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Braces vs Invisalign: Which is the Best Choice?

People need orthodontic care for a variety of reasons. They may want to straighten teeth for a better smile, correct an overbite, alleviate overcrowded teeth or fix jaw disorders. Thankfully there are multiple options to achieve these goals, including two of the most common — braces and Invisalign. But which one is right for you?

What are Braces and Invisalign?

Braces have been around for a long time and most people are familiar with them. With braces, brackets are bonded to the tooth surface and wires are used to apply forces to align the teeth. Elastics, or rubberbands, assist the process by correcting the bite. They can be very effective in a variety of cases, including those that are very complex.

The length of treatment with braces is typically 1-3 years depending on the severity of the issues being addressed — most treatments are on the low end of that range, especially kids and teens. Dr. Kendra Pratt and her staff will inspect and adjust the braces every 4-8 weeks depending on individual needs.

Invisalign is a newer technology that uses a series of clear plastic trays (aligners) that fit around the teeth, gently pushing them into position over time — typically six months to two years. Because they are clear, Invisalign trays easily go unnoticed. The trays must be removed when eating or drinking anything other than water.

With Invisalign, the patient does an initial appointment with Dr. Pratt where she takes X-rays and a digital scan of the teeth to create a precise 3D image of the mouth. From that imaging, Dr. Pratt instructs movements of the dentition digitally to a computer that is then able to generate a series of trays that incorporate subtle adjustments until the final desired position is achieved. The patient gets new aligners every couple of weeks and office visits are generally every 8-10 weeks.

The Pros and Cons of Braces and Invisalign

Choosing which is best depends on your orthodontic needs and your personal preferences. Here are some of the pros and cons of both Invisalign and braces:

Benefits of Invisalign

  • Nearly invisible
  • Ability to take them out
  • Easier to brush and floss
  • Easy to care for
  • Easy to wear

Disadvantages of Invisalign

  • You have to remember to put them in
  • Must remove when eating or drinking anything other than water
  • Can be lost or thrown away
  • Cannot stop and restart treatment – taking breaks lengthens treatment
  • Compliance, Compliance, Compliance

Benefits of Braces

  • Better for complex cases like extraction cases and jaw surgeries
  • Can be less expensive than Invisalign
  • There are options, clear, fun colors and even self-ligating
  • Cannot forget to wear them

Disadvantages of Braces

  • You can see them
  • You can’t eat certain foods
  • Can cause irritation in your mouth initially
  • Can be difficult to clean
  • Brushing and flossing takes more time

The Cost of Braces vs. Invisalign

The cost of braces and aligners can be similar.  The down payment with aligners may be slightly more to cover the large up-front lab fee charged by the aligner company, Invisalign and Spark®.

Contact us today to schedule a free consultation to determine if braces or Invisalign is the right fit for you. Everyone’s needs are different and we are here to help you make the right decision. Call us at either office: The Woodlands, TX at 281-367-0050 or in Montgomery, TX at 936-596-1200.

Dr. Pratt is a highly recognized Board Certified Specialist in Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics, one of just five in The Woodlands area. She has dedicated her work to providing services that are custom tailored to each patient using state of the art materials and techniques and practices in all areas of orthodontic care.

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