Invisalign is not suitable for everyone – for example, this treatment cannot correct severely rotated teeth or deep bites. Invisalign is also not the best option for extraction cases, one exception being where a patient has an ideal bite on the back teeth but severe crowding on the lower front teeth; in such cases, removing a single lower incisor is a good plan and is sometimes better than braces.

On the other hand, braces are suitable for everyone. The gold standard worldwide for orthodontic treatment, braces can correct severely rotated teeth and deep bites and can easily close extraction spaces and align impacted teeth (such as upper canines). Generally speaking, the treatment time for braces will also be shorter than for Invisalign; this is simply because they are fixed to the teeth and not removable like Invisalign, so are constantly working.

Nevertheless, most patients express a preference for Invisalign, and that is completely understandable as the aligners are less visible than metal braces. But clear ceramic braces are on par with Invisalign when it comes to aesthetics. Therefore, if one of my patients needs to have their teeth aligned and they say they are only interested in Invisalign, it is my professional responsibility as a specialist orthodontist to inform them if, in their particular case, braces would be the preferred option.

Some patients have a genuine choice between braces and Invisalign, with braces usually being the faster treatment. So, if you don’t mind the look of clear braces and are given the option, I highly recommend clear braces. Invisalign is a great prospect for those people who know they will wear the aligners fulltime and be very diligent with their eating and brushing schedules. Such patients can eat whatever they like, but after their meal they need to brush their teeth, and ideally floss too, then re-insert their aligners, which points to the major difference between braces and Invisalign.

Braces are fixed to the teeth, so they are not removed for eating. Rather, the patient can eat whatever they like (within reason) with the braces on, and also brush and then floss after each meal. This is why braces are more suitable for most patients, and also the preferred option generally among specialist orthodontists. But don’t be fooled into thinking, for either treatment, that there is no difference between seeing a specialist orthodontist and seeing a general dentist. Both treatments are practitioner dependent: the ultimate result will depend on the skill level of the dentist treating you. Do your homework and make sure you are seeing a Dental Board–registered specialist orthodontist – all we do, hour after hour, is orthodontic treatment; we don’t perform any check-ups, cleans or fillings. Please be aware of the difference.

If you are interested to find out whether you are suitable for Invisalign, or would like to align your teeth, I would be more than happy to meet with you to discuss your options.

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