image0060Having straight teeth not only gives you a winning smile, it prevents excessive tooth wear and leads to better overall oral health. There was a time when the only way to straighten your teeth was with braces. Today, however, Invisalign gives you a second option. Using clear “aligning trays” that are worn over teeth all day and changed out regularly, Invisalign slowly moves your teeth into their ideal position.

While braces and Invisalign trays serve the same purpose, each has its own advantages. Which is right for you? Your dentist and orthodontist are your best source of information. But here are some of the key features and pros and cons of each to give you some background for your conversation.

What You Need to Know

Braces

  • Can’t be removed
  • Cost averaging $2,000 to $5,000
  • Typically silver in color (though enamel-colored braces are available, typically at a higher cost)
  • Worn 24/7/365 for two years on average
  • Maintenance includes brushing wires, brackets, and other components daily; many orthodontists recommend using a water flossing device as well
  • Treatment plan generally includes monthly visits
  • Pros: Better for treating complicated issues, normal oral care regimen, no risk of losing devices or forgetting to put them back in after eating or cleaning
  • Cons: Can cause pain, especially after tightening, some foods are best avoided (hard or sticky items, in particular), wires and brackets can irritate cheeks and lips, can cause tooth discoloration, can cause mouth injury in contact sports

Invisalign

  • Removable
  • Cost averaging around $5,000
  • Clear
  • Worn almost 24 hours per day for 6 to 18 months depending on patient needs
  • Maintenance includes a special cleaning system (ideally) or soaking in lukewarm water and brushing
  • Treatment plan generally includes changing trays every two weeks and visits every 4-6 weeks
  • Pros: Removable, invisible, no difficulty eating and no food trapped in brackets/wires, no mouth irritation, no sports injury risk
  • Cons: Tooth movement can cause discomfort especially with new trays, generally higher cost, must remove to eat, risk of losing trays, must brush after every meal to prevent stains, not advised for people with bridgework, not effective with back tooth bite issues, moving teeth vertically, or rotating premolars or canines

It’s All About Your Priorities

In the end, your choice will likely come down to your priorities. Cost? Convenience? Concealment? Giving some thought to what matters most to you will help you make your decision. But either way, an investment in straight teeth at University Dental Orlando is one that will pay you back for a lifetime.