Invisalign vs Traditional Braces: Which is Best for Your Teen?

teen braces - invisalign

Most patients who enter our Fort Collins office typically know they need some kind of orthodontic treatment, but are indecisive on whether they need traditional metal braces or the removable, virtually invisible alternative known as Invisalign. Our team at Fort Collins Family and Cosmetic Dentistry of the Rockies will thoroughly discuss both options with you and your teen during your initial consultation with us.  Whether or not one treatment is recommended over another will depend on a variety of factors, habits and individual preferences. Our team believes that each person has a unique set of needs that require individualized attention. We work with you to find the treatment modality that fits your lifestyle.  Invisalign and traditional wire braces both have great things to offer your teen.

Traditional Braces: Consider Cost and Time

Whether or not your teen has a common dental problem or a complex one, traditional dental braces can work to solve the issue(s). (Invisalign doesn’t always work for all scenarios. Some malocclusion misalignments, severe overcrowding issues, or bite problems are complex enough that traditional braces must be the initial form of treatment.)  Traditional braces are affixed to the teeth with brackets that run along a thin wire.  Braces typically offer shorter treatment times for closing gaps and aligning teeth than Invisalign.  Younger patients and teens enjoy being able to choose custom-colored bands to change up their look.  Traditional braces are also less expensive than Invisalign.  Invisalign can cost an average of $500 more than a one-year treatment with traditional braces.  

Traditional Braces: Dedication to Oral Hygiene

Traditional braces require vigilant, dedicated cleaning and care. Is your teen responsible enough to make sure they keep up on the necessary daily oral hygiene traditional braces require?  Neglecting a dedicated oral hygiene routine can permit decay to develop under the brackets or between your teen’s teeth where flossing can be more challenging. The brackets and wires inside the mouth can also foster pain, discomfort, mouth sores or injuries caused by the brace wires, plaque buildup, tooth discoloration, tooth/bracket breakage, or difficulty eating. These are all things to consider when you are trying to decide whether or not traditional braces are the right fit for your teen.  Your teen also has to be prepared to give up some of their favorite foods while they are wearing braces such as: popcorn, chips, bagels, hard-crusted bread, pizza crust, pretzels, nuts, certain candies, apples, carrots, corn on the cob, to name a few. Traditional braces may sound intimidating, but our patients will agree that although wearing braces isn’t always easy, it is worth it!

shutterstock_345988874Invisalign Treatment: Transparent and Removable

Some of the biggest reasons teens choose Invisalign is because of the freedom they allow them to retain while still getting the job done. The virtually invisible appearance of Invisalign means that no one needs to notice your teen’s braces unless he/she wants them to. They also allow your teen to eat with freedom since they remove the trays when eating. Invisalign treatment is also a great fit for teens that are active in sports where mouth injuries can occur. No metal braces means less likelihood of certain injuries. (If you decide on metal braces, using a mouthguard during physical activity is highly recommended to prevent injuries.)

Invisalign Treatment:  Preventing Tooth Decay, Comfort and Control

Being able to remove the aligners means your teen is also able to clean and floss his/her teeth more easily and prevent tooth decay. The ability to retain a healthy mouth during the span that your teen will be wearing braces will keep your teen’s teeth stronger and more resilient.  Teens also find that the plastic aligners are more comfortable than traditional braces since there are no pokey wires or brackets to rub against the soft tissues of the mouth and gums. However, sometimes aligners will develop sharp edges that can irritate the gums. Your teen can file the sharp edges or wear wax, but the soreness can prompt the removal of the aligners and delay progress. When teeth are moving they will experience some soreness. Is your teen responsible enough to keep the aligners in even when they have soreness from shifting? Invisalign does offer your teen much more control, but with that control comes a great need for self discipline. If used correctly, Invisalign can save you and your teen valuable time because your teen can change out the aligner when needed without making a trip to the orthodontist. The custom-made aligners are worn for a two-week period and then replaced by the next aligner in the series.  Each aligner does its part in progressively moving the teeth into the desired position.

Invisalign Treatment: Patient Responsibility and Cost

Success with Invisalign is largely dependent on your teen’s habits and cooperation.  Is he/she committed to the responsibility that is required for success with Invisalign? Commitment to wear the aligners for a minimum of 20–22 hours per day, only removing them for eating, drinking, or brushing teeth is required.  At first, this idea may not seem that daunting, but removing the aligners every time something is eaten, then cleaning his/her teeth and the aligners and putting them back in takes time.  Aligners can get lost or forgotten during the day. If your teen isn’t wearing the aligners consistently treatment could take much more time than traditional braces.  Invisalign treatment is more expensive than traditional braces. When weighing the advantages and disadvantages of both treatment options this difference may influence your deciding vote.   However, despite the added cost and some of the other challenges, Invisalign may be the better fit your teen and lifestyle.  You can visit the Invisalign website to read personal stories and view photos of teens (and celebrities) that are currently using Invisalign aligners to get a better feel for what you and your teen can anticipate.

Call for a Free Consultation

Drs. Willey and Murri are Certified Fort Collins Invisalign Providers and would be happy to answer any questions you have to help you determine if Invisalign is right for you and your teen. In the end, whichever orthodontic treatment you choose, Drs. Willey and Murri and the team at Fort Collins Family and Cosmetic Dentistry of the Rockies will make sure the results will be a healthier smile and a more confident teen! We look forward to guiding your smile transformation; it’s what we love!

Call (970) 223-8425 for a free consultation today!