Misaligned teeth can be more than just a cosmetic problem. They can be difficult to clean, they can increase your chances of tooth wear and injuries, and they can make it difficult to chew. If you have crooked teeth, gaps between your teeth, or issues with your bite, you may wonder what your treatment options are.

Two of the most popular treatments for crooked or misaligned teeth are metal braces and Invisalign. Metal braces are made up of metal brackets connected with wire. They’re attached to the front of your teeth and create slight movements that will eventually align your teeth properly. Invisalign is a series of clear trays that are replaced every two weeks. The trays gradually shirt your teeth to correct their position.

Both options have different benefits, and one isn’t better than the other in all situations. The best option for you will depend on your specific situation and what your teeth need.

Benefits of Braces

Metal braces are typically the better option for more complicated or severe dental issues. Braces can close gaps and fix bite issues, which Invisalign will have less success with. If you have large gaps between your teeth or have an overbite or underbite, your orthodontist will probably recommend braces instead of Invisalign.

Braces also are not removable, so there will be no temptation to take them out. Invisalign trays should be removed while you eat and while you brush your teeth, but they must remain on your teeth for 22 hours per day to achieve the desired results in the expected amount of time. With braces, you don’t have to be personally responsible for keeping them in because they’ll be attached to your teeth. This makes them an ideal treatment for kids who might not comply with the Invisalign guidelines. If you know that you’d struggle to keep the trays in at all times, braces are also probably the better option for you.

Benefits of Invisalign

Invisalign is a good treatment for less complicated tooth adjustments. Most people who get Invisalign only need to correct some misalignment or minor bite issues. If you mostly want to straighten your teeth for aesthetic purposes, your orthodontist may suggest Invisalign. The treatment time with Invisalign is also shorter than with traditional braces, so it could be a good choice for people who want to see results quickly. However, the shorter treatment time may be explained by the fact that Invisalign usually treats less severe misalignment.

The biggest benefit to Invisalign is that it’s almost entirely invisible. Many older teens and adults want to straighten out their teeth, but they don’t want to wear the noticeable metal braces for years. With Invisalign, no one will notice that you’re wearing aligners. Teen Invisalign is a good treatment for adolescents who will feel self-conscious about braces, and adults can benefit from the privacy of the treatment, too.

You can also eat and drink anything with Invisalign, which is not the case with traditional braces. Some chewy or crunchy foods can bend the wires or break the brackets of metal braces, so you have to avoid them for your entire treatment. With Invisalign, you’ll remove the trays while you eat and drink anything but water, so there are no limitations.

Invisalign has plenty of benefits, but it’s not right for everyone. Severe dental issues need to be treated with metal braces to achieve the best results. People who won’t stay accountable for keeping the Invisalign trays in their mouths should opt for metal braces as well. However, if you only have minor or moderate misalignment to fix and want a discreet treatment, Invisalign may be the better option. Your dentist or orthodontist will listen to your concerns and recommend the best treatment.