You may stick to your daily brushing and flossing routines throughout childhood and life as a young adult, but you can still end up with alignment issues or gaps between your teeth once your teeth settle into their permanent positions. While children and tweens often require the specific benefits provided by traditional braces, Invisalign is often a better option for older teens and young adults. Decide between braces and Invisalign only after understanding the pros and cons of the modern treatment. Keep reading for the Invisalign pros and cons.
Does Invisalign Work Faster than Braces?
In most cases, using a set of custom fitted Invisalign retainers will result in faster alignment improvements than you can get from traditional metal or clear braces. However, there is a caveat to this benefit. Invisalign treatments are somewhat more limited in how much adjustment is possible, while traditional braces can do a surprising amount of alignment changes over the course of three to five years. If you only want straighter teeth or a little less crowding among your pre-molars, Invisalign is the faster option if you’re concerned about how long you’ll need to deal with the mild discomfort of reshaping your bite pattern, which is less uncomfortable than the discomfort of traditional braces.
How Long Does Invisalign Take?
Traditional braces may need to remain in place for up to five years, and take a bare minimum of two years to achieve even basic improvements. In contrast, Invisalign makes subtle improvements to your smile within the first six months of treatment. For complete re-alignment, you can often complete treatment within 18 months to two years. A shorter treatment time allows you to get a straighter smile before a big event like a wedding or a career change. The shorter timeframe is also helpful if you’re concerned about living with a few dietary restrictions and some extra oral hygiene chores for longer than a couple of years.
What Does Invisalign Look Like?
One of the main reasons older patients choose Invisalign is because it’s hard to tell you’re wearing the nearly invisible treatment trays. They can be removed when you’re eating or brushing your teeth, allowing you to remove food residue without having to fight with your braces or deal with specialty picks and brushes. You can take your treatment devices off for up to six hours a day if your dentist approves it, giving you a break from the slight pressure required to reshape your smile.
Not all Invisalign treatments are as removable as you might think. When advanced alignment changes are needed, the treatment retainers are attached to a few of the teeth with a non-permanent oral cement. You may also find that the trays are less than invisible if you wear them while drinking dark sodas, coffee, wine, and other staining drinks. Additionally, some people prefer not to take a retainer out and clean it before re-inserting it every time they want to enjoy food or drink. Braces come with more restrictions on what you can eat while wearing them, but they stay in place while you eat and don’t require the extra effort for removal and replacement.