Traditional fixed braces versus Invisalign

Traditional fixed braces versus Invisalign

If we were to ask our patients what the one thing is that they’d change about their smile, we’d say that most of them would love to have beautiful, straight teeth and a white smile. Whilst it’s relatively straight-forward to whiten teeth, it’s unfortunately can take longer to straighten them and there’s a number of different systems out there to achieve this. Here, we explore the differences between fixed braces (such as six-month smiles and Quick Straight Teeth) and clear, removable braces (such as Invisalign).

Traditional fixed braces

As most of you know, fixed braces cannot be removed. They are made up of brackets that are attached to your teeth, and a wire that is then fed through these brackets and attached in place. As the tension of the wire is adjusted, there are forces exerted on teeth and these slowly move them in the desired direction.

The biggest advantage of fixed braces over removable ones is compliance. What we mean by this is, our patients don’t have a choice but to keep them in! Also, dependant on the patients age and level of severity, fixed braces are offered on the NHS so they can be a free option and this isn’t the case with Invisalign.

Also, fixed braces may be able to fix move severe cases that Invisalign can’t. For instance, some fixed systems will work on the teeth towards the back of the mouth. Invisalign Go is a 5:5 system, which means if you draw a line in the middle of your arch (this is known as the midline) and count 5 teeth one way and 5 teeth the other, these are the ten teeth that will move.

So, what are the drawbacks? The most obvious one is they are very visible. We have lots of patients that would like a discrete system and if that’s the case, a fixed brace is definitely the wrong choice. They are restrictions with the type of foods you can eat as some may damage your teeth or get stuck in between the brace. Finally, they are more uncomfortable to wear than clear aligner and can take some getting used to as they are far ‘bulkier’ than the custom-made and fitted aligners.

Clear Braces

Many patients will see a clear brace and immediately think ‘Invisalign’. In actual fact, there are a number of systems out there but Invisalign is by far the most advanced and leading company. As a dental practice, we love working with Invisalign and are proud to say we’re now the busiest Invisalign Go provider in the UK. Yes, really!

Invisalign works by creating a series of aligners that are custom-made for the patient. Each is set in a slightly different position and slowly, but safely, move your teeth into desired positions.  You make the switch from one aligner to the next every 7-10 days as you proceed through treatment.

So, what are the advantages? Well, they are virtually invisible for starters and that appeals to many of our patients. You can decide who to tell that you’re wearing braces and that’s important to many of our patients, especially those that have customer-facing roles. Your teeth are cleaner because you take them out to eat and drink (unless it’s water), brush your teeth when you’re done and then pop them back in again.

We have so many patients that have worn both fixed braces (for instance, as a teenager at school) and then Invisalign (as an adult because they’d had some relapse….which is a discussion for another day!) and the overwhelming feedback is that Invisalign is so much more comfortable. In fact, you’re likely to even forget you’re wearing them, such is the snugness of the fit.

Every system has drawbacks, Invisalign is no different. The biggest one is commitment. You need to wear your Invisalign for a minimum of 22-hours per day or the desired movements won’t be achieved. You only take them out to eat and drink, they should be in at all other times. The vast majority of our patients are fine but some plans take a while longer because the aligners are taken out for more than 2 hours a day.

What will it be?

We’d love to make the decision for you but it’s up to you to decide! There’s only so much we can cover in this article, there’s lots more to discuss (IPR, attachments, digital scans, OPG scans, 3D video simulations etc.) about Braces in Leeds. so if you’re weighing up your options and would like some more detail, feel free to call the team on 0113 833 0417. We’d love to see you over a cuppa and discuss how we can help!


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