When you are looking forward to showing off a new, beautiful smile, you probably want your treatment time to go as fast as possible. So, are metal braces faster than Invisalign? The good news is that both treatments have come a long way, technologically. Braces are usually faster and more beneficial to people with complex cases, while Invisalign is a good choice for mild-to-moderate tooth crowding. At The Happy Tooth in Chapel Hill, NC, we offer both treatments, and we are happy to share some important things that you should know.
10 Things to Know About Metal Braces
1. Braces Utilize a Sophisticated System of Brackets and Wires to Straighten Your Teeth
Braces utilize a traditional system comprised of three parts:
- Brackets that adhere to your teeth with dental glue
- Archwires that direct the realignment of your teeth
- Ligature, or the system of rubber bands that fit the archwire to the brackets
Sometimes, rubber bands are not used. New, “self-ligating” braces are now available. These use metal clips to attach the archwires directly to the brackets. Within the clips, the wire can slide freely, allowing your teeth to ease into their positions.
2. Metal Braces Straighten Your Teeth by Applying Gentle Pressure
Your orthodontist will set the archwires so that they tug and push against your teeth, applying just the right amount of pressure. Underneath your teeth, gums, and bones, there is a membrane that can move in response to this pressure. Gradually, it will reposition itself. The bones below your teeth will also change their shape. In response to all of this change, your teeth will slide into the desired position.
Once your teeth have moved, your bones and tissue will grow into the spaces they left behind, preventing them from sliding back. You can also use a retainer to help preserve your new smile.
3. Braces Are More Comfortable Than They Used to Be
If you are worried about the sensation of metal brackets and wires in your mouth, don’t be! Nowadays, the brackets are smaller than before, making them more comfortable. When you wear your braces, the wires will exert just the right amount of pressure. It won’t be so much that you feel intense pain, but it will be enough to straighten your teeth.
4. Modern Braces Are More Aesthetically Pleasing Than Older Models
Smaller brackets mean less of an impact on your appearance. Today’s braces are subtle and less noticeable than they were several years ago. For people who really want to minimize the appearance of their treatment, ceramic braces are available. They utilize clear or tooth-colored brackets that blend in with your teeth. The brackets of ceramic braces tend to be larger and more fragile than metal brackets, however. For this reason, they are often used on the top teeth only.
5. Metal Braces Can Fix Almost Any Orthodontic Issue
The technology behind braces is highly evolved. It dates back centuries and has the advantage over most modern advances. The problems braces can correct include:
- Gap teeth
- Crowded teeth
- Severe misalignment
The versatility and effectiveness of braces make them the best option for people who have complicated cases.
6. Braces Are a Fast Treatment Option
Braces give your orthodontist a lot of control over the re-alignment process. Therefore, he or she will be able to make a plan to straighten your teeth in as little time as possible.
Typically, the treatment time is about two years. Compared with a lifetime of straight teeth and considering the near-perfect results braces can achieve, two years is not very much time.
7. Metal Braces Are More Affordable Than Other Options
Braces tend to be more cost-effective than other options, including Invisalign. This is because the treatment has been available for a long time, and orthodontists can now administer it without great cost to themselves.
Also, the materials used are fairly inexpensive. The brackets are usually made from stainless steel, and the archwires are usually nickel or titanium.
8. Braces Are Incredibly Durable
Despite being inexpensive, the materials used to make braces are extremely strong. They are designed to withstand both the daily use of chewing and the pressure of realigning your teeth. With proper care, you don’t need to worry about the brackets breaking or the archwires popping. You can continue all of your normal activities while you wear the braces, including sports.
Your orthodontist will help you understand what basic measures you should take to care for your braces. These include:
- Avoiding extremely chewy foods like toffee and gum
- Cutting hard foods like carrots and apples
- Taking care to brush your braces thoroughly after meals
9. Braces Are a Good Option for Teens and Adults
Almost anyone with misaligned teeth can benefit from braces. Usually, they are applied during the tween or teen years when all of the baby teeth have fallen out. For teens, braces are a great way to achieve a brilliant smile that will provide a lifetime of confidence and dental health.
Experts recommend an orthodontic screening at the age of 7. By this time, several of the adult teeth are in place. Your orthodontist can determine if early treatment will benefit your child by preventing complications before they happen.
Braces are not just for younger people! Nowadays, one in five American patients who opt for braces is over the age of 21. If you have spent most of your life wishing you had straighter teeth, we have good news. It is never too late to give yourself the gift of a beautifully straight smile.
10. The Benefits of Braces Are Aesthetic and Practical
After braces, you will have teeth that look great and function better. You will also be less at risk for gum disease and tooth decay.
The aesthetic benefits of braces include:
- Straight, beautiful teeth
- A professional, polished appearance
- A smile that will boost your confidence
The health benefits of braces include:
- Improved hygiene—straighter teeth are easier to brush
- Reduced chance of the need for tooth extraction
- Healthier gums
- Healthier teeth
- Improved ability to chew your food
- Improvements in speech impediments
- Reduction of headaches
- Reduced risk of injury from protruding teeth
The Alternative: What Is Invisalign?
Invisalign is a popular alternative to braces. The system utilizes clear, plastic aligners that fit over your teeth. The biggest advantage to Invisalign is that the aligners are almost invisible when you wear them, greatly reducing the visual impact of your treatment. For this reason, they are a good choice for people who frequently appear in public, people who have their photo taken often, and people who are especially conscious about their appearance.
Are Braces Faster Than Invisalign When It Comes to Straightening Your Teeth?
The answer depends on your individual case. For a long time, braces were considered the fastest option because of the precision they offer orthodontists. When your orthodontist has more control over your teeth, they will respond faster to the treatment. However, in 2011, Invisalign changed the material they use for the aligners. This brought many advances, including a reduction in the treatment time.
When trying to assess which treatment is faster, some experts point to the average treatment times. For Invisalign, the average treatment time is somewhere between 6 months and 18 months. For braces, it is usually around 2 years. This could indicate that Invisalign is faster; however, we must take into consideration that braces are used for more complicated cases.
A case in which braces are used for 2 years could take a lot longer if Invisalign had been. For the most complicated cases, Invisalign is not considered an option. Therefore, comparing the treatment time of Invisalign against the treatment time of braces by using averages does not truly indicate which treatment is faster.
Schedule a Consultation
The best way to determine whether braces or Invisalign will be faster for you is by talking with an orthodontist. When you come into our practice, we will assess the condition of your teeth and give you more information about both braces and Invisalign. We can help you determine which is faster and which will get you the best results.
You Can Choose Straight, Healthy Teeth
The good news is that, with the many tooth-straightening options available today, your orthodontist will be able to match your case with the perfect solution. Whether metal braces will be faster and better for you depends on the current condition of your teeth and the goals you would like to achieve. After completing your treatment via braces or Invisalign, you can enjoy a lifetime of confidence and health.
Both braces and Invisalign are more comfortable and effective than ever before. Your orthodontist can work with you to determine which option can get you the best results and which fits better with your budget.
Contact The Happy Tooth in Chapel Hill, NC for more information on your orthodontic options. We are happy to get to know you and explain how our services can keep you smiling and healthy.