Braces vs Invisalign: What to Choose?

Invisalign provides an alternative to metal braces for orthodontic treatments. Although Invisalign was one of the first products available, today several such clear aligners or clear braces for orthodontic treatments are available. Here we compare Invisalign and dental braces.

Key takeaways:
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    Metal dental braces can harm appearance and self-confidence.
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    Invisalign or clear aligners provide an effective alternative to metal braces.
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    Patients using clear aligners report better quality of life and treatment outcomes when compared to patients with metal braces.
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    Highly crooked teeth may require metal braces. Talk to your dentist about options right for you.

What is Invisalign?

Compared to the usual metal braces, Invisalign takes an innovative approach to teeth straightening. Invisalign is an orthodontic treatment using a clear material that can be used by children, adolescents, and adults. It is used to correct conditions such as overbite, underbite, gaps, etc.

Metal braces are not aesthetically pleasing and can reduce the user's confidence level. Invisalign is developed from a clear material to provide a perfect smile during orthodontic treatment. In addition to having an aesthetic advantage, Invisalign is more convenient to remove when you eat or drink. It will also make it easier to carry out routine oral care and hygiene.

How does Invisalign treatment work?

Since its introduction by AlignTechnology in the late 1990s, Invisalign has been widely prescribed by dentists as an orthodontic treatment. The aligner is manufactured from scanned prints based on 3D virtual models. It’s recommended that patients use Invisalign for at least 20 hours per day so the aligners used can effectively shift the teeth by 0.25 to 0.3 mm.

Invisalign fitting is done in three steps. First, a dentist will use the iTero Element scanner to obtain a 3D digital image of the teeth. This scan is performed precisely and quickly. It is used to map orthodontic treatment outcomes using Invisalign. Second, the dentist will generate a custom aligner with a clear color. The shape of this custom aligner adapts to the structure of your teeth based on the 3D scan.

After the patient starts using aligners, dental examinations are carried out every few weeks to observe the progress of therapy. The duration of Invisalign treatment depends on the condition of the teeth and may vary based on the expected therapeutic outcome.

Invisalign treatment generally ends within six months. Finally, Vivera retainers are used to provide long-lasting treatment results. This retainer has greater strength than conventional retainers. It ensures that the perfect smile will continue to last after completing the Invisalign treatment.

Is there any scientific evidence for braces?

The scientific evidence to determine if Invisalign could significantly outperform conventional dental braces is clear. A cross-sectional study showed that the gingival health condition of patients using Invisalign was significantly better than that of patients using braces. The amount of dental plaque was lower in patients with Invisalign. Moreover, patient satisfaction and oral hygiene are also better based on the ease of putting on and taking off the aligners.

In another prospective longitudinal cohort study, results indicated that subjects with Invisalign aligners have a better quality of life than subjects wearing conventional braces. Additionally, the study said there were fewer reports of pain and adverse events in subjects with Invisalign in the first week of use.

A prospective follow-up study conducted in 2020 reported an increase in the efficacy of Invisalign in moving teeth. The results showed an improved movement accuracy of around 55% while previous studies had reported movement accuracy of about 47%. In particular, the latest version of Invisalign produced an accuracy of buccal-lingual crown movement of more than 55%, distal rotation of the maxillary canines of about 37%, and accuracy of mesial rotation of mandibular molars of about 28%.

A systematic review assessed the clinical effectiveness of Invisalign as an orthodontic treatment. Invisalign is a good alternative to dental braces. Invisalign can treat minor, non-extracting teeth problems.

Teeth may require other treatment

However, Invisalign requires a longer treatment time than conventional braces in cases of more complex teeth. In some cases, the use of additional attachments that can support the correcting and controlling rotational motion of the premolars and extrusion of the maxillary teeth may be necessary.

Invisalign has limitations in some teeth inclinations and occlusal contacts. Furthermore, Invisalign is no better than conventional braces in treating severe curvature in children and adolescents. Highly crooked teeth require greater force to move the teeth into a normal position.

Teeth whitening and other options

Invisalign can also be helpful in teeth whitening. If a person is currently not under Invisalign treatment but wants to use Invisalign for teeth whitening, then the dentist can provide whitening trays. Most dental insurance companies cover the cost of Invisalign treatments. But check with your company before you begin the treatment.

Several other clear braces options are available: Byte, Candid, Clear Correct, and SureSmile are other companies that provide clear braces as orthodontic treatments.

As the scope of this article is limited to Invisalign, scientific evidence for these products is not included. Each of these products has a different process, payment plan, and treatment and monitoring plan.

Patients considering orthodontic treatments should talk with their dentist to determine which option is best for them.

Invisalign offers various advantages in orthodontic treatment, especially in terms of aesthetics and ease of use. However, Invisalign cannot treat not all dental abnormalities. Always consult with your dentist to discuss the best orthodontic treatment options for you.