Should you get Invisalign or braces? With all the information out there, you may be confused on whether to choose clear aligners (like Invisalign) or braces. You may find this article useful if you are someone who:
- Is brand new to orthodontic treatment & just looking for more information.
- Is deciding which way to go after a consultation.
- Wants Invisalign but don’t think you are a candidate.
- Wants Invisalign but were told in the past you are not a candidate.
- Had braces before, teeth have shifted, and wants Invisalign.
If you haven’t already, schedule a consultation with an orthodontist to determine if your teeth are healthy enough for braces or Invisalign. Make sure you have had your routine dental checkup & cleaning with your regular dentist, so that your teeth are healthy and ready to start treatment soon. Sometimes you may qualify for only aligners, only braces, or both.
Here are the top 6 considerations for Invisalign vs. Braces
1. Dietary restrictions –
As a general rule, there are more food restrictions for braces than aligners.
- Braces – you cannot eat anything that is sticky/chewy or hard. Learn more here. If you have any specific food question, ask your orthodontist.
- Aligners – You can eat anything you’d like while your aligners are out. However, you must wear your aligners a minimum of 21 hours/day. This means that snacking is a no-no! However, you can still wear aligners and drink liquids without sugar. To learn more about aligner instructions, click here.
The only time you take out your aligners is when eating and brushing. Can you handle wearing aligners 21 hours a day for the duration of your treatment? Limited treatment can range from 3-9 months, whereas comprehensive treatment can range from 9 months to 3 years. This means you will have to remember to wear your aligners all the time. If you feel that you or your child will forget and/or lose aligners, braces may be a better option.
3. Do you like to snack?
- Braces – Snacking is OK! Braces are glued to your teeth and are always working, so you do not have to worry about forgetting to put something back in your mouth.
- Aligners – No snacking! You have 3 hours to eat per day. When your aligners are not in your mouth, they are moving backwards. The more you leave aligners out of your mouth, the longer your treatment will take.
4. Is it hard for you to attend appointments?
- If you live far from your orthodontic office and it is difficult to attend appointments, or your work/school schedule is so packed that you are not able to come to appointments frequently, aligners may be a better option. Visits to the orthodontist for braces vary between 4-10 weeks apart, whereas aligner visits typically range from 2-4 months apart.
- Emergency appointments are also more likely with braces. You may have heard of, or experienced yourself, poky wires & broken brackets that are uncomfortable until you are able to go back to get them fixed. With aligners, nothing will poke you in the lip or cheek for the duration of treatment.
Perhaps you are an adult who does not want to look like a teenager again, or you are a teenager who doesn’t like the look of braces. Aligners can be a good option to achieve your teeth-straightening goals without looking too apparent. If you are not a candidate for aligners, or you do not want to deal with having to remember to put aligners in your mouth, esthetic braces may also be an option. Talk to your orthodontist to figure out the best path for you.
6. Do you have a moderate or severe grinding and/or clenching habit?
In some cases, it may be better to have aligner treatment, since the aligners cover the biting surfaces of your teeth. This will protect your teeth from further damage caused by grinding or clenching and can relieve pressure on your jaw joint.