Invisalign vs. Braces: Which Is Best for Your Teen?

Dental Health
By: Spirit Dental
August 7, 2018

Young student holding books in hallway

When it comes to aligning teeth, you might immediately think of braces. But, these days, there are a lot of options to choose from, especially when you’re searching for the perfect solution for your teen’s teeth.

One of the most popular products available is Invisalign. But how does it stack up against traditional braces?  Keep reading for a comparison of Invisalign vs braces so you can make the right decision.

A Few Things You Need to Know About Invisalign

First up, let’s talk about Invisalign. Here are some of the features that this dental treatment comes with:

  • Invisalign aligners are made of clear, BPA-free plastic, and they’re virtually invisible, so no one will know that you’re wearing one. Yay!
  • There aren’t any wires or brackets to worry about. Woohoo! This also means you don’t have to deal with them breaking, and you won’t have to book an emergency appointment to fix them.
  • You could—and should—remove your aligner for drinking and eating (you don’t have to remove it to drink water). And it’s easy! But you do need to make sure you keep the aligner in your mouth for at least 20-22 hours per day, and you should brush your teeth before putting the aligner back in your mouth in order to prevent stains.  
  • You could also remove the aligner so you can maintain your at-home brushing and flossing routine. Keep those pearly whites looking fabulous, without having to worry about your braces leaving stains or causing plaque to build up. Sweet!
  • The aligner is trimmed to your gum line for a customized and comfortable fit. No need to worry about discomfort from the wires of traditional braces. However, there might still be discomfort as a side effect of the teeth being moved into position. 
  • You need to be diligent about cleaning the aligner whenever you remove it. The Invisalign Cleaning System can be purchased from your dentist or online, or you can brush the aligner with toothpaste and a toothbrush before rinsing with lukewarm water.
  • The aligner will be changed, on average, every couple of weeks, and it will be up to you to stay on track in between your orthodontic appointments. You also need to follow up with your orthodontist every four to six weeks, on average, to keep track of progress.
  • Like braces, your orthodontist might recommend that you continue using a retainer or positioner, perhaps only while you sleep, after your teeth are in proper alignment so that they can stay that way.
  • Many orthodontic insurance plans, such as those that are offered by Spirit Dental, will help cover the cost of Invisalign for a teen in the same way that braces would be covered.

A Few Things to Consider When It Comes to Braces

Next up are traditional braces. You can already picture them in your mind as we speak, right?

  • Braces are set in place by your orthodontist, and they can’t be removed, so you have to wear them 24/7. However, this eliminates the risk of leaving them out for too long, so braces are a good choice for absent-minded teens or those who lack the self-discipline to use Invisalign correctly.
  • If you don’t want metal braces, you could opt for those that are made to more closely match the color of your teeth. Or, you could choose a fun color if you want to be a little more adventurous and make a statement.
  • Braces might be harder to set into place, and they’ll need to be adjusted regularly. On average, you’ll need to have a follow-up visit with your orthodontist every month.
  • You need to carefully brush the wires and brackets, and perhaps incorporate the use of a water flosser, to ensure you keep the braces and your teeth as clean as possible.
  • Because you don’t take braces out of your mouth, you can brush and floss your teeth as you always did, without having to worry about cleaning an aligner. One less step to worry about!
  • There might be side effects, such as discomfort, sores, or pain. It might also be more difficult to eat foods that are hard or sticky. No fun!
  • Treatment time might be longer with braces than with Invisalign. However, for complex alignment problems, braces might be more effective than Invisalign. It really all depends on the condition of your teeth!
  • Braces aren’t recommended for teens who participate in contact sports, and they might also get in the way of other pastimes, whereas Invisalign can be removed for certain activities.  
  • Braces might be more affordable than Invisalign, but the final cost will ultimately depend upon the complexity of the treatment needed to align the teeth.

A Lot to Think About!

Whoa, that’s quite a bit of information to consider, and a lot of pros and cons to weigh as you and your teen decide on whether to go with Invisalign or braces. The bottom line is that both of these options can help give anyone a perfect smile.

When it comes to making the right choice for your teen’s unique needs, an orthodontist will be able to steer you in the right direction, so it all starts with making that first appointment. And when all is said and done, your teen can finally have a smile they’ll be proud to show off.   


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