Adults who want straighter teeth have a couple of options, but the choice can be difficult to make without the right information. It’s important to consider the following:

  • How visible should the orthodontic appliance be?
  • Will I have to make many trips to an orthodontist?
  • Is it necessary to make food or lifestyle changes?
  • How long will it take to straighten my teeth?

You probably have these and a few other questions if you are considering orthodontics to achieve straighter teeth. An orthodontist can help you make the right choice when deciding between Invisalign® and braces.

The similarities

Several conditions can contribute to the misalignment of teeth, including under- and overbites, crossbites and spacing or crowding issues. Invisalign and braces can correct alignment issues associated with any of these conditions. Both provide rapid, comfortable tooth movement and are helpful to strengthen teeth and create a smile that will make you proud.

Braces and Invisalign typically require visits to an orthodontist every month or so, though Invisalign patients can extend their time between visits. For both, you will likely still need to wear an appliance or retainer nightly after treatment has ended.

The differences

Invisalign and braces have a few significant differences. Braces are fixed to your teeth and come in a variety of materials ranging from metal to clear ceramic. They also include options that fit behind the teeth, as well as varieties that do not require rubber ties to secure the wires. In contrast, Invisalign has removable, clear aligners that fit over your teeth.

There are also a few lifestyle differences to keep in mind. When you have braces, you have to avoid certain foods that can interfere with how your braces work. You also need to be careful when brushing or flossing. With Invisalign, you can take the aligners out as needed to clean them and brush your teeth or eat as normal. However, you will need the discipline to keep the aligners inserted for at least 22 hours per day to achieve desired results in a timely manner.

The choice

Because both options have advantages and disadvantages, make sure you weigh your options carefully. Everyone has different needs, and what works perfectly for one person may not work for another. Take some time to ask yourself some key questions:

How important is invisibility to you? Many people have concerns about using anything that is too obvious. Consider whether invisibility is necessary or whether you can work with clear braces or braces that fit behind your teeth.

Do you want to be able to remove the appliance? With Invisalign, you can remove the aligners anytime you like as long as you do not keep them out for too long. With braces, you will likely get used to having them in and learn to adapt your brushing and eating routine. If you engage in contact sports often or play a musical instrument, a removable option may be preferable.

Both Invisalign and braces can be used to help achieve a great smile. But you will have one of them for two years, so take your time making a decision to find the ideal one for you.