Invisalign Versus Metal Braces: What You Should Know

Invisalign and metal braces are two of the leading types of teeth straightening today, but how do you know which to choose? The answer can be unique for each person since everyone has different dental issues and goals. However, by learning a few key things about each type of teeth straightening you may be able to determine which one you want to explore further when you visit your orthodontist. Here are the main things you should know about the differences between Invisalign and metal braces.

The Device Differences

Traditional braces are made from metal brackets and wires. Small rubber bands are often used to help keep the braces in place as well, especially after the braces are tightened.

Invisalign is a retainer tray that is made entirely of a dental grade plastic. Invisalign trays fit right over your teeth and don't require any supplemental devices like rubber bands.

The Treatment Differences

Both metal braces and Invisalign may be worn for varying times depending on the degree of teeth correction required. On average, traditional metal braces are worn from 18 months up to 2 years, while Invisalign teeth straightening lasts for only about a year.

Another significant difference in treatment is how often the braces are worn. Traditional metal braces remain on your teeth permanently for the duration of the treatment course, while Invisalign retainer trays can be removed. Normally, you will wear your Invisalign trays for  20 to 22 hours each day, removing them for brushing and eating.

During Invisalign treatment, you will usually exchange your retainers for new ones twice a month. Every set of new retainers will help shift your teeth into proper position more aggressively. With metal braces, you will usually need to have them adjusted every month or six weeks.

The Appearance Differences

The appearance difference between metal braces and Invisalign is one of the main reasons that Invisalign is becoming such a popular option today. While metal braces obscure much of your mouth, Invisalign retainers are clear plastic that allow your teeth to be seen.

If appearance is a big concern, or if you simply don't want to have that "metal mouth" look, Invisalign can be ideal since you won't look like you're wearing braces at all.

Whether you choose Invisalign or metal braces, you will be very pleased with the dramatic change in your smile after you've completed your treatment. Talk to your orthodontist about which option is best for you today!