Invisalign vs. Braces: Which Is Best For You?

If you have orthodontic issues like gapped teeth, an overbite or underbite, crooked teeth, an open bite and other irregularities in your smile, you may be considering braces or Invisalign to fix them. At Monterey Peninsula Dental Group, we’re a preferred provider for Invisalign in the Monterey Peninsula, with lots of experience helping our patients with Invisalign.

One major difference is that Invisalign can be done through your general dentist’s office, eliminating the need for additional appointments with an orthodontist. Traditional braces need to be put on and maintained with the help of an orthodontist, while Invisalign is easily removable at home for eating and cleaning. This feature also makes Invisalign attractive to many people, because you can eliminate the tricky brushing and flossing needed to keep braces clean and teeth healthy. With Invisalign, you remove the aligner trays and brush and floss normally, then replace the trays.

Treatment times and costs can be quite similar between Invisalign and braces, but both depend on individual patient needs, and how long it will take to address the issues with each patient’s smile. No matter which you choose, it’s important to have well-aligned teeth and a solid bite, which help you eat and talk more effectively. Crooked or misaligned teeth are also at higher risk for tooth decay and gum disease, since they are harder to keep clean.

Why Invisalign?

For many patients, the biggest draw to Invisalign is the improved aesthetic appearance of your smile. It’s made with clear plastic forms called aligners, that fit tightly over your teeth and gradually guide them into the new, desired places. So, unlike braces, when you smile, all that can be seen is the clear aligners over your own teeth, not metal brackets and wires. Patients also typically report less mouth pain with Invisalign, which is a more gentle, and sometimes slower, approach to reshaping your smile. And, patients who play contact sports should be aware that Invisalign is a safer choice than braces, to lower the risk of orthodontic or soft tissue injuries to the mouth from such sports.

Invisalign is an effective orthodontic treatment and has been around for about 20 years now. They’re suitable for both teens and adults, and are customized to each patient. Your MPDG dentist will start by taking digital 3D images of your teeth, then have the aligners made to fit them precisely. Over the course of months, you’ll receive several sets of new aligners, each one getting your teeth a little closer to the final goal. Invisalign aligners are easy to clean and come with an Invisalign cleaning system to help you keep them clean.

Why Braces?

Even with all the benefits and good qualities of Invisalign, there are good reasons why you and your dentist might want to choose braces for you instead. There are some complex orthodontic problems that Invisalign can’t fully address. For instance, if you have persistent bite issues with your back teeth, or if teeth need to be moved vertically or rotated, braces are a more effective choice. Patients with existing bridgework should also not use Invisalign, because the pressure on the teeth can’t be customized to protect the bridgework the way an orthodontist can with braces.

Another consideration, especially for teenagers, is whether they will have the discipline to keep Invisalign aligners in for up to 22 hours a day. Braces can’t be taken out, so you can be sure they are working. However, Invisalign has come up with blue indicators on the aligners so that parents can check and see if their teens are wearing the aligners enough.

Every patient is different, so it’s important to talk with your dentist about which treatment option is the best for you. Whether it’s Invisalign or braces or another option, MPDG is here to help point you in the right direction to solve your dental problems and help you get the smile you want to see.

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