The Pro’s & Con’s of Invisalign!
So, if invisalign is so amazing why does anyone still choose braces? Like most things in life, there are pros and cons to invisalign and it may not be the perfect option for everyone. So, I actually had braces as a teenager and just last year I had invisalign. So, in this article, I’ll be telling you all about the good and bad sides of invisalign for my own experience and that of my patients.
So, today we’re going to be talking all about the pros and cons of invisalign. First, let’s talk about all of the benefits of invisalign. The benefit that most people recognize is right there in the name. Invisalign is nearly invisible for those who don’t love the metal mouth look at braces. Invisalign is a great alternative and with invisalign you can straighten your teeth without anyone knowin. In fact many celebrities and public figures have used invisalign to straighten their teeth while living in the spotlight and strolling the red carpet. Some celebrities treated with invisalign include Justin Bieber and Zac Efron. Oprah Winfrey, Keira Knightley. Chloe Kardashian, Serena Williams, and even the duchess Kate Middleton. Movie stars, professionals athletes singers even royalty have used invisalign to straighten their teeth without drawing unwanted attention.
So, the next major benefit of invisalign is that there are no food restrictions. If you or anyone you know had braces you know how long that “do not eat with braces” list can be. Those with braces have to avoid some foods like popcorn, bread with hard crusts such as bagels, biting into apples or corn on the cob and most kinds of candy or gum, and really any other hard crunchy, or sticky food. Meanwhile, with invisalign none of your favorite foods are restricted. You simply remove your liners and eat whatever you like. The next major benefit of invisalign is how easy it is to brush and floss your teeth. You may have heard horror stories of kids who didn’t brush their teeth with braces and some of the scary consequences include cavities, swollen gums, and permanent white scars on your teeth. These are all results of poor brushing and flossing with braces. Brushing and flossing with braces while not impossible is more difficult than normal brushing and with invisalign there are no brackets and wires to trap food and patients with invisalign usually have fewer problems with poor oral hygiene.
Now, don’t be mistaken. You still need to brush and floss with invisalign treatment but the main benefit is just that it’s easier and takes less time to brush and floss than with braces. The next benefit that we’ll discuss is that with invisalign you have fewer and shorter appointments. So, braces require a lot of manual work and continual maintenance on the part of the orthodontist and like a car, braces require very frequent checkups and even repairs like bonding brackets, changing wires, placing rubber bands, and connecting springs, just to name a few things. Most of these time-consuming procedures are completely eliminated with invisalign treatment. The average braces appointment takes 20 to 40 minutes, while the average invisalign appointment takes about 10. So, with invisalign you also have the benefits of far fewer appointments
In our office, for example, we see patients with braces at six to eight-week intervals. Invisalign patients on the other hand only need to be seen once every 10 to 12 weeks and with shorter appointment times and fewer overall return visits invisalign treatment means less time off work or school and more vacation or sick days you could save for another time. The next benefit of invisalign we’ll discuss is that there is less discomfort and irritation. So, braces can take some getting used to until your cheeks adapt and toughen up. There’s usually some discomfort from the new braces and wires that are placed on your teeth, so you can expect sore teeth for a few days when you start braces this is just part of the process and something that happens to just about everybody but by removing the braces and wires from the equation, invisalign reduces or eliminates most of the discomfort that patients with braces have to experience.
So, just to review the greatest benefits of invisalign, especially when compared to braces include they’re less noticeable and they’re nearly invisible. There are no food or dietary restrictions. There’s easy brushing and flossing, there are fewer and shorter appointments and less irritation and discomfort so now that we’ve discussed what makes invisalign great, it’s time to discuss some of the reasons why it may not be the best choice for everyone. So, the biggest reason is you have to wear it and this may seem obvious to most people but self-motivation and discipline are a major component to the success of your invisalign treatment when aligners can come on and off this easily. Some people may find themselves forgetting to put them on regularly or will lose their aligners altogether. As a best practices rule, invisalign aligners should be worn about 21 hours per day, so this means all the time except when eating and brushing your teeth. So, you may be wondering what happens if you don’t wear your liners as instructed and there are a few things that can happen. None of them are in your favor, first, your teeth won’t keep up with the aligners which means your treatment may take longer. Those who don’t wear their liners as instructed will usually get sore teeth and experience more discomfort and the final treatment result will be less than ideal even though it may cost you the same amount as someone who wore them correctly and got better results. And lastly, some tooth and bite problems can’t be fixed if the invisalign aligners aren’t prescribed, so in our HVS practice about 1 out of 20 invisalign patients end up with braces due to not wearing their liners full time.
So, when considering the pros and cons of invisalign this is the big question to consider: “Will I or will my child stick with the process until completion?” And this may be 18 to 24 months, so for some people, the answer is no and that’s okay. It’s better to know this about yourself or your child beforehand and in this case, braces will be the best option and your surest way to a successful treatment. So, thankfully the majority of adults, teens, and kids wear their invisalign aligners appropriately. They stick with the program where their invisalign aligners is instructed and get fantastic results, so another potential drawback of invisalign is that it’s not ideal for frequent snackers or sippers. So, invisalign aligners should be removed to eat or drink anything besides water. This is because the aligners will trap food particles and will result in yellow discolored aligners and can cause cavities or gum disease, so after eating or drinking it’s recommended that you clean your teeth prior to placing your liners back in. So, if you’re one of those people that enjoy sipping coffee throughout the day or if you frequently snack between meals, you may find that invisalign interrupts your normal routine but don’t think of this as a deal-breaker. It will simply mean temporarily changing your habits so you eat at mealtimes and sip water instead of coffee and like anything your body gets used to whatever new habits you start. Soon, it’ll feel just as natural to not sip and snack as it once did to do so. So, there are even some reports that they eat less frequently and lose a few unwanted pounds during invisalign treatment. So, this is not a diet plan but it can be an unexpected perk.
So, the next potential drawback of invisalign is that it may affect your speech so the first time you try to use invisalign aligners may be difficult to pronounce certain words. Speaking might feel a little bit awkward in general, however, this is no reason to be discouraged either so most people adapt within a couple of days and any speech issues are resolved within a week. We recommend reading a book out loud while wearing your invisalign aligners for a couple of minutes a day during the first week. This helps to train your tongue and helps you more quickly adapt your aligners. The next potential drawback to invisalign is there are certain tooth and bite problems that may be better treated with braces, so this is why receiving a consultation from an orthodontist is so important. They’ll always know what option is best for your situation, so the majority of orthodontic patients can be successfully treated with braces or invisalign. It’ll really come down to a personal preference at your initial consultation. An orthodontist can evaluate your teeth and bite, and let you know whether invisalign is the best choice for you before making any kind of decision. So, to review the biggest potential drawbacks of invisalign include the need to have self-motivation and self-discipline to wear your aligners exactly as instructed. This could take up to 24 months. You may also have to change some habits such as frequent snacking or sipping of beverages. Speaking can also be difficult for the first week or so and certain tooth and bite problems may be more difficult to treat with invisalign than with braces. So, the number one question we consider when recommending either braces or invisalign is what is absolutely the best thing for the patient. As I mentioned a good place to start is by getting a consultation with an orthodontist. Want to learn more about differences between invisalign and braces, read here.
If you’re living in the Bellevue Washington area we’d love to see you for a free consultation. At this consultation appointment, we will evaluate your teeth and help guide you on the best decision for your smile. If you have any questions about invisalign or braces, feel free to contact us and we’ll do our best to answer.