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Braces & Invisalign: Similarities and Differences

by | Aug 2, 2018 | Braces, Invisalign®

Without question, two of the most popular orthodontic treatment methods used today are conventional braces and Invisalign®. While both of these treatment methods work in the same basic way, by applying consistent pressure to the teeth to move the teeth into the most optimal position, there are some key differences between the two.

Conventional Braces

Conventional braces consist of stainless steel brackets that are cemented to the teeth for the entire treatment process. A thin archwire runs through the metal brackets to help move the teeth into the desired position. Braces can be used to correct several types of orthodontic problems including:

  • Crowded teeth
  • Misaligned teeth
  • Rotated teeth
  • Angled teeth
  • Gapped teeth
  • Protruding teeth

Patients wearing conventional metal braces must visit their orthodontist every few weeks to have the archwire tightened. These adjustments can be somewhat uncomfortable. The mild discomfort felt after having the braces adjusted typically lasts for a few days following these appointments.

It is very important for people wearing conventional braces to do a good job of brushing and flossing. This is because bits of food can easily become trapped in all the nooks and crannies making up the braces. If these particles of food are not removed, it can lead to a buildup of plaque, which raises the risk for developing tooth decay. Additionally, people wearing conventional braces must avoid eating certain foods that can damage or break the brackets and wires on their teeth like hard, crunchy, sticky and gooey foods. The time it takes to move the teeth with regular braces can be anywhere from six months to two or more years, depending upon the severity of the problem(s) being treated.


Invisalign® consists of a series of clear, removable aligners that are made of a smooth plastic material. Each set of aligners is designed to be worn for about two weeks, before the patient moves on to the next set in the series. As the patient moves from one set of aligners to the next, the teeth are moving step-by-step, until they’re in the most optimal position that was carefully planned out by the orthodontist.

Invisalign® aligners are designed to be removed when eating and when brushing and flossing. This means there are no food restrictions to worry about not any problems associated with maintaining good oral hygiene. And since the aligners are clear, Invisalign® treatment is very discreet. In fact, most people don’t even notice when someone is wearing Invisalign® as the aligners are virtually invisible.

In order for treatment to be successful with Invisalign®, it is imperative that the aligners are worn for at least 22 hours every day. Patient compliance is a “must” so anyone interested in improving their smile with Invisalign® must be 100% certain that they can comply with wearing the aligners as directed.

Invisalign® can be used to treat mild to moderate orthodontic problems including:

  • Gapped teeth
  • Overbites
  • Underbites
  • Open bites
  • Crossbites
  • Crowded teeth

Invisalign® is not an option for people with large gaps between the teeth, severely rotated or angled teeth or those with severe open or overbites.

Just like with regular braces, the treatment time with Invisalign® varies from one patient to the next. However, on average, it takes about one year to complete treatment with Invisalign®.

Set Up Your First Visit With WGM Orthodontics

If you’re ready to being the process of achieving your most perfect smile with orthodontic treatment, please schedule an appointment with us! At White, Greer and Maggard Orthodontics, we make it easy and convenient to improve your smile as we have several Kentucky orthodontic office locations from which to choose! Simple choose the office nearest you and then contact us to set up an appointment time. During your first visit, we will provide you with a thorough exam, followed by a discussion of our findings and your potential treatment options. We look forward to meeting you soon and giving you plenty of reasons to smile!

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