Invisalign Versus Metal Braces: Which Is The Most Appropriate Choice For Your Teenager?

18 May 2017
 Categories: Dentist, Blog


If you wore braces as a teenager or if you knew people that did, you might remember how difficult it was to do so. In addition to the unfortunate appearance of metal teeth, those full metal braces were often uncomfortable to wear and made eating or drinking quite challenging. Therefore, if your son or daughter is now a teenager and facing the need for corrective dentistry, it is a good idea to understand that Invisalign braces could be a viable way to address their dental challenges in a less stressful manner than their more traditional metal counterparts. As a result, the information discussed below permit you to be sure about the decisions you ultimately make for your teen's dental health and appearance. 

Invisalign Is Appropriate For Many (But Not All) Dental Patients With Crooked Or Badly Spaced Teeth

One of the more common misconceptions about Invisalign for teens and standard metal bracelets is that they are both equally capable of doing the same job. The truth is that since they work in different ways and provide varying amounts of pressure, there are some patients who will not get the full improvements they need from Invisalign. However, that does mean that the vast majority of teenagers can safely and effectively straighten their teeth with Invisalign.  

Invisalign Provides Similar Results To Metal Braces In Many Cases, But Does So In A Different Way

Invisalign braces provide gentle pressure over a long period of time. Since they can be removed for up to two hours a day, traditional brushing and flossing can continue as it should and teens can still enjoy popcorn at the movie theater or an occasional sticky dessert with the family. The dentist will make a mold of your child's teeth and use that to make customized aligners that will be swapped out for new ones during the course of their dental treatment. As of 2016, it is now possible to change those aligners weekly instead of at the previously recommended bi-weekly intervals, which can diminish the total amount of time your teenager needs to spend using them.   

Unfortunately, the slow and gentle pressure provided by Invisalign is not always sufficient for patients with significant overcrowding of the teeth or badly gapped teeth. The same is true for persons with very severe over, under or open bites. In those instances, the more extreme and constant pressure of metal braces or similar corrective dentistry is usually the most effective and permanent way to get the desired results.    

Metal Braces Present With Their Own Distinct Challenges And Can Be Difficult To Adjust To  

Specifically, it is important to note that metal braces are worn 24 hours a day, for up to two years, with the probable need for a retainer to maintain the improved condition of the teeth for some time after the braces are removed. When the metal braces are being used, they will be adjusted about every four to six weeks and many patients report being uncomfortable after those adjustments.

In addition, the intense pressure exerted by the metal braces can change the way that the patients eats and drinks for months after getting them. Having reasonable expectations of the difficulties associated with the use of metal braces, if doing so is necessary, is essential to helping your teenager adjust to their new, and often frustrating, reality with their corrective dental appliances.    

In conclusion, Invisalign braces are often an ideal solution for today's teen who has concerns about improving the health of their smile in a comfortable and safe way, but are not always the right choice for every teenager. Therefore, if you are undecided as to whether the best choice is metal braces or Invisalign for your teenager, you are likely to find the above information to be quite useful.