Invisalign Versus Braces

If you or your child have teeth that need straightened or other tooth alignment issues, you have a couple of different options to choose from—traditional metal braces and Invisalign® clear aligners, which are made from BPA-free clear plastic.

There are many factors that go into deciding which options are possible and what the best choice is for your or your child’s situation. This article will discuss some of the things you should know about braces versus Invisalign, but a full consultation with an orthodontist is the only way to know which system will ultimately give produce the desired results.

What are the Differences Between Braces and Invisalign?

Braces are metal brackets that are cemented to the teeth and connected with wires and rubber bands, which are regularly adjusted to move the teeth gradually over time. Today, braces come in different colors, but that option may be a bit more costly.

Invisalign are clear plastic aligner trays that fit over the teeth. To create the trays, x-rays, pictures, and impressions are used to create a 3D image of your teeth so they can be customized to you.

While braces and Invisalign can both help align the teeth, each option has advantages, disadvantages, and differences that may influence your decision. Below we list some of the differences between braces and Invisalign to help inform you about each option so you can make the best decision for you.


* Traditional braces are a silver color as they are meta. Today, patients have a variety of colors they can choose from if they wish, but it does increase the price.
* Invisalign aligners are clear to nearly invisible.
Treatment Time (Average)
Treatment time varies greatly depending on each person’s specific situation. The timeframes listed below are averages.
* Braces will need to be worn 24 hours a day, seven days a week for an average of two years
* Invisalign aligners must be worn 22-24 hours a day for an average of 6 to 18 months
Cost (Average)
* Braces cost on average between $1,800-$5,500.
* The Invisalign treatment system costs $5,000.
Maintenance/Follow-Up Visits
* People with braces must brush the metal brackets and wires at the same time as they brush their teeth, and may need to use a Waterpik®.
* People using Invisalign can use the brand’s cleaning system, or brush and rinse the trays. This will need to be done after eating and/or drinking.

Needs After Treatment

Braces and Invisalign

Both options will likely require patients to wear a positioner or retainer on an ongoing basis, possibly at night only.


* Braces better address more complex issues.
* They are suited to patients who may not be able to stick to the treatment plan for Invisalign.
* The brackets and wires may cause some pain or sores in the mouth
* Since cleaning the braces and teeth is more difficult, there could be some tooth discoloration.
* Braces carry the risk of broken brackets or wearing on the teeth.
* People with braces may find it difficult to eat some foods, particularly those that are sticky or hard
* Braces are not ideal for people who are regularly involved in rough sports or contact sports, as any impact to the mouth can damage the braces or the tissues inside the mouth.


* Pros
* Because the aligners are clear, many patients feel less self-conscious while wearing them.
* They are removable so there are no issues with food getting caught in the aligners and no difficulty in eating.
* Because there are no wires involved, Invisalign will not cause discomfort to the surrounding tissues, like the inside of the cheeks.

* Cons

* People using the Invisalign system must remember to remove them before eating and drinking (water is fine)
* After eating and drinking, however, patients must be vigilant about cleaning their aligners to prevent bacteria, irritation, or staining of the teeth.

Before making such a big decision, it will be essential to talk to an orthodontist to find out if Invisalign or traditional braces are the best option for you. We hope this information will help you have a more informed discussion with your dental health care provider and help you make the best choice for you or your child.

Invisalign Alternatives