If your teenager needs orthodontic treatment, it’s time to make some decisions. Choosing between Invisalign and braces can be tough. Each straightens teeth to improve not only your child’s, but their overall health. Here are some details on traditional braces and Invisalign Teen to help you choose.
Routine Care and Cleaning
Braces use brackets and wires to gently move your teen’s teeth into their proper positions. While this type of treatment is extremely effective at fixing even the most serious orthodontic issues, it can be a challenge to keep both the braces and the teeth clean. Specialized cleaning tools like interproximal brushes (tiny brushes that fit between teeth) and oral irrigators (e.g. Waterpik) can be used in addition to regular floss and a manual or electric toothbrush to keep the teeth clean.
Keeping your teeth and Invisalign trays clean is much simpler. When it is time to brush and floss, the trays are removed, so keeping great oral hygiene is much easier. Aligner trays can then be washed with a soft-bristled toothbrush, anti-bacterial soap, and water (be sure to use clear soap because colored soap can stain the trays). The trays can also be soaked periodically in denture cleaner, retainer cleaner, or Invisalign Cleaning Crystals, which dissolve in water. While brushing your aligner trays should be done every time you brush your teeth, they only need to be soaked about once a week.
Responsibilities During Treatment
Braces are permanently attached to the teeth until they are removed at the end of treatment, making your teen only responsible for keeping up with their oral hygiene, being careful with what they eat, and changing out the elastic bands, if they have them, between the top and bottom sets of braces. The only piece of equipment that could easily be lost would be one of the elastics, which are simple to replace.
Invisalign trays need to be removed during eating and drinking and when brushing and flossing teeth. They ca be left in when a mouthguard is required for sports. This creates many situations when the aligner trays can be lost or damaged. It is very important that your teen be responsible enough to keep track of their trays. Invisalign does provide up to six replacement trays free of charge with their Invisalign Teen product, but replacing them still takes time and may require additional trips to your orthodontist to pick them up. Your teen will also need to commit to wearing the aligner trays at least 22 hours a day for the treatment to progress as expected. This obviously isn’t an issue with metal braces.
Cost and Timeframe
Braces still remain the most affordable option when it comes to straightening teeth, and it will take anywhere from 12 to 36 months for your teen to finish treatment. Because Invisalign is a newer treatment process, and because it requires multiple sets of trays to be made instead of one set of braces, it can be more costly. Invisalign is often used to treat less severe orthodontic issues, so it may seem to have a shorter treatment time, but if the same issue is being resolved, treatment time with Invisalign may actually take a little longer because the shifting of the teeth is more gradual.
The first step in determining whether braces or Invisalign is best for your teen and your budget is to meet with an orthodontist who can go over all of the appropriate treatment plans and financing options. Call us at (843) 4-BRACES to schedule a free initial exam for you and your teen to get started.