Should I Choose Braces or Invisalign?

When you’re told that you or your child may benefit from orthodontic treatment, navigating the options and choices ahead of you may be more intimidating than actually undergoing the procedures. At Central Virginia Orthodontics, we believe that you should have as much information and resources as you need to begin your orthodontic journey successfully. Knowing whether you should choose braces or Invisalign is a big decision and our team is here to help!

Dr. Eric Baugher and Dr. Jennifer Claiborne are committed to helping you explore all the orthodontic options available to you and creating a personalized plan based on your specific needs and goals! The first step is scheduling an initial consultation at our Lynchburg office. During this visit, you’ll have the chance to discuss your concerns with our doctors and other staff members, including topics such as: 

  • how orthodontic treatment will change your smile
  • which treatments will best fit your needs
  • what payment options are available to you
  • differences between popular treatments like metal braces and clear aligners

Traditional metal braces and Invisalign clear aligners tend to be our most frequently chosen treatment options, so we’ll be taking a look at the pros and cons of each! Having this information will help you decide which treatment option would be the best fit for your unique smile. Keep reading below to learn more! 

Orthodontic Treatment: The Basics

Braces and aligners like Invisalign both do their job by applying gentle force to your teeth, shifting them over time into more optimal positions. Aligning the teeth and jaws in this way will gradually improve the appearance of your smile and your overall oral health. 

Traditional braces have been used for hundreds of years in various forms. Because of this, they have a well-established reputation for successfully correcting a variety of orthodontic issues, and are well-suited to treat anything from mild to very severe cases. 

Though Invisalign is a newer treatment method, this innovative system has grown in popularity with teens and adults over the last twenty years. Braces and Invisalign are both excellent options for anyone interested in achieving a beautiful smile, but there are some important differences between them.

Traditional Braces 

Traditional braces have seen a multitude of improvements to their size, shape, and even color over the years. That means this effective treatment option is more functional and adaptable than ever! Traditional metal braces are useful for correcting a wide range of orthodontic issues, especially more complex or severe cases. Every patient will respond to treatment in their own way, treatment durations will vary. However, the average patient can expect to spend anywhere from 18-36 months in braces. 

Braces can come with a bit of a learning curve. There are certain foods that you will need to avoid throughout your treatment, like crunchy or chewy foods which can damage the brackets and wires. You’ll also need to adjust your dental hygiene routine. It can be tricky learning to navigate around braces, particularly where flossing is concerned, but this is an essential skill to ensure that your treatment succeeds. 

Fortunately, there are a variety of accessories available to make cleaning much easier! Waterpiks help rinse inaccessible places while ortho-picks simplify flossing for you. It may seem a little overwhelming at first, but don’t worry—these precautions will become part of your daily routine before you know it. 

At Central Virginia Orthodontics, we also offer clear braces to our patients. These work the same way as metal braces but are made from clear ceramic materials that blend in with your smile. Clear braces are an excellent option if you’re worried about orthodontic treatment making you stand out.  

Since ceramic brackets are about the same size and shape as metal brackets, they’re just as effective to straighten your smile. However, since the material they’re made of can be more prone to chipping, we typically recommend clear braces for older teens and adult patients. 

Invisalign Clear Aligners

There are two major reasons why, year after year, Invisalign aligners prove to be our most popular alternative to braces: they’re nearly invisible, giving patients a more subtle way to straighten their smile; and they’re removable, providing a level of freedom that other treatment methods don’t. The smooth material that clear aligners are made from tends to be more comfortable than traditional braces, as the SmartTrack plastic tends to be less abrasive on lips, tongues, and gums. When worn as directed, Invisalign aligners are just as efficient as braces at correcting many of the most common orthodontic issues. 

Just like braces, the total treatment time for Invisalign patients will vary from case to case, but the average is anywhere from 9-18 months. The number of aligners needed will depend on your unique needs, how compliant you are with the guidelines, and how your mouth responds to treatment.  

Because Invisalign aligners are removable, they’re extremely easy to maintain. They’re designed to be removed when eating or drinking anything other than water and before brushing and flossing. Since you don’t have your aligners in during mealtimes, there are no food restrictions. You can continue eating all your favorite snacks as long as you’re prudent about cleaning your teeth before replacing your aligners. This makes eating and caring for your teeth a less restrictive, less frustrating process!  

If you select Invisalign for your orthodontic procedure, follow-up appointments with Dr. Baugher and Dr. Claiborne won’t be as frequent as they would be with braces, but they’re just as important! Aligners must be worn for 20-22 hours each day and switched out every 1-2 weeks in order to be successful. Because they’re custom-designed to fit each patient’s unique needs, these frequent changes are necessary in order to keep up with movement as it occurs in the mouth. Skipping appointments or missing scheduled aligner changes can negate any progress you’ve made, so don’t forget to keep up!

Find the Best Fit For Your Smile with Central Virginia Orthodontics

Clearly, both traditional braces and Invisalign clear aligners have many advantages, depending on your situation. Our expert team is happy to discuss your options with you in further detail, and will only recommend the treatment they feel is best for your specific smile. Our customized treatment plans are built around your unique needs, lifestyle, and goals, so you can achieve a smile that looks and feels great in the shortest amount of time possible!

If you’re ready to discover the best treatment for your smile, get in touch today to schedule a complimentary consultation with Dr. Baugher and Dr. Claiborne. Our team is committed to keeping your mouth healthy and aligned for a lifetime of beautiful smiles!