What Is The Difference Between Clear Braces and Invisalign (Clear Aligners)?

clear aligners invisalign at dubuque orthodontics

What Is The Difference Between Clear Braces and Invisalign (Clear Aligners)?

If you are looking to straighten your teeth without wearing metal braces there are a few cosmetic alternatives to consider — clear braces or clear aligners (such as Invisalign or Spark). 

Although both options will move your teeth, they differ considerably. Each option has its pros and cons and it’s important to understand them when deciding the best treatment modality for you. We will go through a brief summary of each.

Clear (Cosmetic) Braces

clear cosmetic braces

These come in the same form as metal braces, however, they are made of a plastic or porcelain that matches the shade of your teeth. Since they are the same form they will have a similar ‘feel’ as metal braces with a more esthetic appearance. They will also have a wire that will passes through them as they do with metal braces, so the mechanics of the tooth movement are the same. 

Not all patients aregreat candidates for Invisalign and would prefer a more esthetic option. These cosmetic braces allow us to have the same control of tooth movement that we don’t always have with Invisalign in complex cases.

The process with clear cosmetic braces is the same as with metal braces, meaning we can still treat the most challenging cases and get great results.

Clear Aligners (Invisalign, Spark, DO Aligners, etc.)

invisalign clear alignersThis is an umbrella term for the clear, removable trays that move teeth. These are essentially made from high quality plastic material — meaning no wires and no braces involved!

As the ‘invisible’ aligners are made of a clear material they are virtually unnoticeable to the average person. This makes clear aligners, such as Invisalign or Spark aligners, to be the most esthetic.

The aligners are custom-made to precisely fit your teeth. We program a small amount of tooth movement into each tray to move your teeth little-by-little as you move through the sequence of trays—switching every one to two weeks.

Unfortunately, due to the features of Invisalign we don’t always have the best control of tooth movements. This reduces the predictability when treating more challenging cases.

On occasion, to increase the predictability of moving teeth, we add tooth colored bumps that act as handles for the plastic to move your teeth. These also allow the trays to ‘click’ nicely onto your teeth.

If you are looking for a cosmetic, esthetic alternative to metal braces contact our office to evaluate your options!

-Dr. E

Invisalign ®: A clear alternative…

invisalign clear aligners at dubuque orthodontics

Invisalign®: A clear alternative...

18 July 2022 | By Dr. Eric Meyer

invisalign clear aligners at dubuque orthodontics

It’s the year of 2022. 

Self-driving cars are not too far away, Elon Musk is sending re-usable rocket ships into outerspace, and we’re still moving teeth with metal? Not so fast! Align technology launches Invisalign® clear aligners in the late ’90s, howeverrrr, it’s first product is not even close to the efficiency and control that braces offer. Fast forward 20 years and the plastic is much better, the understanding of the force systems are well-studied, and features such as “attachments” (tooth colored bumps that are bonded to teeth) allow for added control. 

So are we there yet? Although it’s come along way, studies have shown that Invisalign still lacks the control that braces offer with certain tooth movements, as well as cases with higher complexity. For example, moving roots is very difficult to do with the plastic trays. This is the kind of tooth movement that would be required in an extraction case where the roots need to move to close extraction spaces. We don’t have to worry about the predictability with wires and brackets. As you already know, braces are stuck to your teeth, so you don’t have a choice. With clear aligners, you are responsible for keeping the clear trays in (for 22 hours each day I might add).

On the other hand, clear aligners allow us to digitally move teeth and even avoid moving certain teeth. For example, if a patient wants to straighten their front teeth and has a great bite in their back teeth we can maintain them that way. That is much harder to do with braces where the outcome is not precisely controlled by a sophisticated computer software and almost all teeth get a bracket. What I really like about clear aligners is the fact that patients can much better floss and brush as they are removeable. 

In summary, braces and clear aligners both have their own pros and cons. Not every patient is a candidate for clear aligners. In patients that are good candidates, Invisalign® works wonderfully. If you have a very complex case don’t worry, though! We can still predictably treat complex cases with a short phase of braces to work out the tough tooth movements, then finish with clear aligners. You get the best of both worlds!

For more information on Invisalgn®, click here, or call our office to schedule a free evaluation!

-Dr. E