There’s much more to Invisalign treatment than its invisible braces look. Comfort is another crucial factor when it comes to orthodontics.
One of the most frequently asked questions we get asked by our orthodontic patients at Smiling Dental is if Invisalign treatment* hurts. Our dental staff have a lot of experience with Invisalign, both as professionals and as patients ourselves. Some of us have even had both traditional braces and clear aligners and can compare the two directly. On the whole, we can say with certainty that clear aligners are much more comfortable to wear than bracket braces for multiple reasons.
First, let’s look at how each of these orthodontic treatments work. Traditional braces tend to move all of the teeth at once, meaning more force and pressure are being put on each of them simultaneously. Clear aligners, however, tend to focus on a single area of the mouth at once. This focus changes with each new tray, which will be every one to two weeks. There will still be pressure on these certain spots, creating some slight sensitivity in those areas. But on the whole, the experience will be much more comfortable than dental braces.
Second, Invisalign patients don’t have to deal with the frustration and discomfort that comes with braces. Brackets can be bulky and painful to wear, especially during the first week of treatment. Cheeks can become irritated and develop sores from constant rubbing, especially when talking or eating. Some patients even find that their brackets and wires cut into their inner cheeks and lips. While dental wax can do a lot to cut down the pain, they can’t make it go away entirely until your mouth becomes used to them.
Instead, clear aligners are made to fit your smile perfectly. We take 3D scans of your teeth to ensure your set of trays slide on without any issue. The tray’s smooth plastic doesn’t irritate the gums or cheeks, and it takes much less time for your mouth to acclimate to them. While braces often take a month for patients to start getting used to them. It may take as many as six months for many patients before they don’t notice their braces at all. Clear aligners only take two weeks before patients find them completely comfortable and natural to wear.
Lastly, Invisalign trays are switched for the next in the series every one or two weeks. This puts a consistent but gentler pressure than braces on the teeth our dentists are focusing on. Patients with braces have to see their dentist to tighten their alignment once each month or two. All that extra pressure applied to each tooth can lead to an especially painful week after your appointment.
Are Clear Aligners Better Than Braces?
Is comfort the only advantage that Invisalign has over braces? Not at all! Clear aligners have changed the game for how orthodontic treatments work, revolutionizing our patients’ entire experience.
Invisalign takes its status as “cosmetic dentistry” seriously, and you can tell in its design. By using clear plastic aligning trays rather than metal brackets and wiring, Invisalign is an almost completely invisible braces alternative. This can be a massive game-changer for some of our adult patients as the colorful and shiny look of traditional braces seems too embarrassing or obtrusive. Invisalign trays are so discreet that some of our dental staff had other dentists fail to notice when they were wearing them! They were shocked to find out that they had their trays in, but no one had known.
Even clear braces, which use translucent or tooth-colored ceramic brackets rather than metal, don’t give you such an unnoticeable look. While ceramic braces may blend in better, the thinner metal wires can still be seen, and the bulk and shape of the brackets can still be visible.
Unlike braces, clear aligners are completely removable, and they only need to be worn a total of 22 hours each day to be effective. You can take them out during meals or when brushing and flossing your teeth. You can also leave them out for special occasions without having to worry about pausing your treatment.
While orthodontics relies on near-constant pressure and force to help you achieve straight teeth, it’s not the end of the world if you don’t wear them for the full recommended amount each day. Your treatment time will be delayed, and you may experience some additional discomfort as your teeth will try to move back to their original positions. For this reason, we recommend that only younger patients* who parents trust to be responsible with their aligner trays get Invisalign. A common problem with Invisalign is children forgetting to wear their trays or losing them, especially after taking them out for meals.
No Dietary Restrictions
With braces, you need to be careful with the foods you eat and how you eat them. Otherwise, you risk damaging your wires or popping a bracket or two clean off your teeth. As aligner trays are removable, you don’t have to worry about making your diet braces-friendly. You can be free to eat hard, sticky, and chewy foods, and you don’t have to worry about cutting up foods like corn on the cob, carrots, and burgers into smaller pieces.
However, be sure to rinse or brush your trays after every meal before putting them back in to prevent any plaque and bacteria from building up. We don’t want you to potentially develop any cavities. Please use cold or lukewarm water while cleaning your trays as heat can warp your trays and make them challenging to wear and use properly.
For many patients, their braces require them to see their orthodontist for an exam and tightening every four weeks. However, you don’t have to come as often if you have clear aligners. Your orthodontist will prepare you with multiple trays at a time, allowing you to make steady adjustments to your smile periodically on your own. These trays can usually last you for six weeks before you need to come in and see us again.
For all but the most severe cases, Invisalign is much quicker than bracket braces. While braces apply equal force on all teeth individually, clear aligners tackle sections of your smile. This change can shave months or even years off of treatment time. Compared to braces’ 18 months to 3 years, Invisalign only lasts an average of 8 to 18 months. In some minor cases, treatment takes as little as 6. From there, both treatments require at least a year with a retainer* to ensure your results last a lifetime.
Many of our patients ask us, “Is Invisalign worth the money?” And time and again, we tell them absolutely. Besides the benefits of straight teeth like better dental health, boosted confidence, and improved speech and eating, your Invisalign cost is well worth it. Clear aligners have become more popular and more effective than ever before. Over the years, their price has lowered into a similar range to metal and ceramic braces to reflect this.
Do Aligners Work As Good As Braces?
While comfort, convenience, and aesthetics are unique advantages Invisalign has over braces, some patients wonder if it’s enough. After all, modern braces have been around for over 200 years, and they’ve been proven effective. Without centuries in the dental world, these patients worry that their Invisalign before and after won’t be as impressive or effective. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. Just like dental braces, Invisalign can correct:
- Crooked teeth
- Gaps between teeth
- Open bite
However, while Invisalign is excellent with most slight to moderate issues, there are times braces may be needed. Due to how aligning trays work, certain orthodontic cases can’t be as fully addressed with Invisalign. A dentist recommend braces rather than aligners when:
- The orthodontic issues are too severe
- Teeth need to be moved vertically
- Previous dental work like crowns and bridges may get in the way
- Tooth shape makes it difficult for aligners to move teeth
- Teeth need to rotated
For most of our patients, the answer to the Invisalign vs braces dilemma isn’t even a question. As long as Invisalign can correct their specific orthodontic problems, the right choice seems obvious. If you’d like to schedule an orthodontic consultation, please contact our Ancaster office at (NUMBER) today. We’re excited to help you enjoy all that straight teeth have to offer!
*link to https://www.colgate.com/en-us/oral-health/cosmetic-dentistry/adult-orthodontics/retainers-for-teeth-why-wear-them-and-how-to-keep-them-safe-1014