Braces vs. Invisalign: Which Option Is Right For Your Smile?

Are you ready to get serious about a straighter smile? You’ve come to the right place! Selden Orthodontics has a wide range of affordable treatment options to choose from, helping you achieve the smile of your dreams. You might be comparing braces vs Invisalign, wondering which option is right for your smile. That’s where we come in to help!

Improving your oral health with orthodontics is a big decision, and an investment of your time and finances. You obviously want to ensure you choose the best treatment for your smile and lifestyle, something Dr. Selden will help you with as he builds a customized treatment plan around your specific needs. 

Our goal is to keep patients fully informed about all their options and provide a rewarding experience from start to finish. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the differences between our two most popular treatments—braces and Invisalign!   

All about traditional braces

There are two types of orthodontic appliances, fixed and removable. Traditional braces are a fixed appliance, which means the brackets are affixed directly to the surface of the teeth using a bonding agent. At Selden Orthodontics, we offer metal, clear, and champagne-colored brackets. Once they are attached to the teeth, they’re tied together by a flexible wire and tiny rubber bands or elastics. Over time, these components work to shift the teeth into the desired positions. 

The most obvious difference between traditional braces and a clear aligner system like Invisalign is that braces won’t be removed until treatment is complete. Braces are incredibly efficient at correcting oral issues that range from mild to complex, and can sometimes be faster at closing gaps and aligning teeth than removable aligners. Occasionally, this may shorten the overall treatment time. 

That being said, there is no “one size fits all” answer for how long braces treatment will last. That’s because every case is different, and every patient responds to treatment in their own way. The average tends to be anywhere from 12-36 months, however. With traditional  braces, you’ll often see signs of improvement in a relatively short period of time. Getting small glimpses of progress throughout your orthodontic journey can be really encouraging! 

Because every case is different, treatment times with braces will always vary from patient to patient, but the average with braces tends to be anywhere from about 18 months to 3 years. Metal braces will often produce some slightly noticeable movement of the misaligned teeth within a relatively short period of time. Even a small improvement in your smile can boost your self-confidence and get you excited about the process!

Like many new things in life, braces can come with a bit of a learning curve. Brushing and flossing around the brackets and wires can be tricky, but it’s important to maintain a good dental hygiene routine as an orthodontic patient.  Fortunately, there are a variety of accessories available to make cleaning easier!  For example, water piks help rinse hard to reach places and orthopicks are great for flossing with braces. 

Traditional braces do come with some food restrictions, since anything that’s crunchy or chewy can damage the brackets and wires. That means avoiding favorites like popcorn, some raw fruits and veggies, and gum throughout the treatment process. This can be a little frustrating, especially in the beginning, but it’s only temporary and worth the wait once the braces come off and that beautiful new smile is revealed! 

Follow-up visits are an important part of any orthodontic journey. Braces patients can expect to see Dr. Selden every 6-8 weeks or so. During these appointments, the bands attached to the brackets will be changed, and the wire may be replaced as well. These visits don’t normally take a lot of time, and while there can be some slight residual soreness after each adjustment, it should only be temporary. 

You should do your best to always keep your scheduled appointments, whatever treatment option you choose! These visits are a crucial part of every treatment plan, and will help to ensure you get the best results in the least amount of time possible.  

Braces Vs. Invisalign: Which Option Is Right For Your Smile?

Information on Invisalign

Invisalign clear aligners are our most popular alternative to braces, and it’s not hard to see why! The custom-made aligners are nearly invisible, removable, and offer an extra measure of freedom that patients love. They’re made from a smooth plastic material that tends to be more comfortable than braces, and don’t irritate the gums or cheeks the way some brackets and wires can. 

Like those in braces, each Invisalign patient will react to treatment in their own way. The average time in aligners tends to be somewhere between 9 and 18 months, although of course it could take more or less time depending on the particular case. With Invisalign, treatment time will also depend on the level of  patient compliance! In order to be effective, the aligners must be worn for at least 20-22 hours every day throughout the course of treatment. Failure to do so can lead to a longer treatment time and less optimal results.

Invisalign aligners are extremely easy to maintain! They’re designed to be removed before eating or drinking anything other than water, so there’s no food restrictions. This also means there’s no problem with food getting stuck in between the brackets and wires, which is a leading cause of bacteria and decay. 

Aligners are also removed before brushing and flossing, making dental hygiene a quicker and much less tedious process. The aligners will need to be cleaned and rinsed out with lukewarm water at the same time, and they should also be soaked in a special solution for a few minutes at least once a day. 

Invisalign patients will also have follow-up visits with Dr. Selden every 10-12 weeks. Although there are no adjustments to be made, patients are in charge of changing their aligner out every 1-2 weeks for the next in the series. This is necessary to keep up with the shifting of the teeth as they begin moving. Skipping appointments or missing scheduled aligner changes can quickly undo any progress you have made in treatment.

Braces Vs. Invisalign: Which Option Is Right For Your Smile?

Find the right fit for your smile with Selden Orthodontics

Traditional braces and Invisalign aligners are both effective methods for straightening your smile and improving oral health! The option that’s right for you will depend on your unique needs, lifestyle, and desired results. If you’re ready to find out what our treatments have to offer, get in touch today to schedule your FREE consultation with Dr. Selden!