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Invisalign vs. Braces: What’s the Best Option for My Smile

If you recently learned you’re a candidate for orthodontics, you probably have a lot of questions about your treatment options. Do braces work faster? Is Invisalign worth it? What are the pros and cons of Invisalign vs. braces? How much does Invisalign cost? Well, we’re here to help! When you come in for a consultation, Dr. James Scramstad and the Align Ortho team will give you all of the information you need so you can make a confident decision. While we can get great results regardless of whether you choose braces or Invisalign, when you’re comfortable with your treatment, it can make a big difference. 

Understanding the Different Types of Braces

Braces are made up of a system of brackets and wires. The brackets are bonded to your teeth and then we thread the archwires through them. The wires act as a track to guide your teeth into place. Your braces apply gentle but steady pressure to your teeth, which causes them to shift into their ideal positions.

At Align Ortho, we use traditional metal braces and clear ceramic braces. Metal braces are probably what you think of when you hear the term “braces.” They’re still around today because they’re super effective. Yet, the modern version Dr. Scramstad uses consists of smaller, more streamlined brackets and thin, shape-memory wires. This means, they’re more comfortable and better looking than ever before.

Clear braces are made of translucent ceramic. They still rely on the same system of brackets and wires as metal braces do. However, people sometimes refer to clear braces as invisible braces because they blend in with your smile and they’re less noticeable than their metal counterparts. Back when clear braces first hit the market, they were less durable and susceptible to staining. The newer types we use are stronger and resist staining, so patients of all ages can wear them.

Breaking Down Invisalign

Invisalign involves a series of clear, removable, BPA-free plastic aligners. The aligners fit over the teeth kind of like a see-through, comfortable mouthguard and they exert pressure that causes the teeth to move. When you have them in, most people won’t even be able to tell you’re wearing them.

The Invisalign procedure kicks off with an Align Ortho team member scanning your teeth and gums using our iTero digital scanner. A 3D model of your mouth is then created based on the scans. Dr. Scramstad maps out your tooth movements directly on the model. As an experienced Invisalign dentist, he’s able to design a smile that complements your facial features and improves your oral health. Once the treatment plan is complete, Invisalign prints out the aligners based on Dr. Scramstad’s prescription. Each set of aligners has specific movements programmed into them so as you make your way through the series, your teeth move bit by bit into place.

Should I Get Invisalign or Braces?

For a while, people with moderate to severe orthodontic issues couldn’t be treated with Invisalign and they almost always had to opt for braces. That’s not always the case anymore. Dr. Scramstad has a lot of experience as an Invisalign dentist and there have been upgrades in the material the aligners are made with, so he can treat a wide variety of cases with clear aligners. For many people, when it comes to the effectiveness of Invisalign vs. braces, they’re about equal. Now, deciding between the two really boils down to your preferences and lifestyle. Let’s do a point-by-point comparison:

  • Aesthetics – The major point when deliberating between braces or Invisalign is aesthetics and visibility. Metal braces are very visible, though many of our younger patients like this fact and love getting the opportunity to choose colourful elastics. However, a lot of adult patients and some teen patients prefer an under-the-radar treatment option like clear braces, Invisalign or Invisalign Teen. Clear braces are less noticeable than metal ones but they do still have brackets and wires that are affixed to the teeth, so they’re not as inconspicuous as Invisalign. 
  • Removable vs. Fixed – Clear aligners are removable, which, depending on your needs, could be seen as one of the advantages or disadvantages of Invisalign. For many people this is a huge plus but for patients who would have a hard time keeping track of their aligners or remembering to put them back in after eating, this can be a negative. Braces are fixed orthodontic appliances, meaning they stay in place throughout your entire treatment. Again, it depends on your perspective of whether that’s a pro or a con.
  • Comfort – Both braces and Invisalign will be a little bit uncomfortable when you first begin treatment and following adjustments or popping in a new set of aligners. The sensitivity is easily managed. Once you get used to braces or Invisalign, you’ll barely notice you have the brackets or aligners in your mouth anymore. That being said, Invisalign is made from a smooth, plastic material, so there’s no poking from wires or brackets and you don’t have to worry when playing sports or an instrument.
  • Hygiene – Since you take your aligners out to brush and floss, oral hygiene is a breeze with Invisalign. Both clear braces and metal braces require some extra care. Brushing and flossing is slightly more challenging when you have braces. However, that doesn’t mean you’re off the hook if you choose Invisalign. Your teeth need to be clean before you put in your aligners. If you drink soda or sports drinks or anything aside from water with your aligners in your mouth, the fluid will get trapped between your aligners and your teeth, potentially leading to tooth decay and staining. That’s why you’ll take out the aligners before eating and drinking.
  • Food – Diet is another thing to consider when choosing braces or Invisalign. There are food restrictions with metal braces and clear braces. You’ll have to stay away from really hard, sticky and chewy foods, as well as foods you bite directly into such as corn on the cob (you can take it off the cob though). Things like toffee, caramel and popcorn will have to wait until you’re done treatment. This small sacrifice is well worth the results though. Invisalign, on the other hand, has no food restrictions and you can eat whatever you want since you’ll take the aligners out before meals and snacks. You will have to keep your aligners safe in their case while you’re eating and drinking and remember to put them back in afterwards.

Now that you’re well-versed on the different types of orthodontic treatment, if you’re interested in Kelowna Invisalign or braces treatment, schedule a visit at Align Ortho today! We’ll help you decide on Invisalign vs. braces so that you make the best choice for your smile, lifestyle and needs. 

Dr. James Scramstad

Author Dr. James Scramstad

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