There are a few reasons why people find themselves considering the benefits of Invisalign over braces. For some, it’s purely cosmetic, which means that they may have a minimal reason for doing so. Like a misaligned tooth or a gap between teeth.
For others, it can be far more challenging like misaligned jaws and an underbite, a class 3 malocclusion, called prognathism. Or an overbite, a class 2 malocclusion, called retrognathism. Whatever the reason for the choice, more and more people are deciding to opt for Invisalign without first understanding the reasons why you can or cannot have it.
Before we discuss why a patient can or can’t have Invisalign, you have to understand that the clear Invisalign retainer doesn’t have the power traditional orthodontic braces do. As with all medical treatments, often a combination may often work better. Therefore, you sometimes have Invisalign on its own, Invisalign and orthodontic braces or you may simply have to have braces. A quick examination and a scan at your dentists will let you know your options.
Unfortunately, the shape of your teeth plays a significant part in your ability to wear a clear retainer. Some of us have short teeth, round teeth, pegged teeth or teeth with severe tips. Teeth like these can be an obstacle in allowing the retainer to get a proper grip and prevent the aligner from realigning the teeth properly.
Some of us have “crowded mouth”. When this occurs, teeth often rotate to fit. If the rotation is in your molars and the rotation is more than 20 degrees, what Invisalign offers is unable to remedy that situation.
Teeth can often tilt forward or backwards in the mouth. This can be an effect of a crowded mouth. If the tilt is over 45 degrees, either way, Invisalign will not fix that situation.
A lot of people wrongly assume that Invisalign cures all teeth gap issues, but you would be wrong on that assumption. If the gap between your teeth is larger than 6mm the aligner will not suitably close that space.
Your dentist may have shown you an image where the face has a line drawn through the middle of it. The line runs from the top of the head to the chin. This is called the midline.
Dentists use this to see if the line between your front teeth sits centre of your face. If the line is off to the left or right of this line by more than 2mm, Invisalign will not remedy the situation. Orthodontic braces are your only option.
Previous dental treatments may prevent you from using Invisalign. For example, a dental bridge will certainly stop that happening. Also, veneers or crowns often prevent the attachments from bonding with their surface.
Now that we have discussed when the clear aligner doesn’t work, let’s look at when it does. For me, the most obvious benefits are not having metal glued to your teeth and that you can still eat whatever you want.
Unlike fixed metal braces, you can remove your aligners to eat. As your clear aligners only need to be worn around 20-22 hours per day, taking them out to eat and brush your teeth is expected.
Another benefit of having clear aligners in addition to brushing is that you can also floss. There is no impeding of full dental care with Invisalign.
Unlike traditional braces, the Invisalign system requires far fewer visits to the dentist. As your aligners are built from a 3D scan of your teeth in a lab, most visits are just for intermittent checkups. You just change your aligners as your orthodontist advises.
Whilst your clear retainer can still cause discomfort and pain, unlike traditional metal braces, they won’t cut the inside of your mouth. You also won’t need salt water mouthwashes on a regular basis or the pain tightening of braces causes and sensitivity on the teeth.
In truth, traditional orthodontic braces can do everything Invisalign can and more. They may be an aged solution and technology is always out to improve, which Invisalign does. So let’s not confuse that.
With braces, you can treat all dental and facial issues. Even if you have multiple different issues with your teeth, braces can treat each one individually. Braces use brackets and wires to pull the teeth in the required direction for the greatest response. The end result is going to be a great smile.
Yes, it’s true, braces can give you a better result than Invisalign can as you can move each tooth individually and fractions of millimetres count. Braces also have more force than the Invisalign aligner to move crooked teeth into the desired position.
Braces aren’t lagging behind in terms of development. Whilst Invisalign has taken the plastic route, braces have also developed beyond metal. There are now lingual and ceramic options so don’t assume metal is your only choice.
The main drawback for most people is that traditional metal braces are considered unsightly and attract unwanted attention and comments. Outside of the aesthetics, they are often the best solution for straightening your teeth.
So what are the drawbacks if perfect results are possible?
When you wear wire dental braces, you have to be really careful what you eat as to not break the wire. Hard or sticky foods shouldn’t be consumed as they can break the wire and brackets from the tooth. If this happens, your braces won’t be working until the issue is resolved.
Another downside is that traditional braces require more visits to the orthodontist to check up and maintain progress. Expect visits every 4-6 weeks for checkups and adjustments. Invisalign patients visit every few months for checkups as their aligners are premade.
If I’m honest, the differences between the two are minimal and if you are a private dental client the biggest difference is choice. Invisalign can be more convenient than traditional orthodontic braces in terms of consultations, but it is more expensive for that convenience.
Dental braces can achieve better results but take longer to achieve those special results. Ultimately the decision isn’t always yours but when it is, think about cost, time and results. And always discuss this with your dentist or orthodontist.
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