Have you been thinking about improving the look and function of your smile? You’re not alone.
In the last few years, adult orthodontic treatment—usually Invisalign vs. braces for adults—has become more popular than ever before. Today, one out of every three orthodontic patients is 18 or older—an all-time high in the field.
Although the American Association of Orthodontics recommends that patients begin treatment at an early age, children and teenagers aren’t the only ones who can benefit from orthodontic care. Adults can achieve the same results with Invisalign and braces as younger patients.
Self-Care = Health Care
The only major difference between child and adult orthodontic care usually comes down to the length of treatment. As long as adults have healthy teeth and jawbones, orthodontic treatment can still produce the perfect smile.
With the aid of Invisalign and braces, practices like Beverly Hills Orthodontics can eliminate any number of issues in adult patients, from mild crowding to severe bite problems. Beyond mere aesthetic improvement, the health benefits of adult orthodontic treatment include:
- Flawless teeth alignment
- Improved oral function
- Better oral health
How To Choose
If you’ve been considering orthodontic work for yourself, it’s important to understand your options. Most adult patients are likely to be eligible for today’s two most popular treatments: Invisalign and braces.
While certain factors can disqualify some patients from Invisalign treatment, most adults will be able to choose between Invisalign and braces during their initial consultation. So, how do you decide between the two?
To help future patients make the best treatment decision, we’ve created the following guide: Invisalign vs. Braces for Adults. In it, we outline the major differences between Invisalign and braces, including limitations, upkeep, and other ways they can affect the day-to-day lives of adult patients. These quick links allow you to jump ahead to different parts of the guide:
Invisalign vs. Braces for Adults
As an adult considering orthodontic treatment, you’re probably wondering how Invisalign or braces will impact your daily life. Each treatment option fits into your lifestyle in different ways.
Between work, family, and social commitments, we know that modern life can be hectic. That’s why Beverly Hills Orthodontics makes it a priority to design a treatment plan that works with your schedule. Below, we’ll take a more detailed look at how each option can affect you.
Speech and Appearance
If you are concerned that orthodontic treatments will affect how you speak, we have good news: neither Invisalign nor braces will significantly affect your pronunciation or the sound of your voice.
When speaking for the first time after your initial aligners or braces treatment, you may think you sound a bit different for a couple of hours. However, you will quickly sound normal to yourself and others afterward.
Some of our patients have reported a change in the sound of their “head voices” (i.e., the sound of their own words when speaking), but their family, friends, and co-workers can’t tell the difference. Moreover, orthodontic work may even improve your speech once treatment is over.
When it comes to personal appearance, however, Invisalign and braces have very different effects. In fact, aesthetic change is one of the biggest deciding factors between Invisalign vs. braces for adults.
Invisalign aligners are extremely discreet. They are completely transparent, and people only really notice them when they are standing close to you. On the other hand, braces are made of metal and will quickly draw the eyes of others. Although ceramic braces and lingual braces are less noticeable, braces in general will change the way you look. Two of the most popular aesthetic options we offer include UnBrace and Lightforce braces.
Lifestyle Impact: Braces
Fortunately, today’s braces are smaller and more comfortable than past models. If you are used to the way braces appear in old movies, you will be pleasantly surprised to see how much better today’s braces look!
Braces are made of three core elements:
- Metal brackets, which are glued onto teeth
- Bonding material, which is used to attach the brackets onto teeth
- An archwire, which is threaded between each bracket
By periodically adjusting the archwire, your orthodontist applies pressure to the brackets to move your teeth.
Until treatment ends, your braces will never leave your teeth. As a result, you will have to change your lifestyle a bit to accommodate them and avoid damaging the archwire and brackets. These lifestyle changes include:
- Cutting your meals into bite-sized pieces
- Avoiding hard and sticky foods
- Ideally, you should brush 5 times per day: after every meal, and at the start and end of your day.
- Rinsing your mouth after meals and using small proximal brushes can help ensure no food is stuck in between the brackets.
- Wearing a mouth guard during any physical activities
- Adjusting your brushing and flossing techniques to keep braces clean and avoid cavities
Lifestyle Impact: Invisalign
With Invisalign, you will wear a series of removable plastic aligners that are custom-made to fit your teeth. Each aligner is designed to apply pressure strategically, which gradually moves teeth into better positions.
After wearing one aligner for a week or two, you will move on to the next one until you reach the end of your set. Because clear aligners can be removed at any time, Invisalign comes with fewer restrictions than braces.
Invisalign does not have any of the same restrictions as braces. As long as you remove your aligners when appropriate, your treatment includes:
- NO dietary restrictions
- NO change in your oral care routine
- NO need to wear a mouthguard when playing sports (excluding contact sports like boxing or football)
Treatment Responsibilities: Invisalign
Although Invisalign carries very few lifestyle restrictions, it does require more personal responsibility than braces. If you choose Invisalign, you will be able to remove your aligners at any time. While you must wear them for at least 20-22 hours a day, Invisalign offers patients unparalleled freedom.
Aligners must be in place for at least 20 hours every day to apply enough pressure to move teeth. Leaving them out for longer than 20 hours a day will not only delay your progress, but you also run the risk of creating additional treatment complications.
In extreme cases, you may even need new aligners to fix the issue. If you lose or break an aligner, you will run into similar problems.
Treatment Responsibilities: Braces
With braces, you never have to worry about losing aligners or keeping track of how long you wear them. You simply follow the upkeep instructions outlined in the section above and visit your orthodontist every 4 to 6 weeks for a check-up and wire adjustment.
These regular appointments often take less than 15 minutes and establish a time for you to ask any questions and ensure your treatment is on track.
As an added convenience for those in the Los Angeles area, BHO has four offices across LA, allowing patients to choose the location that best suits their needs. Our locations include:
Have More Questions We Didn’t Cover in Our Guide?
BHO Has the Answers
Invisalign and braces are the two most popular orthodontic treatments offered today. Available to most adults, both Invisalign and braces provide patients with a lifetime of better oral health, improved oral functions, and perfectly straight teeth.
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.