Straight Teeth: Invisalign vs Braces
I am the mother of three teenagers. Two of them are in the process of having their teeth strengthened. My 16-year-old daughter wears braces. My 14-year-old is currently wearing Invisalign. I’m a member of the Teen Invisalign Mom Advisory Board, and my son is receiving complimentary treatment. A lot of my friends ask me if I have a preference between Invisalign vs braces. I think there are benefits of both, but I have to say, I am leaning one way in particular.
Invisalign vs Braces
Here are some of the differences between braces and Invisalign.
- Canker Sores—Invisalign users don't experience canker sores as often as people that wear braces. My poor daughter constantly has canker sores where her braces have rubbed on the inside of her mouth. My son that wears Invisalign, hasn't had any issues with this. This is a big one. My daughter is super jealous of her brother and the ease of his treatment.
- Appliance Problems—My daughter has had bracket problems with her braces on a quarterly basis. I am not saying that Invisalign doesn't have complications. But seriously, it seems like my daughter always needs help with her braces when her ortho is on vacation or out of the office. My son has had aligners tear, but usually this is right before he is getting ready to switch them out. He doesn't have to go to the ortho unless he just started to wear a new set of aligners.
- Lost Aligners—Invisalign users can lose their aligners from time to time. I have a niece that has lost her aligners two times. My son has not had this experience yet, fingers crossed. I have threatened him with his life if he misplaces his aligners. If your child does lose their aligner, they actually get up to 6 replacement aligners at no additional cost. If you are an adult wearing Invisalign, there is a replacement cost of around $100-$150. You don't have this additional cost with braces of course.
- Eating Whatever You Want—Let's face it, you can eat so many more things with Invisalign than you can with braces. My son ate corn on the cob during our family party over the 4th of July and my daughter had to cut hers off the cob to eat it. Things are constantly getting caught in my daughter's braces and causing problems with brackets and wires. Invisalign, no problems. My son just takes them out and eats whatever he wants.
- Cost—You will want to shop around to find the best deal, but from what I have seen, braces and Invisalign cost about the same. They can range anywhere from $3,500 to $4,800 for treatment. The biggest difference in cost is that usually you don't have to put a lot of money down for braces. Dr. Jenson, from the Smile Ranch told me they charge Invisalign users 1/3 of the cost upfront. They found that if they didn't do that, that once people's teeth got to a point where the patient felt they were straight. They didn't finish treatment and pay for the remaining aligners. When they started charging upfront, the patient was more invested in wearing the aligners until his treatment was completely finished.
- Teeth Cleaning—Flossing and brushing are so much easier with Invisalign. You simply take out the aligners and brush and floss like you normally would. With braces, you have to be especially careful to get inside each of the brackets and wires.
- Visibility—My daughter is wearing the Damon clear braces. You can hardly tell she is wearing them. With the Invisalign it is almost impossible to tell if he has anything on his teeth. This is going to be especially nice since he is going into high school this year.
There are bonuses to both Invisalign and braces. From my experience, I would at least get a second opinion of whether or not Invisalign is the best choice for your family. I have been very happy with our treatment and really don't see a lot of disadvantages to wearing them. Actually, I prefer them over braces.
What are you doing to make sure you child is getting the best treatment for their teeth?
I am a member of the Invisalign Moms Advisory Board. I am receiving complimentary Invisalign treatment as part of this program. All opinions are my own and based on my own treatment experience. Full disclosure can be found here.