Braces vs. Invisalign: Which one is Right for Me?

At Hall & Koppel Hot Springs Orthodontics, we know that choosing to improve your smile is a big decision. You should have all the information you need about what the treatment process involves before you begin your journey. You may be comparing braces vs Invisalign, wondering which one is right for you. That’s why we offer free consultations to every potential patient! During this initial visit to our Hot Springs office, you’ll have the chance to discuss any concerns and questions you have with our doctors. We’ll also take this opportunity to explain: 

  • how orthodontic treatment can change your smile
  • which treatment option would be the best fit for your needs
  • any payment options available to you

Dr. Hall and Dr. Koppel will also outline the differences between popular treatments like traditional braces and clear aligners. Since these are the two treatment options we use most often, it helps to know some of the pros and cons that exist with each method.  Braces and aligners both move the teeth by applying gentle force to them over time, aligning the teeth and jaws and improving the appearance of your smile. While they’re both excellent options for anyone hoping to achieve a healthier smile, there are some important differences between them. We’ll discuss these in a bit more detail below! 

Metal braces

Traditional braces have been around for centuries in various forms, so they have a proven track record of successfully treating a range of orthodontic issues. They’re particularly effective at correcting severe or complex cases. Treatment time with any appliance will vary from patient to patient, but on average, patients can expect to spend anywhere from 18-36 months in braces.

You could say braces put function over form, in that there are a number of components to deal with during treatment. Between brackets, wires, and bands, braces can come with a bit of a learning curve! You’ll need to avoid certain foods as long as you’re in the active treatment phase, as crunchy and chewy foods can damage brackets and wires. You’ll also need to adjust your dental hygiene routine. It can also take some practice to brush and floss effectively, so you’ll need to adjust your dental hygiene routine accordingly. 

The good news is, there are lots of accessories out there to make cleaning easier for braces patients! Water piks help you rinse those hard-to-reach places, while ortho-picks make flossing a cinch. While all of these changes can feel a little overwhelming at first, be patient and stay positive—they’ll be part of your daily routine before you know it!

Our practice offers traditional metal and clear braces as well as Damon Smile self-ligating braces. The Damon system uses unique high-tech wires to straighten the teeth faster with fewer adjustments and less pressure. Instead of elastic tie-ins, Damon braces are self-ligating, which means no elastic or metal ties are required! The braces are attached to a light “shape memory” wire that connects slide brackets without the pressure elastics often produce. 

The tie-ins that are used with traditional braces can sometimes cause friction and pressure. Damon braces use a patented slide mechanism to hold the archwire in place while allowing teeth to move freely and quickly without as much friction. Since there are no elastic ties, no tightening is required. Because they’re easier to clean, they’re also less likely to attract plaque. Overall, Damon Smile braces can be a more comfortable and efficient option for certain patients. Ask about the Damon system when you schedule your consultation! 

Invisalign clear aligners

The Invisalign system is a newer treatment method compared to braces, but over the last twenty years, it’s been incredibly popular with image-conscious teens and adults! The clear aligners are nearly invisible and removable, too, giving patients a measure of freedom and flexibility you can’t get with braces. When worn as directed, Invisalign aligners can be just as efficient as braces at correcting many of the most common orthodontic issues.

Like braces, the total treatment time for Invisalign patients will vary from case to case. The average time spent in aligners is about 9-18 months. The number of aligners needed will vary as well, depending on your specific needs, how compliant you are with wearing your aligners, and how your teeth respond to treatment.  

Invisalign aligners are very easy to maintain. They’re designed to be taken out before eating and drinking anything other than water, so you don’t have to worry about food restrictions. You also remove them before brushing and flossing, which means caring for your teeth as easy as it’s ever been! 

Since aligners are a removable appliance, it’s up to the patient to wear them as directed. You’ll need to keep your clear aligners in for 20-22 hours each day and switch them out for the next in the series every 1-2 weeks for the system to work. This allows them to keep up with the movements the teeth are making. Regular follow-up visits are an important part of every orthodontic journey. Skipping appointments or missing scheduled aligner changes can quickly undo any progress you’ve made.

Get a custom fit for your smile at Hall & Koppel Hot Springs Orthodontics

Traditional braces and Invisalign aligners are both capable of producing exceptional results for patients of all ages. But you don’t have to decide on your own which to choose! 

Dr. Hall and Dr. Koppel will only recommend the treatment they feel is best for your specific smile. In fact, our customized treatment plans are built around your unique needs, lifestyle, and goals. With this approach, you’ll be able to achieve a beautiful smile that looks and feels great in the shortest amount of time possible!

Are you ready to explore the treatment options we have available to you? Get in touch today to schedule your FREE consultation in our Hot Springs office.