How Do I Know If I Need Braces or Invisalign?

Orthodontic work has changed a lot in the past few decades. Back in the 20th century, orthodontics was virtually synonymous with braces in the public imagination. But that all changed when Invisalign entered the market in the early 2000s. 

Invisalign brought the concept of clear aligner treatment to the mainstream. Marketed as an attractive and convenient alternative to conventional braces, orthodontic patients love Invisalign for many reasons, including:

  • A completely inconspicuous look
  • Total dietary freedom during treatment
  • Uninterrupted brushing and flossing
  • The ability to remove aligners at any time to eat, brush/floss, or exercise

Although Invisalign is a safe and effective method to correct a variety of alignment issues, it is not the best fit for every patient. While Invisalign hardware has advanced to the point that it can treat even severe alignment problems, factors like oral health, lifestyle, and personal preference may make braces a better treatment option for certain people. This often leads to confusion over which approach is right for new patients. 

If you’ve been asking yourself, “How do I know if I need braces or Invisalign?” Beverly Hills Orthodontics has answers. 

“How Can I Tell If I Need Orthodontic Work?”

Before we delve into the differences between braces and Invisalign, it’s important to start with a more basic question: is orthodontic work right for you?

People seek out orthodontic care for a variety of reasons. For many patients, personal appearance is a huge reason to undergo treatment. Studies show that issues like overcrowding, tooth gaps, and bite problems can deeply affect how confident and happy people are in social interactions. According to one study:

  • 1 in 4 adults avoid smiling due to how their teeth look
  • 1 in 5 adults feel anxious about the appearance of their teeth
  • 23% of adults feel embarrassed of their smile’s appearance
  • 14% of adults report that they reduce social participation in general due to the condition of their teeth and mouth

These numbers all point to adverse mental health effects and a lower quality of life. If crooked teeth or a misaligned bite are causing you emotional distress, orthodontic work can boost your confidence and help reduce social anxiety. 

Beyond mental health benefits, braces and Invisalign provide many physical health benefits as well. Broadly speaking, straight teeth are easier to clean than crooked teeth and cause fewer health problems over one’s lifetime. Those with bite problems are at higher risk of developing chronic jaw pain, gum disease, dental decay, and impaired oral functions than those with properly-aligned smiles. 

Patients that correct their alignment issues with orthodontic work benefit from a lifetime of:

  • Cleaner teeth and gums
  • Better oral functionality
  • Lower risk of developing jaw pain issues

Essentially, if alignment problems are negatively impacting your mental or physical health, orthodontic treatment is right for you. 

“How Do I Know If I Need Braces or Invisalign?”

Braces and Invisalign are by far the two most popular orthodontic treatment options available today. For patients with mild-to-moderate misalignment, both braces and Invisalign are viable choices to correct the problems at hand. Severe alignment issues are a little more complicated.

In the past, hardware limitations prevented patients from using Invisalign to correct severe alignment problems. However, recent technological advancements have enabled orthodontists to incorporate Invisalign into more extensive treatment plans to correct severe problems. Called “hybrid orthodontic therapy” or simply “hybrid treatment,” these plans primarily use Invisalign aligners to move teeth into proper alignment, but also use auxiliary appliances to perform complicated movements as well. 

Thanks to these kinds of advancements, most patients today have the choice between either braces or Invisalign to correct their alignment problems. In many cases, the decision hinges on which option will better fit into the patient’s lifestyle. 

For example, patients with severe alignment issues may find that braces are an easier option than a hybrid treatment plan. Additionally, Invisalign treatment requires patients to wear aligners for at least 22 hours a day. Patients that don’t want to be bothered with that level of discipline will find braces to be a better choice. 

On the other hand, Invisalign offers a level of convenience that braces can’t match. Invisalign aligners are more comfortable, more discreet, and require fewer orthodontist visits than traditional braces. Moreover, because patients can remove their aligners at any time, Invisalign patients benefit from:

  • Complete dietary freedom (some foods can break or damage braces)
  • The ability to remove aligners during physical activity
  • Uninterrupted brushing and flossing

For a quick summary of the “Braces vs. Invisalign” dynamic, see the chart below:

Braces Invisalign
  • Can treat severe alignment problems without extra procedures or appliances
  • Always affixed to the patient’s teeth
  • Makes oral care more time-consuming
  • Limits certain foods from the patient’s diet
  • Requires monthly visits to the orthodontist
  • Requires a hybrid approach to correct severe problems
  • Can easily be removed at any time
  • Does not disrupt brushing and flossing
  • Complete dietary freedom
  • Does not require regular in-office care

Ready to Begin Orthodontic Treatment? Schedule an Appointment at Beverly Hills Orthodontics Today

If you’re wondering, “How do I know if I need braces or Invisalign?”, there is only one surefire way to learn which option is right for you—a consultation with a professional orthodontist. Whether you are dealing with mild crowding, severe bite problems, or anything in between, the staff at Beverly Hills Orthodontics can create a treatment plan that works with your lifestyle. 

Led by Dr. Monica Madan, Beverly Hills Orthodontics is recognized as one of the top Invisalign providers in the country. Offering Invisalign as well as conventional braces and accelerated orthodontic treatment, Dr. Madan and the BHO team are dedicated to serving the greater Los Angeles area with the best orthodontic care possible. Contact one of BHO’s four LA locations today to schedule a consultation.