Are conventional braces a better option?

As the orthodontic market changes and new products and treatments appear, it is easy to imagine that conventional braces will soon disappear from sight. But many dentists will still recommend them to patients. Is this simply because they feel more comfortable recommending a product they are familiar with? Or is it because conventional places still hold advantages over new treatments like Invisalign?

The answer is probably a little of both. Reassuringly, most dentists would prefer to recommend the right product for the long term, rather than simply the best looking product in the short term. So they will often recommend conventional braces unless their patient is adamant that aesthetics, comfort or cost are more important.

One of the other reasons why many dentists still recommend conventional braces rather than Invisalign is because Invisalign is not able to correct really severe orthodontic cases. The aligners are thin, lightweight and exert less force that conventional brackets. Sometimes, if a tooth is severely rotated or twisted, for example, the aligners cannot exert enough force to move it fully into the optimal position.

Add this to the fact that Invisalign aligners are removable, which increases the potential for the treatment to have less effect, and in a lot of cases dentists will err on the side of caution and recommend conventional brackets. They may not be as attractive, but they can be more dependable.

Having said that, in cases where Invisalign is appropriate and can produce the right results, there are other elements that also work in its favour. For example, research shows that conventional braces can actually contribute to tooth decay. Because they are fixed in place and they operate via intricate wire, bracket and elastic mechanisms, food gets trapped and is very difficult to remove.

Here’s where your removable aligners become an asset. Removable aligners mean that most people can avoid decay, because their teeth are easier to clean and their aligners are changed regularly. Similarly, with fixed braces, many patients can experience pain, soreness and inflammation of the gums because the braces are continually being tightened. Invisalign is far more comfortable to wear and less painful to fit.

Ultimately, there is no doubting that the Invisalign system provides a more enjoyable patient experience than conventional braces. It’s more comfortable, less painful, faster and more discrete. However, all those factors put to one side, you have to be sure that it will generate the results you want. Otherwise, conventional braces may prove to be the better option.