German researchers give thumbs up for Invisalign®…over braces!
The Invisalign® aligner system (or invisible aligners) is an alternative to wearing wired metal braces to straighten your teeth. It offers a level of comfort and convenience unmatched by braces – which has seen this system become hugely popular in recent years. Braces are fixed while Invisalign® custom-made aligner trays are removable – for easier eating and teeth cleaning.
However, Invisalign® has limitations in its capabilities, compared with braces.
One major difference is that Invisalign® moves teeth with plastic versus metal/ceramics for braces. For more complicated dental treatments to rotate cylindrical teeth, upright root movements and correct extreme malocclusions – braces are the only effective option.
So, it’s important to understand that your suitability for either Invisalign® or braces also depends on what teeth alignment issues you have.
What methods did German researchers use to compare Invisalign® with braces?
In February 2015, German researchers (from the Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz, Germany) began an independent comparison study of 100 dental patients – who used either Invisalign® or braces. This test group was divided 50/50 between both treatments.
All patients had teeth alignment issues for which Invisalign® and braces were both suitable dental solutions.
The researchers then examined, assessed and documented the oral health, oral hygiene, dietary habits and treatment satisfaction of each patient – for a minimum 6 month period. The patients in the study followed the same oral hygiene habits. They used the same electric/manual toothbrushes, dental floss and method of brushing three times daily.
Their test results?
At the start of the study, their analysis didn’t show any notable differences in the oral health and hygiene of patients using either Invisalign® or braces.
Though, as the study continued, the researchers found that gingival health, levels of dental plaque and overall well-being were better in patients using Invisalign®. Crucial to these results, was the removability of Invisalign® aligners for unrestricted eating and more thorough teeth cleaning.
Other clinical and quality-of-life data collected from both test groups indicated that Invisalign® patients experienced less:
• gingiva and mouth irritation
• plaque accumulation
• teeth brushing time
• laughing inhibition and social anxiety
• changes in their eating habits and daily life
• speech impairment
And the conclusions?
With these study results, the German medical researchers concluded that patients treated with Invisalign® had better oral health and greater satisfaction than patients using braces. They confirmed that braces interfered with periodontal health, and complicated oral hygiene care.
In their own words, “Invisalign® patients have significantly better gingival health.” and “Invisalign® is superior for quality of life of the patients.”*
* Corresponding author: Azaripour, A., Research article: “Braces versus Invisalign®: gingival parameters and patients’ satisfaction during treatment: a cross-sectional study.”, Department of Operative Dentistry, University Medical Center of the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Augustusplatz 2, Mainz 55131, Germany.