key benefits, the biggest of which is the discreetness. Because the aligners are clear, patients can wear the trays to work, out to dinner or to school without anyone guessing they are undergoing treatment. Despite what one might think, the trays do not affect one's speech.
Another benefit is that patients can remove the aligners. This ensures patients can eat or drink in comfort. It also helps preserve patients' overall oral health, as, unlike with metal braces, food does not get stuck beneath the plastic and therefore perpetuate the growth of plaque. At the end of the day, patients can remove the aligners to thoroughly brush and floss and to give the trays a good scrubbing as well.
The one major downfall of Invisalign® is that it does not work well for more complex cases. The system is great for correcting slight misalignments, but those who have extensive bite issues may still prefer metal braces.
Metal braces pros and cons
Traditional metal braces, which utilize wires and brackets affixed to the patient's teeth to encourage movement, still have their place in the world of dentistry. Though many patients prefer Invisalign® because of the comfort and discreetness, the system is not recommended for everyone. A dental professional may still recommend braces if a patient's alignment or bite issues are complex, or if the patient has wide gaps between the teeth.
Even if a patient's case is not complex, a dentist may still recommend traditional metal braces. Traditional braces often work quicker to align teeth, as the patient cannot remove them throughout the course of treatment. The wires are also stronger than the plastic of which the clear aligners are made.
That said, metal braces are bulky, uncomfortable and not exactly aesthetically pleasing. For these reasons, many patients opt for the more advanced option if it is available and feasible.
Both traditional braces and Invisalign® have their merits. Discuss straightening options and concerns with a dentist today.
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