1007 R.R. 620 S. Suite 201 | Austin TX
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1007 R.R. 620 S Suite 201

Austin, TX 78734

The Ultimate Guide To Braces vs Invisalign®

DR BRIAN BOLERJACK ANSWERS TOP QUESTIONS

 

What are the pros and cons of Invisalign® vs traditional braces?

Compared to traditional braces, Invisalign® is more esthetic, has less emergency visits, and typically fewer scheduled office visits are required during treatment.
Braces can be uncomfortable on the cheeks initially and can be knocked off if eating something hard. In addition, the braces require more oral hygiene efforts to keep everything free of plaque. However, braces can be more efficient at correcting complex bite issues, resolving severe crowding, closing large amounts of space, and are preferred when orthognathic jaw surgery is required as part of an orthodontic treatment plan.

Invisalign® vs braces – How do I know which will be the right choice?

The only way an individual (a teen, parent, adult, grandma, whomever!) will know if Invisalign® or braces are right for addressing her concerns about her teeth is by scheduling a complimentary consultation with a Board-Certified Orthodontist and discussing treatment needs and goals after a comprehensive examination. This is often accomplished in a single visit with an orthodontic specialist. Not only must a patient be a good candidate for the clear aligner treatment, but they must also be self-motivated to achieve the best result possible. To effectively move teeth as prescribed, aligners require being worn 22 hours per day (full time except when eating or brushing), 7 days a week, for the entire duration of treatment. Achieving the goals of an ideal and improved smile through successful orthodontic treatment with a tool such as Invisalign® will require several things by a patient:
• Patience for the time it takes for treatment
• Dedication to following the on-going usage and maintenance requirements of the aligners
• Commitment to working with their orthodontic team to reach a positive treatment outcome.

How does an Orthodontist determine which option will help me best?

During an initial patient consultation, the orthodontist and patient must both determine what the treatment needs and goals are before deciding on whether to use Invisalign® or traditional braces. The orthodontist must look at the specific and individual problems, needs and concerns of each patient prior to choosing one method of correction over the other. Quite often large corrections in the bite with the removal of teeth and/or severe rotations can indicate that braces are a better option. Impacted teeth (those that won’t erupt through the gums on their own) are better suited for braces as well. As always, every patient’s situation is unique, so the final decision on treatment choice can’t be determined until after a thorough consultation with the orthodontist.

What does an Orthodontist look for first when assessing a patient?

As an experienced orthodontist, I take the following things into consideration when determining which method of treatment is appropriate for an individual: the complexity of the individual patient’s bite, the initial mal-alignment (crookedness) of the teeth, smile esthetics, the position of the upper incisors relative to the lips, lower facial balance, as well as the individual’s personal needs and desires for treatment. I then try to match their treatment solution to their personal preferences as closely as possible. Most teens and adults come into my office desiring to be treated with Invisalign® if possible, and for that reason I have relentlessly pursued the technology and continuing education that allows me to treat a wide variety of patients with Invisalign® should they choose. I have spent more than 300 hours in all-day lectures, webinars, and national Invisalign meetings, learning from the top Invisalign providers in the world. We have invested in a state-of-the-art iTero digital scanner which allows us to capture a record of the patient’s teeth without the need for traditional impressions, and allows aligners to be manufactured as quickly as possible. If I believe their treatment result will be drastically different by choosing one option or another then I will work to educate my patients on the pros and cons of each treatment method and find something to deliver the best result possible.

How well does Invisalign® work for adults and teens?

Invisalign® works extremely well for adults and teens! The major determining factor in treatment is the number of hours spent in the aligners (meaning how long the aligners are spent in place on the patient’s teeth.)Using them less than the recommended amount of time will always result in the teeth not moving the full extent of the orthodontist’s prescription. If a tooth is having trouble with a particular movement, the treatment can always be redesigned to take a different approach at no additional cost to the patient.

What is the average treatment time for Invisalign® vs regular braces?

The average treatment time for either option depends largely on the complexity of treatment needs of the individual. That being said, full Invisalign® treatment is generally 12-18 months. Traditional braces treatment can take anywhere from 16-30 months.  On average for Invisalign® for Adults, how many appointments are needed on what interval to complete treatment? Generally the average Invisalign patient will come into the office about 10 times over the course of treatment. The interval is usually around 8-10 weeks between visits once the treatment is under way. This includes delivery of retainers. What types of things can be done to speed up the treatment time?  We have a few options, which includes the advanced technology of Propel® and Acceledent®.  Propel is used to stimulate the bone in localized areas to allow for a quicker biological response which speeds up the rate of the tooth movement. It generally requires 2-3 visits of in office application, at their regular visit, and can increase the tooth movement in the area of application by up to 40%. Acceledent® is a small mouthpiece with a micro pulsing motor that is used by the patient every night for twenty minutes. The stimulation to tooth movement is noticeably faster by up to 50%. These options can be used with either braces or Invisalign® and when used, has reduced the treatment time.

Invisalign cost vs braces – What are the differences on cost?

The treatment fee for Invisalign and braces is comparable at my office because I choose not to force people to make an important health care decision based on finances alone. Choosing to pursue orthodontic treatment is an important decision that can significantly improve the oral health of an individual and psychological well-being. I want my patients to have one less variable to consider when deciding what direction their treatment will go. I want my patients to know that I will work as hard as I can to ensure they are happy with their result, no matter what treatment method they choose!

What if I had braces previously and my teeth have moved? Can I get Invisalign®? How long would it take/cost?

If the teeth have moved since a first round of orthodontic treatment then it should not have any impact on the future ability of the teeth to move with either invisalign® or braces. Invisalign® is often a perfect solution for those with relapse or movement of the teeth after an earlier round of treatment. The cost is related to the complexity of the individual’s specific needs in either case.

Dentist or Orthodontist? The Lakeway Orthodontics Difference

At the end of the day, Invisalign aligners, clear braces, metal braces, retainers, and anything else someone can develop to apply force to teeth, are just tools in an orthodontist’s arsenal to treat malocclusions. You should only trust someone to move your teeth that has been properly trained to do so. Orthodontists are the only qualified dental specialist in moving teeth and aligning the jaws and bite, and receive multiple years of advanced training to learn how to do so effectively, efficiently, and safely. I think it speaks for itself that all the dentists in my area prefer for their children to be treated by an orthodontist.