Invisalign Aligners Compared to Braces

When you have problems with your bite or when you need your teeth to be straightened, you have two basic options. You may choose from traditional metal braces or Invisalign aligners. Although a dental consultation is required to help determine which option is best for your needs, it is important to be informed about your choices in case you are a good candidate for either option.

Although metal braces may still be the best choice for some patients, this author believes that Invisalign aligners are superior to braces for many reasons. The primary reason many patients prefer Invisalign aligners is because they are transparent and virtually invisible. Metal braces stand out and give the patient the characteristic shiny, metallic smile. While pre-teens and younger teens may look adorable with braces, it is not as flattering for an older teen or for an adult. These patients prefer Invisalign for its natural look.


In addition to being transparent, Invisalign aligners can be removed. This is a significant advantage for many patients. The aligners can be removed for eating, which allows patients to continue to enjoy their favorite foods that can be difficult to enjoy with metal braces, such as barbecue spare ribs or corn. In addition, because the aligners are removable, oral care becomes easier. There are no wires or metal brackets that get in the way when brushing or flossing, and the aligners themselves can be cleaned by gently brushing them with non-abrasive toothpaste.

Finally, in some cases, Invisalign aligners are more effective than traditional braces. Patients wearing metal braces can typically expect a treatment time of two to three years before their teeth are shifted into their final position. In many cases, the Invisalign aligners move teeth more efficiently and quickly. Some patients wear the aligners for as little as one year before they can begin enjoying their new smile.

Despite their numerous advantages, Invisalign aligners are not for everyone. Younger children and some less responsible pre-teens and teens may be more likely to lose or break the aligners. Metal braces, on the other hand, cannot be lost and are more difficult to damage. The Invisalign program does provide some allowances for this, by allowing teens and pre-teens a certain amount of replacement aligners. However, many parents prefer to avoid this problem altogether and opt for metal braces instead.

In addition, certain tooth alignment problems cannot be fixed by the Invisalign system. Teeth that are severely crowded may require the help of metal braces to draw the teeth into their correct positions. In addition, certain problems with the bite alignment are better served by metal braces than by Invisalign aligners.

A dentist can evaluate your specific case and help determine which option would be more efficient and effective with shifting your teeth and correcting problems with your bite. In many cases, the patient can choose from either option. However, only a dental professional can make the final recommendation. Beware of any dentist who promises to fit your for aligners without first examining your teeth and bite to determine if you are a good candidate.

Note – To find out more about the Invisalign system, or to schedule your consultation, call your Northridge Invisalign provider for an appointment. He or she will be glad to examine your teeth and to explain your options as well as discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each option for your particular case.

Jeff Karen

Jeff Karen practices as a cosmetic dentist in Northridge and strives to provide vital information about oral health and its effect on overall health.

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