Invisalign? Braces? How Painful? Sooo Confused, What Is My Best Option?

In my late 40's with my two upper incisors that are slanted over my front teeth. and a bit of crowding on my lower jaw. My ortho has said that it will take 102 weeks- 3 weeks for each set of trays ( he doesn't think 2 weeks is sufficient for adult teeth). My back molar has had a crack in it and been filled about 4 years ago. I'm worried sick about the pain of this invisalign process for 102 weeks and the possibility of the molar cracking open with the movement. Would clear braces be better?

Doctor Answers 4

Invisalign vs Braces

I'm sure there is a reason why your dentist is recommending 3 weeks for Invisalign, however even for adults generally 2 weeks is sufficient.  As far as discomfort, it is often the case that Invisalign is more comfortable given that only a certain amount of movement is prescribed by each aligner and the movements are very controlled.  It is unlikely that your molar with a crack in it will be a problem, unless the crack is into the root, in which case it will fail regardless of orthodontic treatment, so not really a concern from that point.

Ontario Dentist

Invisalign? Braces? How Painful? Sooo Confused, What Is the Best Option?

Invisalign takes a modern approach to straightening teeth, using a custom-made series of aligners created for you and only you. These aligner trays are made of smooth, comfortable and virtually invisible plastic that you simply wear over your teeth. Wearing the aligners will gradually and gently shift your teeth into place, based on the exact movements your dentist or orthodontist plans out for you. There are no metal brackets to attach and no wires to tighten. You simply pop in a new set of aligners approximately every two weeks, until your treatment is complete and you achieve the confident smile that you've always wanted. The best part about the whole process is that most people won't even know you're straightening your teeth. Sure, there are other options out there for straightening your teeth, but none offers the level of comfort, convenience and confidence that you'll find with Invisalign. And no matter what stage you're at in life, you'll appreciate how our cutting-edge approach to treatment has minimal interference in how you live, but has a significant positive impact on how you look and feel about yourself

Pamela Marzban, DDS
Fairfax Dentist

Invisalign vs Braces: Which is Less Painful?

You ask some very good questions. If your dentist is recommending three weeks of Invisalign wear per tray he could be using another product other than Invisalign. There are other clear aligners on the market and at least one of them recommends three weeks of aligner wear instead of the traditional two weeks recommended by Invisalign. Both aligner systems work well.

I personally was treated with clear aligner therapy and the only discomfort I ever felt was the first day or two after insertion of a new aligner and ONLY in the lower anterior teeth. I was treated when I was in my 40's. 

The likelihood of aligner therapy causing a cracked tooth to "crack open" is extremely unlikely; and in fact, could well help prevent a cracked tooth from breaking down further. It is also highly likely that your treatment plan may not even move back teeth but only the front teeth. 

Braces are still a great option but the downside, especially for adults, is that the whole world knows you're straightening your teeth. They are less hygienic than clear aligner therapy and while not painful are significantly less comfortable than clear aligners.

I hope this helps. Good luck!

Brad Lockhart, DDS
Tustin Dentist
5.0 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Second opinions are good

Every doctor has their own methods and preferences.  3 weeks per tray is not unheard of, but not what is taught by Invisalign.  It is not wrong, but may not be necessary.


Clear braces are certainly another option and may be more predictable with less time involved.  Without seeing you, I wouldn't know.


There will be tenderness with any form of tooth movement, there is no way around it.  Most people report that it isn't very much and would not let that stand in their way of treatment.  


Your molar will crack or not, no matter what you do or do not do.  Odds are it won't.

Lance Timmerman, DMD, MAGD
Seattle Dentist
4.3 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

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