Invisalign vs. Braces: Which is right for you?

If you haven’t seen the ads for Invisalign or know someone who has had Invisalign treatment, you will.  Invisalign has been around since the late ’90’s but recently has been growing rapidly in popularity.  Thanks to some technological advancements including improved 3D scanning and materials, the effectiveness of Invisalign has come to rival that of traditional fixed braces.  So with this in mind let’s look at Invisalign vs. braces a little more closely.

Let’s compare the two first by looking at some of the similarities.  They both move teeth by applying a light force to the crown of the tooth.  When this force is in the ideal range and in the right direction the tooth moves through the supporting bone in a process of bone remodeling.  This force is ideally applied continuously, but for both Invisalign and traditional braces the practical reality is that there are limitations to this.

Another similarity is the cost of treatment.  Even though Dunn Orthodontics pays a significantly higher cost for Invisalign vs. braces, the efficiencies of the Invisalign system can allow the professional fee to remain virtually the same.  This is, however, predicated on having a knowledgable and experienced orthodontist providing the Invisalign treatment to take full advantage of the system.

That’s about it for similarities now let’s look at the many differences.  First Invisalign is predominantly a removable system.  While there are some small clear attachments placed on some of the teeth to aid in the effectiveness of the aligner, for the most part when the aligner is removed the teeth are free of any fixed appliances.  This can be a positive in several areas such as ease of brushing and flossing and freedom to eat most types of food.  Of course the downside of a removable appliance system like Invisalign is the need for strict compliance to the wear schedule.  If the aligners are not worn for 22 hours per day the effectiveness declines rapidly and can result in extended treatment times or the need to switch to fixed braces.

Another difference is that Invisalign is a fully customized digital system.  Most traditional braces are in effect an analog system that requires human talent and expertise to produce a great result.  Being analog in nature it can be adapted to many different orthodontic problems and is very well suited for the most complex situations.   On the other hand, Invisalign utilizes computer 3D modeling to simulate the treatment plan and produce all of the necessary tooth movements prior to initiating treatment.  This can be useful and may decrease total treatment time for the right patients.

There are many other technical considerations beyond the scope of this article.  Ultimately because every patient is unique, the best way to determine what system would work best for you is the schedule an appointment at Dunn Orthodontics for a free consultation.  By making a thorough assessment of your particular orthodontic problem and discussing your individual needs and wants, Dr. Dunn can recommend what he believes is the best system for you.