Invisalign vs Braces: Which is Better for You?

Invisalign vs Braces

Looking for a smile make-over? No matter what age you are, orthodontic treatment may be the solution you’re looking for. Not only can orthodontics straighten teeth, but also improve your bite for proper function, speech, and beauty. Invisalign and braces are great options for improving smiles by treating misaligned teeth. Traditional braces use brackets in which a wire slides through and applies force to the teeth to move them to their correct positions. Whereas clear aligners like Invisalign use custom-made trays that fit to the teeth and also place pressure on the teeth to realign them. Your dental professionals can help determine which treatment is most suitable for you based on your dental needs.

Invisalign vs Braces Inner Image

How does Invisalign work

Invisalign is a brand of clear aligners, which involves using a series of plastic aligners that are custom-made for your mouth. Like mouth guards, they can be removed for eating and brushing your teeth. Each aligner is designed to move your teeth to a designated position, and they are typically changed out for a new aligner about every two weeks.

After consulting with your dental professional to determine if Invisalign treatment is the best option for you, an initial 3D scan of your mouth is taken which will be used to develop your treatment plan. Once the aligners are created, they will be evaluated for fit and instructions will be given including how long to wear them and how frequent to change the aligners. You will be scheduled to come in periodically for check-ups to assess your progress and pick up the next set of aligners. Once Invisalign treatment is complete, you will be given a retainer to maintain your new dazzling smile.

Benefits of Invisalign

There are many benefits of Invisalign such as:

  • Invisalign is less noticeable: One of the catchiest aspects of Invisalign is that the retainers are clear and many people may not notice you are wearing them at all.
  • Can be removed to eat and brush: Performing your oral hygiene routine and eating your regular meals is easy as pie since the aligners can be removed. Keeping your teeth clean and flossing can carry on like normal without any appliances being in your way.
  • You don’t have to limit your food choices: Since the aligners can be removed, there is no need to worry about breaking a bracket with hard or chewy foods.
  • Less adjustments needed for treatment: With Invisalign, you generally do not have to visit your provider as often as with traditional braces since you will be given multiple sets of aligners to change on your own at home.
  • Comfortable to Wear: Invisalign is very comfortable to wear and often does not cause irritation to the gums or the inside of your cheeks.

Downsides of Invisalign

Nothing in life is completely perfect, so there are some downsides to Invisalign:

  • Invisalign requires discipline: To see the best treatment results, clear aligners must be worn approximately 22 hours per day, which requires a lot of diligence. Since the aligners are removable, you will have to adjust to placing them back on immediately after eating or toothbrushing. They also require maintenance cleaning them just like your teeth, as they can become damaged by foods and harbor bacteria.
  • Easy to misplace: When taking your aligners out to eat, drink, or brush your teeth, it can be easy to accidentally misplace them, particularly when you are out in public. Always keep your case with you and avoid placing them in napkins or on lunch trays.
  • Aligners can be costly: The advanced 3D scanning technology and comfortable clear material used to create the aligners often causes the cost of Invisalign to be pricier than traditional braces in some offices.
  • Invisalign may not work in everyone’s case: Invisalign may not be the best treatment method for everyone, as it can be limited in some tooth movements.
  • Attachments may be needed: Some cases may require Invisalign attachments to help move the teeth to their ideal spots. The aligners grab onto the attachments helping the aligners snap in place and exert light pressure. The attachments are made to match the natural color of teeth and are small button-like shapes. Your dentist will inform you if attachments are needed and on which teeth they are to be placed.

How do Braces work

Traditional braces have come a long way throughout history. They are much more comfortable and less invasive than they were before. They are made from a stainless steel or ceramic material and are bonded to the teeth temporarily using a special orthodontic glue. A wire, which can be made of different materials such as nitinol, stainless steel, or beta-titanium for instance, is placed within the slots of the brackets on each teeth and held in place with tiny elastic bands. This creates gentle pressure on the teeth allowing them to move slowly into the correct position.

Benefits of Braces

Take a look at these great benefits of traditional braces:

  • Can treat even severe cases of misalignment: Traditional braces can be used regardless of severity of your case. Braces provide a consistent force to help move teeth into their ideal positions.
  • There are different types of braces: If you are looking for a discreet treatment other than Invisalign, you may be able to opt for lingual braces or ceramic braces. Lingual braces are placed on the back surfaces of the teeth, and ceramic braces are tooth-colored brackets that are less noticeable than traditional metal braces.
  • Less responsibility for compliance: It can be a plus to not have to take your braces on and off like with Invisalign. This can make things easier and sometimes even lead to a faster treatment time.

Downsides of Braces

Some of the cons of braces include:

  • Traditional braces are more noticeable: Some individuals do not like the appearance of traditional braces. Their metal appearance is not as easy to hide as with clear aligners.
  • Brushing and flossing becomes more challenging: Since traditional braces are temporarily fixed to the teeth, you cannot remove them as with clear aligners. Foods and dental plaque can easily build up around the braces and if not removed can result in tooth decay and tooth staining. It is essential to brush and floss after meals to help keep your teeth strong and healthy.
  • Some foods need to be avoided: With traditional braces the foods and beverages you consume must be taken into consideration. Hard and sticky foods should be avoided so that the brackets do not become dislodged from the teeth. When brackets become broken it can disrupt treatment goals and lead to a longer overall treatment time.
  • Often requires more frequent check-ups than Invisalign: Traditional braces often require more visits to your provider for wire adjustments.
  • Traditional braces may cause discomfort: Metal braces may be uncomfortable at times and cause irritation to your oral tissues. Typically, the discomfort does not last long, and any existing oral sores tend to heal rapidly.


There is a lot to take into account when deciding upon traditional braces versus Invisalign. But don’t worry, your dental professional will help you weigh the pros or cons to help you make the best decision for your smile. Most importantly, they are there to answer any questions you may have regarding your treatment.

Many individuals enjoy the comfort and ease of Invisalign, but this option may not be the best for every patient depending on the complexity of dental needs. Not to mention, individuals who wear clear aligners must be willing to comply to wearing the aligners consistently. Individuals with severe overbite, crowding, or rotated teeth may benefit greater from traditional braces in terms of effectiveness and length of treatment time. Speak with your dentist to determine what’s best for your smile!