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Invisalign vs Braces

3 December 2020

Categories: Braces, Invisalign
Woman holding Invisalign aligners and braces

Invisalign and braces are 2 common types of orthodontic treatment that individuals opt for. 

  • Invisalign is a clear aligner that’s virtually invisible and removable.

    Depending on the complexity of your dental condition, your dentist may suggest different Invisalign plans such as Invisalign Express, Lite, Moderate and Comprehensive.

  • Braces consist of metal brackets that are cemented onto your teeth and bound together by wires and rubber bands.

    In general, there are 2 main types of braces to suit patients with different needs – traditional and self-ligating braces.

As each option has its own set of pros and cons, we’ll list them in this article so you can make a more informed decision.

Invisalign vs braces

Read on for a more detailed elaboration regarding the respective advantages and disadvantages of Invisalign and braces.

Invisalign: Virtually invisible

Invisalign, being a clear aligner, is virtually invisible. You can smile without feeling self-conscious about your appearance.

Braces: Visible brackets, wires and rubber bands

On the other hand, traditional metal braces are more noticeable due to the brackets, wires and coloured modules. As such, you may feel more conscious about your appearance as you undergo the treatment.

Invisalign: Gradual and Gentle Teeth Movement

Invisalign’s patented SmartTrack material is specially designed for the Invisalign system. It allows a constant and gentle force to be applied to the teeth. 

Thus, Invisalign is a more comfortable treatment as compared to that of braces, which applies a stronger initial pressure to your teeth.

Invisalign vs braces

Braces: More Pressure

When braces treatment first begins, you’re likely to experience pain and soreness due to the pressure imposed on your teeth. This is also likely to occur when your braces are being tightened.

Additionally, emergency situations such as poking wires or loose brackets may arise, causing discomfort or soreness on the inside of your cheeks. It could also lead to cuts and ulcers which could affect your mood.

Invisalign: Better oral hygiene

One of the benefits of Invisalign aligners is the ability to remove them. This allows for greater oral hygiene as you can brush and floss your teeth as per normal and clean your aligners without much difficulty.

Braces: Difficulties brushing and flossing teeth

Brushing and flossing your teeth is more challenging with braces. It’s crucial that you follow your dentist’s instructions on how to correctly brush and floss while undergoing braces treatment.

Invisalign: Minimal dietary restrictions

You can generally enjoy your meals without any restrictions or concerns as you’ll be able to remove your aligners during mealtime.

However, if you have your aligners on when you eat, do avoid coloured food such as curry as it might stain the aligners.

Braces: avoid sticky or hard food

With braces, you’ll have to be careful with the food and drinks you consume. You’re advised to adopt a soft food diet and avoid sticky or hard food as they can potentially damage your braces.

Invisalign: Fewer and shorter visits

Visits to your dentist will typically occur every 8 to 12 weeks.

During the review session, your dentist will check the fit of your current and next aligner to see if your teeth are shifting according to the treatment plan. If everything is moving according to the treatment plan, the review session should take about 5 to 10 mins.

If you opt for Dental Monitoring, your review session will be every 12 weeks or longer as Dental Monitoring allows your dentist to monitor your aligner fit and teeth movement on a weekly basis.

Braces: Longer and more frequent visits

You’ll have to visit your dentist every 4 to 8 weeks.

During your consultation, your dentist will adjust the wires and change out the coloured modules.

As this requires more time, the monthly review with your dentist will be longer.

Invisalign: Limitations In Treating Certain Conditions

According to Dr. Tong, Invisalign may have difficulties treating the following conditions:

  • Severely tipped teeth
  • Impacted teeth
  • Severely rotated teeth

However, auxiliaries/buttons can be used to overcome these limitations.

Braces: Able To Treat Complex Conditions

Typically, traditional metal braces are used to rectify severe malocclusions (misalignment or crookedness of the teeth) as they’re more effective. Hence, you may need them if you have more complex dental conditions.

Invisalign: Requires Compliance To Ensure Minimal Disruption To Treatment

As the aligners are removable, the effectiveness of the Invisalign treatment depends largely on your compliance to the plan.

The aligners should be worn daily for about 22 hours. You should only remove your aligners during mealtimes or when you’re brushing your teeth.

Braces: Less disruption to treatment as compliance is ensured

As braces are stuck on to your teeth, you won’t be able to remove them. 

However, you need to attend every appointment (every 4 to 8 weeks) to allow your dentist to tighten the arch wires. This will ensure that a steady force is being applied to your teeth for them to move according to the treatment plan. 

Failure to turn up for a regular appointment can result in a longer treatment time.

  • Invisalign

    $4,200 - $8,800

  • Braces

    $3,900 - $6,500

  • Invisalign: More expensive

    Invisalign treatment is generally more expensive and can cost anywhere from $4,200 to $8,800

    This is due to the research and development involved in Invisalign treatment as well as the cost of the aligners, which are custom-made to fit your teeth. However, the total cost also depends on the complexity of your case.

  • Braces: More affordable

    Braces cost at i.Dental ranges between $3,900 to $6,500 depending on the type of braces you choose as well as the severity of your malocclusion.

    They’re generally cheaper than Invisalign treatment as the brackets used for braces are purchased in bulk (i.e. same bracket size). On the other hand, every single tray of Invisalign aligners is customised to fit your teeth.

Should you choose Invisalign or braces?

There are many considerations when it comes to choosing between Invisalign and braces. 

Deciding which factors are more important than others will help in your decision-making process. Here’s a fun checklist to decide whether Invisalign or braces is more suitable for you based on your preferences!

Invisalign vs braces checklist

Note: To get an accurate diagnosis and professional advice on which type of treatment best suits you, you should also consult your dentist.

Check out these guides for more details about getting Invisalign or braces treatment in Singapore!

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