Are Braces or Invisalign Better for My Smile?

Choosing to straighten your smile and improve your oral health is a big decision, and you should have all the information you need before you begin your orthodontic journey. That’s why Stacy Wolf Orthodontics is proud to offer free consultations to patients of all ages throughout our Bayside community! When you schedule an evaluation with us, you’ll have the opportunity to discuss any concerns you have with Dr. Wolf. Our expert team will also be happy to answer any questions you have about the treatment process. You can expect us to cover a range of important topics during this initial visit, including:  

  • how orthodontic treatment can change your smile
  • which treatment options will be the best fit for your unique needs
  • any payment options that are available to you

You’ll also learn more about the differences between our most popular treatments: traditional braces and Invisalign clear aligners. Since these tend to be the two options we use most often, it can be helpful for patients to understand a bit more about both! But first things first – let’s go over the basics of orthodontic treatment. 

How do braces and aligners work?

Although they look very different, braces and clear aligners are both designed to move the teeth into straighter positions by applying gentle force to them over time. This aligns the teeth and jaws, improving the appearance and function of the smile. They’re both excellent options for anyone hoping to achieve a healthier smile, but there are some important differences between them you should know before making your final choice! 


Traditional braces

Traditional braces have been around for quite a while so they have a well-established history of successfully correcting a variety of orthodontic issues. Metal brackets are attached to the teeth and held together by wires and tiny rubber bands. Modern braces have a more subtle appearance as well as being more comfortable than previous versions! Stacy Wolf Orthodontics offers traditional metal and clear braces, so there are options for every smile. 

These braces are what we call a fixed orthodontic appliance, which simply means they cannot be removed by the patient. They’re especially effective at treating more serious or complex issues! When it comes to treatment times, the total will vary from case to case, but the average with braces tends to be anywhere from 18-30 months. 

Maintaining traditional braces can come with a bit of a learning curve in the beginning. Learning to navigate brushing and flossing with all those brackets and wires can take some practice, but with patience, it will become just another part of your daily routine. There are also a variety of accessories available to make oral hygiene easier while a patient is in braces, like water piks to help rinse hard-to-reach places or ortho picks for braces-specific flossing. 

Food restrictions are another key part of this maintenance, as well—you will need to avoid anything that can damage your braces throughout the treatment process. This includes anything that is crunchy or sticky, so snacks like raw apples and carrots, certain kinds of candy, and popcorn are off the menu until the orthodontic process is complete. 

Patients in traditional braces can expect follow-up visits to our Bayside office about every 8 weeks. After we ensure everything is progressing according to the treatment plan, Dr. Wolf will change the bands attached to the brackets and may replace the wire as well. These adjustment appointments are generally pretty fast—most last no more than an hour. While there can be some slight residual soreness after each adjustment, this is only temporary. 

These visits are an essential part of treatment and help ensure the patient achieves the best results in the least amount of time possible.  

Invisalign clear aligners

Invisalign is our most popular alternative to traditional braces. Rather than brackets and wires, this innovative system uses a series of removable clear aligners to straighten smiles. These customized trays are made of smooth high-performance plastic and they are designed to fit snugly but comfortably over each patient’s own teeth. This material won’t irritate the gums or cheeks the way braces sometimes can, and most patients adjust to them quickly. 

The Invisalign system is less invasive than traditional braces, but the treatment time is still dependent on how each patient reacts to treatment. The average tends to be somewhere between 12-18 months, although of course, it can take more or less time depending on the case. With Invisalign, the treatment time will also depend on patient compliance. Those wearing the removable clear aligners must keep them in for at least 20-22 hours every day and switch them out for the next in the series every 1-2 weeks. Failure to do so can lead to a longer treatment time and less optimal results.

Since Invisalign aligners are removable, they are extremely easy to maintain. They’re designed to be taken out before eating and drinking anything other than water, so patients never need to worry about food getting stuck in between the brackets and wires (a leading cause of bacteria and decay.) Aligners are also removed before brushing and flossing, which makes dental hygiene a quicker process. This removability also means there are no food restrictions for our Bayside Invisalign patients!

Like braces patients, those in Invisalign will be scheduled for regular follow-ups with Dr. Wolf usually every 12 weeks. Skipping appointments or missing scheduled aligner changes can quickly undo any progress made in treatment, so it’s important to keep up with these visits.


Find the best fit for you with Stacy Wolf Orthodontics

Traditional braces and Invisalign aligners from Stacy Wolf Orthodontics each have their own list of pros and cons, but both can be excellent options for patients looking to improve their oral health and achieve a beautiful smile. By working with our experienced orthodontists, you are guaranteed to find the best treatment option for you. 

If you’re ready to explore everything orthodontics has to offer you, get in touch today to schedule your FREE consultation with Dr. Wolf and our expert team. We’re committed to finding the most effective solution to perfect your smile, keep your mouth healthy, and looking good for a lifetime!