Invisalign has become a very popular option to straighten teeth without braces. What's not to like? It's virtually invisible, less painful and can be as effective as braces! There are however very important differences between the two options. Are you not sure which option is better for you? Hopefully, this journal post will help you make a decision, but ultimately, it's best if you visit our office and we will gladly answer your questions and make a recommendation based on your lifestyle and needs.

Whether you’re an adult who had braces before as a child and stopped wearing retainers (remember those?) or you’re simply considering orthodontic treatment for the first time, Invisalign seems like a very appealing option (for a very good reason). Adult orthodontics is becoming more and more popular especially with modern day technologies that make orthodontic treatment less visible, less uncomfortable and significantly shorter. On the other hand, your teenage daughter or son may need orthodontic treatment but are not too excited about getting braces for one reason or another. Invisalign may be an excellent alternative to traditional braces in these cases as well. Whatever the case may be, it is important to understand the differences between Invisalign and traditional braces before committing to either option.

What is Invisalign anyway?

Invisalign is an orthodontic treatment system that utilizes 100% customized clear trays (aligners) that can gradually move teeth. A digital 3-dimensional scan of your teeth is used to design a plan that will move your teeth from point A (crooked) to point Z (perfectly straight). This plan should be put together by your treating provider. This is a very important point to consider given that a provider with limited experience or knowledge in orthodontics may and probably will not be able to design a successful plan the same way an experienced orthodontist can.

Tip #1: Ask your provider if he/she is a specialized orthodontist. Also, ask to see examples of their work!

Over the years I have seen many patients who have had negative experiences with Invisalign. “It doesn’t work!” they complain. Well, Invisalign really does work. The reason it did not work is usually a combination of poor case selection, inadequate planning and inconsistent wear. More details on that later, but what you should know is that it is an incredibly sophisticated system and is extremely effective in the right hands.

Tip #2: Beware the cheaper/less effective Invisalign knockoffs.

What may look like Invisalign is not always Invisalign. SmileDirectClub or clear aligners made at your dentist or orthodontist’s lab or someone’s garage are not nearly as effective and in our humble opinion should be avoided as much as possible. For more on that please click here.

So now the question is, how should you choose between Invisalign or braces?

Braces may be a better option in the following cases:
1. Complex treatments requiring major tooth movement (e.g. extraction cases)
2. Severe overbite or underbite
3. Less than adequate compliance expected with aligner wear
4. More “precise” finish is expected

Invisalign may be the better option in the following cases:

1. Less visible, more cosmetic treatment is preferred
2. More limited tooth movement is needed
3. Presence of of several restorations, crowns and/or veneers
4. Metal allergy
5. Concern about hygiene with braces. Invisalign allows brushing/flossing as usual

Tip#3: Invisalign aligners must be worn daily for at least 20-22 hours.

This is obviously a big commitment and a lifestyle adjustment. If you have any doubts you can do this then may be you should consider traditional braces instead. Interestingly, teenagers seem to commit really well to Invisalign and do a good job wearing their aligners (they know what the alternative is).

Tip#4: An orthodontist is a dentist specialized in straightening teeth, fixing bites and improving smiles

Your dentist may provide Invisalign as a treatment option. While it’s really hard to predict the future but with an orthodontist at least you have the peace of mind that straightening teeth and smiles is what an orthodontist was trained to do. We at Band & Wire Orthodontics specialize exclusively in Invisalign and braces. Our approach is comprehensive and is a lot more than “straightening teeth”. We consider your oral health, your bite, your smile, your facial profile and the stability of your teeth after treatment.

How do I know what's best for me?

Come and see us for a complimentary smile consultation. After a thorough exam, smile evaluation and getting to know you, we will understand your expectations and lifestyle and make a recommendation accordingly. To learn more about our smile consultations please click here. Please call us or book your free consultation online. We look forward to meeting you and we promise to do our best to help you choose the best treatment option for you!

Dr. Ramzi Daibis is a board-certified orthodontist and the owner of Band & Wire Orthodontics in Clarendon Hills, IL. He specializes exclusively in Invisalign and braces for children and adults. Band & Wire Orthodontics serves Clarendon Hills, Hinsdale, Westmont, Downers Grove, Oak Brook, Willowbrook, Burr Ridge, Western Springs, La Grange, La Grange Park and Chicago.