As a provider of adult braces in Stockport, Manchester, we were interested to read an article in June’s BMC Oral Health Journal about the findings of a new study, Braces versus Invisalign: Gingival parameters and patients’ satisfaction during treatment: A cross-sectional study.

The study, by researchers from Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz in Germany, compared the oral health, oral hygiene and treatment satisfaction of 50 people fitted with Invisalign clear aligners against 50 people wearing fixed orthodontic appliances (FOA).

The study only included patients who needed orthodontic treatment for longer than six months. They also had to score less than 20% on the modified Sulcus Bleeding Index (SBI) – a measure for bleeding gums – and less than 25% on the Approximal Plaque Index (API), meaning that they had non-existent to mild gum disease.

Patients were excluded from the study if they had a history of gum disease, an illness that might affect their oral health, or they were a smoker or pregnant.

The researchers also carried out various clinical examinations before and after the Invisalign treatment to measure any changes to the participants’ oral health. A detailed ‘quality of life’ questionnaire assessed their oral hygiene, diet and their level of satisfaction about their treatment.

One noticeable difference between the two groups is that the patients in the FOA group were mainly teens and young adults, whereas the Invisalign patients were older. The researchers used special methods and research models to exclude the effect of age on the outcomes of the study.

The study provided an interesting insight into adult braces, which are often chosen for aesthetic reasons. The data showed that only six percent of the Invisalign patients were worried about laughing because of how the aligner looked, compared to 26% of the patients wearing fixed braces.

Invisalign adult braces also came out on top for comfort, with 56% of FOA wearers saying their braces irritated their gums to some extent, compared to just 14% of clear braces wearers.

One of the most revealing results is that, during the course of the study, the Invisalign patients experienced a noticeable improvement in their gum health.

Both groups slightly reduced the amount of plaque they had, although both groups (84% of FOA wearers against 52% of Invisalign wearers) said that they felt they had to brush their teeth for longer and more often while undergoing orthodontic treatment.

The data shows that the FOA wearers spent an average of 3.7 minutes brushing their teeth each time compared to 2.2 minutes for the Invisalign wearers. The Invisalign patients changed their toothbrushes more frequently.

When it came to satisfaction with their treatment, Invisalign was the big hitter. Only six percent of the wearers said that they felt having orthodontic treatment had impaired their general health in some way, compared to 36% of the FOA patients. Interestingly, 98% of the Invisalign patients said they would have the same treatment again, whereas this number dropped to 78% of brace wearers.

The study concluded that Invisalign clear aligners are better for gum health and gentler on gum tissues than some fixed appliances – probably because clear adult braces in Stockport, Manchester are removable – although oral hygiene is not different between FOA patients and Invisalign patients. It showed that Invisalign patients experience superior quality of life during their treatment and voice a high level of satisfaction.

We certainly hear very positive feedback from our Invisalign patients that echoes these findings, although fixed adult braces are still an excellent treatment option in many case.

If you would like to find out more about adult braces in Manchester at Heaton Mersey Orthodontic Centre, including Invisalign clear aligners, call us on 0161 947 9900 to book a consultation.