Thinking about improving your smile? Every year, millions of patients seek out orthodontic care to boost oral health and enhance their appearance. From children to adults to senior citizens, orthodontic care helps people of all ages improve their quality of life.
Today, most patients have a choice between two popular treatments: braces and Invisalign. Both options are capable of correcting the same bite problems and alignment issues, but they do so in very different ways:
- Braces use a combination of permanently attached brackets and adjustable wires to apply pressure to specific teeth. Over time, the pressure gradually moves teeth into better positions. After 12 to 24 months of periodic wire adjustments, your orthodontist will remove your braces, revealing your perfectly straight new smile.
- Invisalign repositions teeth using custom-made clear aligners. Over the course of treatment, you will wear anywhere from 20 to 40 pairs of transparent aligners (sometimes more), switching from one set to the next every few days. Each aligner brings teeth closer to perfect alignment, and by the end, your smile will be flawless.
Because braces and Invisalign are so different, patients inevitably ask us which is better. That’s a hard question to answer because every patient has unique treatment requirements. While Invisalign may be a better fit for one patient’s lifestyle, braces may be better suited for another.
In this blog post, we answer one of the most common questions we hear during consultations, “Are braces or Invisalign more effective?” Along the way, we will take a closer look at how these treatment methods work and why they excel at treating specific issues.
Q: Are Braces or Invisalign More Effective?
A: It Depends. How Are You at Following Instructions?
It’s impossible to give a definitive answer about whether one orthodontic treatment is better than another. After all, every smile is unique, and the physical properties of teeth, gums, and jaws, vary from one person to the next. Moreover, malocclusions (i.e., “bad bites,” aka tooth misalignment) come in many forms and disrupt tooth alignment in various ways.
Malocclusions (e.g., crowding, crossbite, open bite, underbite, etc.) also vary in severity, ranging from a simple tooth overlap to complex jaw problems. The seriousness of each condition can be further affected by a number of factors, including:
- Abnormally-shaped or abnormally-sized teeth
- Missing teeth
- Impacted teeth
- Physical injury
- Poor oral health
- Childhood habits (e.g., thumb-sucking, tongue-thrusting, prolonged pacifier use, etc.)
Given the diverse number of malocclusion cases and the potentially amplifying factors, it’s hard to answer—categorically—whether braces or Invisalign are more effective at straightening teeth. However, we can answer the question according to which kinds of malocclusions braces or Invisalign are more effective at treating.
Braces vs. Invisalign for Specific Malocclusions
Although malocclusion cases vary enormously from person to person, some methods are better suited to treat certain bite problems more efficiently than others. The reasons are related to the different ways braces and Invisalign work.
Invisalign aligners offer a higher level of precision when compared to braces. When creating aligners, Invisalign software allows orthodontists to target specific teeth. Consequently, one pair of aligners can move just a few particular teeth while leaving the rest in place. Such precision makes Invisalign more efficient at treating:
- Open bites
- Retroclined teeth (i.e., angled toward the roof of the mouth)
In addition to these malocclusions, Invisalign is also more effective at general bite correction than braces. That said, Invisalign alone cannot treat severe malocclusion cases.
Braces move teeth with a system of brackets and wires so the orthodontist can change their positions by adjusting the archwire to exert or release pressure. Because the wire is connected to multiple teeth, it’s difficult to move a single tooth at a time. Attempts inevitably cause the wire to move all other teeth as well.
In comparison, aligners exert only a limited amount of pressure. For significantly misaligned or impacted teeth, braces can apply enough pressure to move teeth in greater intervals. If you have severe malocclusion, braces offer a simple path toward a perfect smile.
However, sometimes the most efficient solution to these cases is hybrid treatment—a combination of braces and Invisalign. With a hybrid treatment plan, your orthodontist uses braces to move teeth into a more manageable position before removing the brackets and finishing treatment with a series of Invisalign aligners.
In other words, if Invisalign alone can’t correct your malocclusion, hybrid treatment is the most effective treatment available. That’s why you need an experienced professional like Dr. Monica Madan to design a personalized, yet efficient treatment plan to perfect your smile.
Have More Questions about Braces and Invisalign? Beverly Hills Orthodontics Has Answers
It’s hard to state definitively which treatment option is more effective at straightening teeth. Although Invisalign can treat issues like open bites and crowding more rapidly, there are cases where Invisalign requires additional measures to correct a smile. Braces may be a bit slower than Invisalign, but they can correct severe problems without requiring a hybrid approach.
Of course, there are many factors to consider beyond speed when choosing an orthodontic treatment. The only way to be certain about the option that’s right for you is by scheduling a professional consultation at a practice like Beverly Hills Orthodontics,
No matter your age or what issues you’re facing, Beverly Hills Orthodontics can craft a treatment plan that improves your smile in a quick, comfortable manner. Contact one of our four locations to schedule your consultation today, in Beverly Hills, Studio City, Alhambra, or Downtown LA.
BHO has been improving smiles since 2008 and is recognized as one of the top 1% of Diamond Plus Invisalign providers in the country — as featured on The Doctors and in Allure. Call or text us at 310-785-0770 to learn more, or visit our contact page to book an appointment.
NOTE: All blog content is intended to supplement—NOT REPLACE—the expertise of a healthcare professional and should not be construed in any way as medical advice. Consult a professional orthodontist directly, like the ones at BHO, to assess your individual needs and advise the best course of treatment.