Braces and Invisalign both have similar functions. Their job is to improve your smile by straightening and moving your teeth. While their function is similar, they have several differences in how they accomplish this. Braces are made out of wires and brackets that are not removable, except by a professional. Traditionally, the wires and brackets are made of metal and chrome colored, so they stand out against the color of your teeth, making it more obvious that braces are being worn. Invisalign, like its name suggests, is made so that it is virtually invisible against your teeth. Instead of being permanently glued onto the front of the tooth, they are clear plastic trays that can be removed at any time by the wearer. They are not made up of metal wires, instead they are custom molded to your teeth and they are trays that hug around the outside of your teeth. They are made of BPA-free clear plastic.
The amount of time that braces and Invisalign are needed to be worn in order to correct your teeth are also different. Since braces are glued to the front of the teeth and cannot be removed, they are worn 24/7 and typically are kept on for about 2 years. When Invisalign is worn for the recommended 20 hours a day, it can take far less time to straighten out your smile at only 6 to 18 months, depending on your specific needs.
Braces require a checkup at the orthodontist about once a month. Your Invisalign aligners need to be checked on about every 4 to 6 weeks, but the trays themselves are only worn for 2 weeks before they are changed out for a new set. A lot of the responsibility for Invisalign is put onto the wearer, since they are able to choose when they wear their aligners. If they do not wear them for the minimum amount a of time suggested per day, or if they do not change out their old trays for their new ones when it is time, it can affect how long it takes for their teeth straightening to be complete. Invisalign can also be set up through a trained dentist, so a visit to a specialist such as an orthodontist is not necessarily required with Invisalign.
Another area where there can be differences in experience is the upkeep and restrictions involved with wearing braces versus Invisalign. Since braces create a series of nooks and crannies on the surface of your teeth, there can be quite a few restrictions on what kind of foods you can eat while you are wearing them. Braces also require specific upkeep and daily maintenance such as flossing. Invisalign is removed when you eat, so there are no restrictions on what you eat or drink. You will still want to clean your aligners at the end of each day to keep them clean and odor free, but it is less involved than it would be with braces. If you want to see if Invisalign is right for you, call your dentist today.