Are Clear Braces Easier Than Traditional Braces?
Many patients who wish to correct a misaligned smile gravitate toward clear braces, due to the less-noticeable appearance. Invisalign and other aligner systems alter your appearance only minimally, and most of us want avoid metal brackets on our teeth! However, appearance aside, which type of braces is easier to live with? Which requires more effort to comply with the treatment? All types of orthodontic treatment require patients to be active in caring for their teeth and changing what (or how) they eat, albeit in very different ways.
If you’re considering orthodontic treatment and can’t decide whether clear braces are right for you—this post will help you understand the day-to-day impact of different orthodontic treatments on your life.
How Invisalign Will Change Your Life
Invisalign aligners may look and feel more natural, but your behaviors play a greater role in the success of your treatment. In order for clear braces to be effective and safe, patients must:
- Wear the aligners 22 hours per day, including when you sleep at night.
- Remove the aligners to eat or drink; only plain water is allowed.
- Brush and floss the teeth after every meal, before you replace your aligners.
- Time your meals, so you do not exceed more than 2 hours of time not wearing aligners per day.
- Clean and soak the aligners at night.
Patients who have used traditional braces and Invisalign all report that they experience two to three days of oral sensitivity. With aligners, the teeth often become sore when you switch to a new set of aligners (every two weeks); with braces it happens when the wires are tightened (every 4 weeks).
If you think you may be tempted to remove the aligners and wear them less than the required 22 hours per day, your success with the treatment will be limited. You may even have to get a whole new series of aligners created if your teeth do not move according to the projected treatment plan.
How Traditional Braces Will Change Your Life
If the outcome is what matters the most to you—and you don’t mind wearing brackets on your teeth for a year or so, you may find traditional orthodontics an easier choice to live with. With traditional braces, the changes to your everyday routines include the following:
- Avoiding chewy/sticky foods that will stick to your brackets and wires.
- Avoiding hard foods that may dislodge your brackets: hard candy, almonds, etc.
- Cutting foods into smaller pieces: apples, bagels, corn on the cob, etc.
- Visiting your dentist every month to have your progress checked and wires adjusted.
- Adjusting your daily oral hygiene routine: you must use an alternate form of flossing to clean between the teeth.
- Keeping dental wax on hand in case the lips or oral tissues become irritated by the metal. (Not all patients will need this, however.)
Ultimately, traditional braces “do the work for you.” As long as you keep your monthly appointments, don’t damage the dental work, and keep your teeth clean—your properly aligned smile will take shape over the course of your treatment timeline.
Is Invisalign Easier to Live With?
It’s certainly easier to eat the same foods you love with Invisalign—but you won’t be able to snack between meals or sip coffee or tea throughout the morning. Invisalign is most definitely “easier” on your appearance than metal braces, but it requires a greater personal commitment to comply with the requirements of treatment.
The bottom line is that some patients have an easier time with Invisalign, while others are a better fit with bracket-and-wire braces. Visit our West Covina, CA dental office and Dr. Ricardo Suarez will assess your candidacy and help you understand the benefits of the two different treatments. Contact our office at 626-414-5995 to schedule a consultation. We would love to help you choose the right orthodontic treatment to achieve a healthier and more beautiful smile!