Invisalign vs Braces

Traditional braces are metal wires and brackets (both metal and clear) that are bonded to the teeth. The brackets are not removable. Brackets can cause soreness and irritation to the inside of the lips, cheeks and tongue. There are limitations on what patients can eat or chew while in traditional braces (popcorn, chips, gum) these types of foods can loosen brackets and damage wires. Brushing, flossing and overall good oral hygiene are a challenge especially in school age children due to non compliance.

In the other hand, Invisalign is a series of specially designed clear custom fit trays. Because they are clear the teeth can be straightened with out anyone even knowing you are wearing braces. They can be removed to eat, drink, brush and floss maintaining excellent oral hygiene. But it comes with other certain limitations. i.e. is not successful in all cases.

Let’s be clear: If you have a screw, you need screwdriver.   But if you have a nail, you need a hammer.

The 4 Primary Differences between Invisalign and Braces capabilities:

1.  Invisalign cannot predictably control any changes in back tooth bite relationships. In fact, it can really cause back tooth bite problems if you try to move the back teeth and fall short of your goals. Braces can control back tooth bite relationships readily.

2.  Invisalign cannot predictably rotate cylindrical teeth (such as canines and premolars) because it lacks predictable “friction grip”, but invisalign can readily rotate angular teeth, such as incisors, because this does not require grip….it only requires point force at a distance away from the center of the tooth.  Example:  USING 1 finger from EACH hand, try to turn a drinking glass that is cylindrical versus one that has 4 sides.  With the cylindrical glass, you will need to try to squeeze your fingers toward each other (producing friction grip) to rotate the cylindrical glass.  With the 4 sided glass, you only need to apply forces in opposite directions at the square corners of the glass….no friction grip needed.  That is why Invisalign cannot rotate cylindrical objects predictably.  Braces, on the other hand, are glued to teeth, and therefore have absolute friction, and can thereby rotate any tooth.  Voila!

3.  Invisalign cannot predictably accomplish uprighting root movements: I don’t know how to effectively communicate that in text.  It would require a picture.  Braces accomplish this readily.

4.  Invisalign cannot predictably accomplish vertical movements, as the aligner is designed to release in the vertical plane of space.  Braces accomplish this readily.

To conclude, it appears Invisalign is more efficient for patients that do not need Bite correction, rotation of cylindrical teeth, root uprighting, or vertical tooth movements.

It is highly unlikely that Invisalign company does not know these limits.  As such, they have produced “buttons” (glued onto teeth like braces) that are meant to “improve” these weaknesses.

If you think you need orthodontic treatment, please consult with an orthodontist first before making any decision. Offices of Abar Orthodontics in Pinole and Oakland serves East Bay and we have patients from all over the State, because of the quality of Dr. Abar’s work. We have patients coming all the way from Southern California to visit Dr. Abar.

Please let us know what you think about this post. and read original articles here and here.

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