Which Takes Longer – Invisalign or Braces?

which takes longer invisalign or braces
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When it comes to orthodontic treatment, there are several options available, but two of the most popular are traditional metal braces and Invisalign clear aligners. While both methods are designed to straighten teeth, patients often wonder which option takes longer to complete. The answer to this question can vary depending on several factors, including the severity of the dental issue being addressed, the patient’s compliance with treatment, and the orthodontist’s experience and technique. 

This article will explore both Invisalign and braces in greater detail, providing information on how they work, possible alternatives, and which could be more suitable for certain cases.

Is Invisalign faster than regular braces?

When it comes to orthodontic treatment, many patients wonder if Invisalign is faster than regular braces. The answer is yes, in most cases. Invisalign is designed to be an effective and quick solution for addressing crooked teeth or gaps between teeth. 

Compared to traditional braces, Invisalign can take significantly less time to achieve the desired results. The exact timeframe for Invisalign treatment depends on the severity of the case, but it typically ranges from 6 to 18 months. In contrast, braces can often take 1 to 3 years depending on the severity of the issue. This makes Invisalign a more attractive option for patients who want to achieve straighter teeth in a shorter amount of time. 

However, it is important to note that the actual duration of treatment can vary depending on several factors, and patients should consult with their orthodontist to determine the best treatment plan for their individual needs.

Invisalign – How it Works

Invisalign has transformed the field of orthodontics by introducing a modern and discreet way to straighten teeth and correct malocclusion. Instead of relying on traditional wires and brackets, this innovative treatment uses a series of custom-made, nearly invisible plastic aligners to gradually shift the teeth into their desired position. 

Invisalign is used to correct a wide range of dental issues, including crooked teeth, gaps, overcrowded teeth, underbites, overbites, crossbites, and open bites. However, it is important to note that the treatment is not suitable for severe orthodontic problems and a consultation with an orthodontist is necessary to determine which option is best for each individual’s orthodontic needs.

The Invisalign treatment process begins with an initial consultation with an orthodontist, during which a 3D scan is used to create a customized treatment plan. This includes determining the number of aligners needed and the anticipated length of treatment. After this is determined, a series of custom fit aligners are created.

The aligners are worn for a minimum of 20-22 hours a day and must be removed for eating and oral hygiene. Patients change out the aligners every 1-2 weeks, depending on the specific treatment plan. During the treatment process, patients will typically visit the orthodontist for periodic checkups to ensure the teeth are moving in the desired direction. After the Invisalign treatment is completed, patients are advised to wear retainers to prevent the teeth from shifting back to their original position. 

See our review of Invisalign.

Braces – How it Works

Braces are a unique orthodontic appliance crafted to help adjust misaligned teeth and ensure optimal positioning. The designs include brackets bonded directly onto the surface of each tooth, connected via wires which deliver subtle pressure to shift the set into their proper places.

For those seeking a straighter smile, there are various types of braces to choose from including traditional metal, ceramic and lingual. Traditional metal braces are the most common and affordable option, while ceramic braces are less noticeable and blend in better with the teeth. Lingual braces are placed on the back of the teeth, making them virtually invisible from the front.

Braces are used to correct a wide range of dental issues, including malocclusion, overbites, underbites, crossbites, and gaps between teeth and they are usually used for more severe orthodontic problems that cannot be corrected with clear aligners or other treatments. Treatment time varies depending on the severity of the orthodontic problem but usually takes between one to three years.

See our article: How to Fix a Snaggletooth?

The treatment process begins with a consultation with an orthodontist, who will determine the eligibility for treatment and a treatment plan. The braces are then fitted by placing the brackets on each tooth and connecting the braces with the wire. Regular check-ups with an orthodontist are required throughout the treatment process to monitor progress and make necessary adjustments. After the braces have been removed, patients usually need to wear a retainer to prevent teeth from shifting back.

See our article: Are Regular Braces Cheaper Than Invisalign?

Alternatives to Invisalign – How Do They Work? Are they Faster than Regular Braces?

SmileDirectClub, NewSmile, and Byte are alternative clear aligner brands to Invisalign that offer faster and less expensive treatment options compared to traditional braces. Their treatment times are similar to Invisalign, with an average of 6 to 12 months depending on the severity of the case. The clear aligners used by these brands utilize the same technology as Invisalign but allow patients to order aligners directly from home, eliminating the need for in-person visits to an orthodontist’s office for appliance fittings.

Moreover, they are much cheaper than Invisalign since there is no need for an orthodontist visit or complicated fitting procedures. Furthermore, companies like SmileDirectClub, NewSmile, and Byte offer more direct access to customer support services which can make the treatment process easier and faster for patients.

An article on the Colgate website states that metal braces tend to be more effective when dealing with severe teeth straightening issues but on average the total treatment time with aligners is shorter.

After signing up online and setting up a free in-home scan or heading to an affiliated provider, customers will receive impressions of their teeth that will be used to design their custom aligners. 

The treatment process starts with an impression kit that is sent to the patient’s home. The impression kit includes instructions, trays, and putty to make an impression of the teeth. Once the impression is complete, the patient sends it back to a dental team, who will use it to create a 3D model of the patient’s teeth. Customers then receive their aligners directly from their chosen aligner brand with clear instructions on how to use them. People typically wear their aligners for two weeks before switching out for the next set. Following the completion of the clear aligner treatment, patients are typically advised to wear a retainer to preserve their newly straightened teeth. 

See our article: Can I Wear my Aligners at Night Only?

After the Treatment – Keep Your Teeth Straight Using Retainers

Retainers are an essential part of maintaining straight teeth after dental treatment with braces or clear aligners like Invisalign. Retainers help the teeth stay in the correct position and prevent them from shifting back to their original misaligned state.

The process of wearing retainers usually begins once a patient has finished wearing their braces or clear aligners and may involve nightly, weekly, or monthly wear depending on the individual’s orthodontic needs.

On average, patients should wear their retainers every night for six months after having braces removed. After that period, the time can be reduced to wearing it only a few nights per week as long as the teeth remain in alignment. It is important to wear the retainers as instructed by your orthodontist since not keeping up with wearing the retainers could result in crooked teeth again.

Retainers hold your teeth in place by creating pressure on them so they don’t move back into their previous misaligned positions over time. There are several different types of retainers available including Hawley Retainers which have a wired system on them, clear plastic retainers that fit over the teeth, and fixed bonded retainers that are fixed at the back of the teeth with a wire holding it in place.

See our article: What is the Difference Between Braces and Retainers?

Are Aligners Faster than Braces?

When seeking a solution to straighten your teeth, braces and Invisalign both offer viable options. The primary difference between them is the timeframe, Invisalign tends to work more quickly than braces, though it is not as suitable for severe cases. Therefore, you should evaluate which method is most suitable for your specific situation before making a decision.

Additionally, if you are looking for clear aligners as an alternative to braces, don’t forget to check out other types of aligner brands and not just Invisalign as these are generally much more affordable and also offer an efficient, successful treatment for resolving issues with the teeth.

Ultimately, whatever method you go with, you must get professional help and advice from a certified orthodontist before taking any action to ensure that whichever course of action you take is the best one for you and your teeth.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Does Invisalign Take to Fix an Overbite?

Each case of overbite is different but an average Invisalign treatment can correct issues anywhere from 6 to 24 months depending on the severity of the issue.



British Orthodontic Society

National Library of Medicine

Oral Health Foundation

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