Invisalign trays on a box

Invisalign vs Braces: Which is the better option

At Blue Water Dental, we know that having a beautiful, straight and white smile is a top concern for our patients. We want all of our patients to smile as wide as possible, and whether you're an adult or teen, orthodontics can help you achieve your best smile.

Patients often ask us about one of two options: Invisalign® or braces. Both methods will help you realign crooked teeth and overcrowding. However, there are times when braces may be more beneficial and when Invisalign® is the better option.

Choosing the best method for you is a difficult decision.

We need you to come into our office so that we can conduct an in-depth examination of your dental structure. Once we know the extent of correction necessary and any other services required for your teeth, we'll recommend Invisalign® or braces.

Invisalign trays

Which Works Best?

Invisalign® is a "newer" treatment, so many people are skeptical that the process won't work as well for crooked teeth or overcrowding. However, the right treatment plan for Invisalign® wearers is the most important part of seeing great results.

If you're able to do the following, Invisalign® works very well:

  • Follow our recommendations by wearing your trays consistently
  • Continue coming to your scheduled appointments

Our team will create a treatment plan that can help you overcome any dental issues you're facing and create a custom plan that will help you achieve the smile you've always wanted.

How Invisalign® Works for an Overbite or an Underbite

Over 4 million people in Canada and the US go to the orthodontist annually. Unfortunately, many of these patients are suffering from an overbite or underbite. When your bite isn't correct, it can lead to discomfort or difficulty eating.

Invisalign® works to straighten your teeth and can also correct bite misalignments.

The treatment will:

  • Apply pressure to your teeth to straighten them
  • Slowly reposition the teeth

While we can often correct an underbite or overbite with Invisalign®, there are rare times when braces work best.

Aligners, as used in Invisalign® treatments, can often be developed to push your teeth back in alignment and correct your bite. We'll know which method of correction is best for your situation after you book an exam at Blue Water Dental.

Invisalign® and Crowded Teeth

Do you have crowded teeth? Overcrowding can be corrected in numerous ways, but we always prefer to use the least invasive method possible. If you don't need a serious procedure performed, we prefer to take the easiest method.

A few of the ways that you can correct teeth crowding are:

  • Invisalign® or braces that expand to push the teeth outward and create natural room in your mouth.
  • Remove one or more teeth to straighten them.
  • Shave off a small portion of the tooth enamel to make your teeth less crowded.

In cases of significant crowding, tooth extraction or filing are the best options. This includes crowded wisdom teeth. When we can use Invisalign®, we will. Our goal is to keep all your natural teeth in place.

Understanding Invisalign® and Treatment Plans

Invisalign® is less intrusive than braces, but it can still take one to two years to correct your teeth. The time it takes for the treatment plan to work is 100% dependent on whether you follow the plan and your current teeth issues.

Attachments can be placed on the aligner. While the word "attachments" seems sophisticated, they're just small bumps that work to improve the efficiency of Invisalign and are designed to match the colour of your teeth.

When attachments are in place, they enhance the benefits of the aligner and help the teeth move into position easier.

The difference in effectiveness comes from the bump exerting additional pressure on your teeth. The attachments also make it easier for Invisalign® to grip the teeth and work properly – so it's a win-win for you.

We may also recommend buttons, but they're different than the standard attachments. Buttons are bonded to the teeth and we use elastics to apply force.

Making the Right Choice for Your Teeth

Attachments are just one way that we're able to improve the effectiveness of Invisalign® for our patients. On average, Invisalign® takes about 18 months of treatment, but mild issues can be fixed in as little as one year.

In some cases, you may need to use Invisalign® for up to two years to achieve the desired results.

We'll ask you a wide range of questions to determine whether Invisalign® is a good choice for your teeth or not. While some patients often ask for braces, Invisalign® is the optimal solution because you can:

  • Continue eating whatever you like
  • Remove the aligners when you brush and floss
  • Wear orthodontics that won't stick out when you smile

You also benefit from the straightforward design of the Invisalign® treatment. With braces, it can be difficult to tell what's going on with your teeth. However, since you'll remove the aligner to eat and take care of your oral health, you'll see the results occur slowly over time.

How Will I Know What My Teeth Will Look Like?

If you're like most of our clients, you're eager to see what your teeth will look like after the treatment plan. However, we have good news: you don't have to wait to see results. Instead, we use projected renderings, which allow us to forecast what your teeth may look like by the end of your treatment.

You can then use this projection to determine whether you want to go with Invisalign® or traditional braces. However, we will have to plan around crowns, bridges, veneers and Implants, which cannot be reliably moved with either Invisalign or braces.

Our team is here to recommend the best option for your teeth to create your new cosmetic smile. When we discuss the benefits of either option, we'll be discussing the physical changes to your:

  • Teeth
  • Bite

We'll also discuss your bite and your daily lifestyle. Your lifestyle and goals play a significant role in deciding how to fix your teeth. If you agree to have Invisalign®, we will develop a treatment plan that you can begin following today.

Your teeth will look completely different over the next year or two as Invisalign® works its magic to fix your teeth.

FAQ When Getting Invisalign®

Do You Need to Take Special Care of Your Invisalign® Trays?

Yes and no. Some patients will keep their aligners out for long periods, which can impact your treatment schedule and results. However, you need to keep your aligners in place at all times and then take them out when you eat or brush your teeth.

If you drink certain liquids or eat certain foods, there's a chance that you can damage the tray.

Hot foods and liquids can cause the tray to warp, so you definitely need to take special care of your aligners. However, you also need to take special care of your braces and be cautious of the foods you eat.

What Should I Do When Wearing My Aligners?

The last question touched on this slightly, but it's good to reinforce the answer. Of course, you'll want to stop wearing your aligners when eating hot food or drinking hot drinks. We even recommend scheduling snack times so that you can minimize the removal of your aligners as much as possible.

It may be acceptable to wear your Invisalign when playing sports, but it depends on the activity. For contact sports a proper mouthguard will always be preferable to Invisalign trays to prevent any dental emergencies.

Can Teens Use Invisalign®?

Invisalign Teen® is an excellent option for teens because it offers excellent teeth straightening and doesn't require pesky wires, as seen with braces. In addition, since these aligners are clear, they're preferred over braces for teens who don't want the world to know that they're working on straightening their teeth.

One drawback of aligners is that you need to wear them for a minimum of 22 hours per day.

Teens who struggle to maintain wear for this long are likely better candidates for braces. But, for the most part, older teenagers who can follow our treatment plans opt for Invisalign® because they're able to smile with confidence in front of their friends

How Old Do I Have to Be to Use Invisalign®?

A general rule of thumb is that if you have all of your adult teeth, you're a good candidate for Invisalign®. Otherwise, if you're still waiting for your adult teeth to come in, you'll want to wait until the last baby tooth comes out to start Invisalign® treatment.

If you're considering braces or Invisalign®, be sure to call us today to schedule an examination. We'll be more than happy to offer our professional recommendation to you.

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Dr. Gurpreet Sidhu - Dentist at Lighthouse Dental Centre and Blue Water Dental
Dr. Gurpreet Sidhu

With nearly two decades of experience, Dr. Sidhu enjoys helping his patients learn about dentistry. Knowledge is meant to be improved, challenged and shared.

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