Braces or Invisalign: Which Option Is Right For Me?

Have you been thinking about orthodontic treatment for yourself or someone you love? Taking the first steps towards a straighter smile is a big decision, and you should have all the information you need to make the best choice for your family. That’s where Moffett & Walley Orthodontics truly shines! Our practice is proud to offer families throughout Jackson and Madison a free consultation with one of our experienced orthodontists. 

During this initial visit, you’ll be able to discuss any concerns you have with Dr. Moffett or Dr. Walley. They’ll be happy to answer your questions about the treatment process as well, including the options available to you. To learn more about braces, Invisalign clear aligners, and the basics of orthodontics, keep reading below!  

How we use braces and Invisalign to achieve straighter smiles 

These two orthodontic appliances may look very different, but braces and Invisalign clear aligners actually work in a similar way. They’re both designed to move the teeth into the desired positions by applying gentle force to them over time. This will eventually bring your teeth and jaw into alignment, improving the appearance of your smile and the overall function of your mouth. While the basic mechanisms have many similarities, there are also some significant differences between these two treatment methods.  

Traditional braces

Traditional braces have been around for a very long time, and have a proven track record of successfully correcting a wide range of orthodontic issues. Braces are what we call a fixed orthodontic appliance, which means the brackets are affixed directly to the teeth using a bonding agent. A flexible wire runs through them, which is used along with tiny elastic bands to shift the teeth into more optimal positions. 

Modern braces have undergone a major makeover in recent years. Not only is the appearance improved, but they’re also more comfortable and effective than previous versions. Here at Moffett & Walley Orthodontics, we offer two different types of braces to fit every patient’s needs: traditional metal braces and clear braces. While the treatment time with braces will always vary from case to case, the average tends to be anywhere from 12-36 months. 

Caring for traditional braces can come with a bit of a learning curve. This is especially true when it comes to brushing and flossing around the brackets and wires! Although this will become easier with a little practice, there are also a variety of accessories available for braces patients. This includes tools like water piks to help rinse those hard-to-reach areas and ortho picks for braces-specific flossing.

Food restrictions are another essential part of oral care with braces. Throughout the treatment process, patients will need to avoid anything crunchy or sticky, as these foods can damage the brackets and wires. That means favorites like raw vegetables and fruits, popcorn, and gum are off the menu until the braces are removed. This can be frustrating for some patients, but it’s only temporary and there are still plenty of orthodontic-approved treats available! 

Patients in traditional braces can expect to visit our office for follow-up visits every 6-8 weeks or so. One of our doctors will ensure that everything is progressing according to the treatment plan, then change the bands attached to the brackets. We may replace the wire at this time as well. These adjustment appointments generally don’t last more than an hour, but they’re an essential part of treatment and help ensure the best results in the shortest amount of time possible.  

Braces or Invisalign: Which Option Is Right For Me?

Invisalign clear aligners

Invisalign is our most popular alternative to traditional braces, and it’s not hard to see why! Instead of brackets and wires, this innovative system uses a series of removable clear aligners to straighten smiles. These aligners are a removable orthodontic appliance, and custom-made to fit snugly but comfortably over a patient’s teeth. Because the thermoplastic material they’re made of is smooth, it won’t irritate the gums or cheeks the way braces sometimes can. Most patients adjust to their aligners quickly.

Like braces, the treatment time with Invisalign will vary based on the particular case and how the patient responds. However, the average time in aligners tends to be somewhere between 12-18 months. Invisalign differs from traditional braces in that the treatment time depends in part on patient compliance. Invisalign patients must keep their aligners in for 20-22 hours every day throughout treatment. Each aligner also needs to be switched out for the next in the series every 1-2 weeks. Failure to do so can lead to a longer treatment time and less optimal results.

Because Invisalign aligners are removable, they’re incredibly easy to care for! They’re designed to be taken out before eating and drinking anything other than water, so patients don’t have to worry about food restrictions. Aligners are also removed before brushing and flossing, which makes dental hygiene a much quicker and simpler process. 

Like braces patients, Invisalign patients will be scheduled for regular follow-ups with our doctors. These are usually every 8-12 weeks. Skipping appointments or missing scheduled aligner changes can quickly undo any progress made in treatment, so it’s important to keep up with these visits.

Braces or Invisalign: Which Option Is Right For Me?

Find the best options for your family with Moffett & Walley Orthodontics

Traditional braces and Invisalign clear aligners each have their own list of pros and cons, but both options can be a wonderful way for patients to improve their oral health, achieve a straighter smile, and help their mouth function more optimally. 

If you’re in Jackson, Madison, or the surrounding communities and would like to learn more about our treatment options, get in touch today to schedule your FREE consultation with Dr. Moffett or Dr. Walley! Our expert team is here to help you find the most effective solution for straightening your smile.