For those who would like to straighten their teeth but are concerned that traditional metal braces will adversely affect their appearance, Clear Braces and Invisalign are both excellent choices, however there are distinct differences between the two. Invisalign braces, while clear, are not the same thing as “Clear Braces,” and use a different method to straighten teeth. There are pros and cons with both.
Both options are much less noticeable than traditional braces and offer a fantastic aesthetic alternative for patients seeking less visible options. Most patients who choose a more discrete type of braces option feel more confident about their orthodontic treatment, especially knowing that people are focusing on their smiles rather than their braces.
Clear Braces straighten teeth in the same way that traditional metal braces do. The difference is that they are clear and much less noticeable. With metal braces, a bracket is applied to each tooth. An elastic ligature (very small rubber band) is placed around each bracket and then a metal wire connects all of the brackets together. The elastic is used to hold the arch wire in place on each bracket. At each orthodontist visit, the cross wire is tightened, or adjusted, which places gentle pressure on the brackets and will slowly move your teeth into the intended position.
The process for clear braces is exactly the same as metal braces except that the materials used are clear. The brackets are made out of porcelain instead of metal and are tinted to match your tooth color. Elastics are clear so that they are barely noticeable, and the arch wire can be white in order to make the braces as inconspicuous as possible. The porcelain brackets can stain slightly over time, however they are designed to be as non-porous as possible. The elastics can yellow, but are switched out with new ones at every orthodontic visit.
With Clear Braces, we can treat even the most challenging cases such as severe overbites, underbites, and even crossbites with high-quality results.
Invisalign is a method of straightening teeth that is completely different from traditional braces. Treatment consists of using clear, plastic aligners that fit perfectly over your teeth and are changed out every few weeks. Each new aligner is designed to move your teeth slightly towards the correct position. Invisalign looks similar to a mouth guard except that the aligner is molded exactly to your teeth. Invisalign braces are removable and should be taken out for eating, drinking, and dental hygiene.
Initially, a digital model of your teeth is made. Align Technology™ makes it possible for us to create an exact digital replica of your teeth. This same technology allows for digital transformation of your teeth into perfect alignment so that you can see the “after” results even before you start treatment. Before providing all of the aligners to you, Dr. Grewal will tweak each aligner to provide exact movement sequences.
The digital treatment plan that Dr. G completes is transferred directly to Invisalign and they create each aligner per his specifications. Once manufactured, they are sent to our office, custom-made for you, and ready to use.
Before you wear your aligners, there is some minor prep work that needs to be done. A series of “attachments,” also called “bumps” are bonded onto some of your teeth so that the aligners have something to grip to. These bumps are made out of a composite material that will match your teeth color.
For a visual of how Invisalign Braces work, please watch this short video:
Pros and Cons for Clear Braces versus Invisalign
- Clear Braces are permanently attached to your teeth until the end of of your treatment plan, however, Invisalign Braces are removable for eating, drinking, and dental hygiene. This means that you have to have discipline to keep your aligners in at least 22 hours out of every day. If you aren’t committed to wearing the aligners for the allotted time each day, your treatment duration will be much longer, and aligners may have to be “refitted” which can add additional costs to your plan. Most teens do better with Clear Braces because they don’t have to remember to put them back in their mouth.
- Because you do remove Invisalign aligners to clean your teeth, dental hygiene is easier than it is with Clear Braces. With Clear Braces, you must be diligent about brushing your teeth and braces in order to prevent plaque and decay from occurring in small, hidden places. Dr. G will show you how to brush and floss your teeth with your new braces so that you don’t develop new cavities.
- Clear Braces, like their metal counterparts, do have some food restrictions associated with them. You will need to avoid biting directly into hard or sticky foods. Pop Corn is a definite no no, along with any other types of food that could potentially break or damage your braces. Invisalign Braces do not have any food restrictions since you remove them before eating.
- For Invisalign, while you have the luxury of no food restrictions, you do have to be diligent and not drink any liquids other than water while you have your aligners in. Otherwise, sugars and acids from drinks can seep under your aligners which create a breeding ground for bacteria to grow.
- Because you will be removing Invisalign when eating/drinking, it can be very easy to accidently throw your aligner away or for it to be discarded. We recommend always placing your Invisalign tray in its designated container to help avoid such mishaps.
- Aligners should also be cleaned throughout the day whenever you take them out. Remember, make sure to always use clean aligners when reinserting to clean teeth.
- Invisalign aligners are less irritating to the inside of the mouth and have an easier adjustment period.
- Invisalign Braces cannot be used to correct some severe cases.
- Invisalign Braces are typically more expensive than Clear Braces.
- Clear Braces require more visits than Invisalign. Your orthodontist will need to see you in person for regular adjustments. With Invisalign, because you are given all of your trays at the beginning of treatment, you don’t have to visit the office as often since YOU are switching out your trays at the designated time. However, you will still be required to come in for periodic office visits so that Dr. G can check your progress.
Love Orthodontics is proud to be able to offer both Clear Braces and Invisalign as options for our patients. We always provide a free consultation for anyone interested in getting braces. Dr. Grewal and our staff are happy to answer all of your questions and discuss which options might be right for you! For your convenience, we have offices in Springfield, Branson, and Carthage.
Call now to schedule an appointment for our FREE CONSULTATION. Call: 417.883.6898
Your free consultation will include needed X-rays and a standard examination so as to adjudicate the best treatment options for you. You will then get a chance to discuss all treatment options and prices and get any questions answered, so that you know exactly what you need to do. We can also work with you on any insurance plan you may have as well as other financing options to work out the best plan of treatment for you.
We will provide you with all of the information necessary to assist you in making an informed decision regarding you or your family’s oral health needs.
And yes, all of this is complementary, done at no charge to you and free of any obligations. Just call us to make an appointment for your FREE CONSULTATION.