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Invisalign vs. Braces for Adults: How to Make the Choice That’s Right for You

March 31, 2021
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Posted By: Morgan Nordstrom, D.D.S. and William C. VIzzolini, D.D.S. Staff
Close up of woman using Invisalign aligner on her teeth

While we often associate braces with young teenagers or even children, more and more adults choose to get some type of braces to straighten their smiles. Both traditional metal braces and clear plastic aligners continue to grow in popularity as those patients who didn’t get the chance for orthodontia in their younger years choose to work toward a healthier smile today. 

If you’re an adult considering straightening your teeth, you might not know quite where to begin. Whether you’re just starting college or are well into middle age, it’s normal to fantasize about having straighter, healthier teeth—and thanks to today’s modern dental technology, you can!

Different Approaches to a Common GoalAdult women smiling with braces

The overall goal of any orthodontia, whether it’s made from metal or plastic, is the same: to bring teeth into proper alignment slowly and safely. 

While you might initially think braces are all about having straighter teeth so that your smile is more beautiful, the benefits of braces go far beyond vanity. No matter who you are or what other oral health challenges you face, one truth remains constant: straighter teeth are healthier teeth. 

Correctly aligned teeth are easier to clean and much harder for cavities to hide between, meaning your odds of developing tooth decay and gum disease decrease when you have a straighter smile. No matter which style of Vallejo, CA braces you ultimately choose, the result will be a healthier mouth and dental wellness that’s easier to maintain.

Invisalign: How It’s Different From the Metal Braces You Knew Growing Up 

Clear orthodontic aligner treatments such as Invisalign differ from traditional metal braces largely due to their invisible, plastic appearance. Rather than having silver brackets and wires run across your teeth, Invisalign relies on flexible, removable clear aligners that you take out while you eat and drink. 

Adults at our Vallejo office often feel drawn to clear braces over traditional ones because they appreciate the subtle, discreet, and professional appearance of Invisalign.

How is Invisalign different from regular braces? 

  • You remove your aligners while eating. 
  • You can remove your aligners for special occasions, such as a wedding
  • There are no dietary restrictions with Invisalign
  • Rather than having metal bonded to your teeth, with Invisalign, nothing is attached to your mouth
  • You rotate out Invisalign trays every few weeks as your teeth adjust rather than having your Vallejo Invisalign dentist make adjustments in the dental chair 

close up of Invisalign clear alignerYou need to wear your Invisalign trays for at least 22 hours each day for them to be effective. You should only remove your clear braces to eat, drink hot liquids, clean your teeth, and clean your aligners. 

Dentists typically will not recommend Invisalign braces for children or young teenagers, as these younger demographics tend to not be as disciplined with their 22 hours of “wear time” and often have a harder time remembering to swap out their aligners at the required intervals. 

The Pros and Cons of Metal and Clear Braces

Now that you understand how Invisalign works, the next step is to weigh the pros and cons to determine which type of orthodontia is best for your situation. Below, we outline the main benefits and drawbacks of both metal braces and invisible braces to help you make a more informed decision:

Invisalign

Pros:

  • Invisibility: Other people are less likely to notice you’re even wearing braces when those braces are clear and subtle.
  • Removability: You can—and should—remove your braces at mealtime, which means you get to enjoy all your favorite foods without having to worry about breaking a bracket.
  • Improved Dental Hygiene: Both brushing and flossing will feel easier without brackets and wires to get in your way, which often leads to better oral health and fewer cavities. 

Cons:

  • Simplicity: Invisalign is an excellent treatment choice for patients with mild straightening needs, but it’s not the right approach if you have a more complex dental anatomy or need significant bite correction.
  • Increased Personal Accountability: Invisalign undoubtedly requires a large amount of discipline than traditional braces because there is a real temptation to stop wearing your aligners or take them out for a few extra hours each day. If you’re the type of person who can easily justify not wearing your braces or worry that you’ll constantly forget to take them with you, then Invisalign is not the right choice. 

Metal BracesMiddle aged man smiling with white teeth

Pros: 

  • Durability: While metal braces may not be as beautiful as their invisible counterparts, they are solid and hold up over time. With these tried and tested styles, you don’t have to worry about accidentally ripping or biting through an aligner.
  • Simplicity: When you wear metal braces, you wear them for the entire duration of your treatment. Once your Vallejo orthodontist attaches the brackets to your teeth, they’re there to stay—which means you don’t have to worry about feeling tempted to remove them or remembering to cycle through different aligners.
  • Versatility: Unlike Invisalign clear braces, metal orthodontia is excellent for patients with issues of all different complexities. If you have a severe overbite or underbite, extreme crowding, or another more complicated condition, metal braces can correct your bite in a way Invisalign cannot.

Cons:

  • Dietary Restrictions: Braces are notorious for limiting your food options. Because chewy, sticky, or hard foods can break a bracket or ruin a metal wire, your Vallejo dentist will recommend certain foods to avoid during your orthodontic treatment.
  • Visibility: There’s no doubt about it: braces are more noticeable than Invisalign aligners. If you’re worried about how silver metal will affect your appearance or have concerns about looking less professional at work, regular braces might not be best for you.
  • Trips to Your Dentist: Your dentist needs to tighten your braces about once every four weeks, and they can only do this while you’re in the dental chair—which means more frequent visits to the dentist’s office than with Invisalign.

Speak With a Dentist About Invisalign in Vallejo, CA 

We understand that choosing which type of orthodontia to go with is a big decision, and you’ll probably want to speak with at least a dentist or two to get their opinions and feedback. When you have questions about metal and invisible braces in 94590, our friendly dental team would love to speak with you! 

Please feel free to contact us at (707) 643-2660 Monday through Thursday of every week to schedule a visit with one of our Vallejo dentists. We look forward to meeting you!

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