Invisalign Versus Braces: Which Is Better for Sports Players, Crowded Teeth, and Overbites?

13 December 2016
 Categories: Dentist, Articles


If you have a child or teenager who needs to have their teeth straightened, then you are likely tackling the same dilemma many parents have now during this time—should you have your child's teeth straightened with Invisalign braces or traditional metal braces? While no two mouths are alike, and while your child's orthodontist will help you make the final decision, as a parent you may have questions about the choice and want answers now. Read on to learn three common questions parents have about whether Invisalign or traditional braces are best for their child's lifestyle and teeth and which your child's orthodontist may recommend. 

Are Invisalign Braces or Traditional Braces Better for Teens Who Play Sports? 

If your child plays sports, then that is a big factor to take into consideration when choosing their teeth-straightening device. When they are practicing and playing virtually any sport, there is a chance your child will get struck in the mouth by a ball or by the arm or other body part of another player. This likely already worries you, especially if your child plays a contact sport, and you don't want to have to worry about those potential blows to the mouth becoming even more dangerous due to your child's teeth-straightening device. 

While your child's orthodontist will base their recommendation for your child on many factors, most do believe that Invisalign braces are a safer option for young sports players than traditional metal braces. If your child plays a sport that does't require that he or she wear a mouthguard, then your child can simply wear their Invisalign trays while practicing and playing. If your child were to wear metal braces while playing a sport, then those brackets can cause even a light bump to turn bloody if the bracket cuts the inside of your child's mouth. Those bumps can also knock the wires and brackets that make up traditional braces loose and cause frequent emergency trips to your orthodontist to repair your child's traditional braces. 

However, orthodontists stress that if your child does wear a mouthguard while playing their sport, such as football, then you and they need to know that their Invisalign trays are never a substitute for a properly fitted mouthguard. You will have to have your child's dentist or orthodontist make a custom-fitted mouthguard for your child that they can wear over their clear teeth aligners to protect their teeth during play. 

Which Type of Braces Work Best for Crowded Teeth? 

There are unique advantages of using each teeth-straightening device to fix teeth overcrowding. For severely crowded teeth or other complex teeth problems, orthodontists often advise traditional braces. In fact, orthodontists used to advise them for all patients with crowded teeth, especially when they needed to extract permanent teeth due to severe overcrowding.

However, many orthodontists have now found ways to fix overcrowded teeth with Invisalign braces; one technique they often use is tooth IPR (interproximal reduction), or tooth shaving. This is often performed instead of permanent tooth extraction before Invisalign treatment of crowded teeth. While they were used for other purposes, interproximal reduction of crowded teeth before Invisalign treatment usually involves narrowing many teeth in the patient's mouth to make room for teeth to shift properly into a straight, even line. Interproximal reduction can be performed before your child begins wearing Invisalign or sometime in the middle of treatment. 

So if your child's teeth are moderately crowded, then Invisalign braces are a good option. However, if they are severely crowded and your child has other severe dental issues, then traditional braces may be a better option for them. 

Are Traditional Braces or Invisalign Braces Better for Overbites?

If your child has an overbite and you are familiar with how this is corrected with braces elastics, or rubber bands, which stretch from the top teeth to the bottom teeth, then you may suspect that your child will need traditional metal braces to fix their overbite. As you can imagine, attaching elastics to two clear, removable aligner trays would simply not work. However, there are now buttons and attachments that can be used along with Invisalign trays to help correct more complex dental problems than the trays alone cannot correct. Two buttons can be secured to your child's teeth—one on the top and one on the bottom—that support an elastic band, just as with traditional braces. This makes both types of braces a good option for overbite correction. 

If you know your child or teen needs to have their teeth straightened soon, then you are likely making the same decision many parents have to today. Should you have your child get Invisalign braces or traditional metal braces? While your orthodontist will make their recommendation based on a full examination of your child's mouth and all of the problems they need to correct, keep these three tips in mind when deciding which you would prefer for your child if your orthodontist ultimately decides that both are good options for your child. 

Make an appointment with a practice such as Kazmierski Orthodontics to discuss your options with a professional.