Female model holding Invisalign and traditional braces

Invisalign vs. Traditional Braces: Which is Right for You?

Since Invisalign came on the market about twenty years ago, they’ve exploded in popularity. Still, in that time, traditional metal braces haven’t gone away. Both have their advantages and their disadvantages and patients may find one system is a better fit for them than the other.

If you’re interested in straightening your teeth and are deciding between Invisalign and traditional braces, here are some things to consider.

Pros and Cons of Invisalign

Pro: Discreet.

Clear aligners like Invisalign are almost invisible. This makes them very attractive to adults and to teens, too, who don’t want a “metal mouth” look.

Pro: Fewer office visits.

Typically, treatment with Invisalign requires fewer check-ups, which is a big plus for patients with busy schedules. It results in fewer emergency visits, too.

Pro: Removeable.

Patients remove aligners for eating, drinking, brushing, and flossing, which makes it much easier to keep teeth clean and means that no foods are off limits.

Con: Removeable.

Yes, this is a pro and a con. They must be removed for eating and drinking anything other than water, must be cleaned daily, and teeth must be brushed before putting them back in. They take care to maintain.

Con: 22/7.

For clear aligners to work, they must be worn a minimum of 22 hours a day, every day. Some patients are not great at wearing them consistently, which just lengthens treatment.

Con: Limitations.

Some cases are simply too complex to be effectively treated with Invisalign. Although clear aligners have gotten better and better and can do more now than they ever could before, there are limits to what they can accomplish. This is something to discuss with your orthodontist.

Pros and Cons of Traditional Metal Braces

Pro: Constant.

Traditional braces don’t require any willpower from the patient, since they are attached, non-removable, and working 24/7. This is a big plus for people who know they would not wear aligners as much as they’re supposed to.

Pro: Powerful.

There’s a reason metal braces have been around for a long time and continue to be popular. They can treat a wide variety of issues, including complex bite issues, and are sometimes the only effective option for certain cases.

Con: Noticeable.

Traditional metal brackets and metal wires are not exactly discreet. Though they look better than they used to, due to smaller brackets (and the option of tooth-colored ceramic brackets), they are not “invisible” like Invisalign.

Con: More office visits.

Traditional braces typically require more office visits for adjustments and may also necessitate an emergency visit to fix a bracket that’s popped off or an uncomfortable wire that’s poking the cheek.  

Con: Tougher to Clean.

Since they’re not removable, patients have to brush and floss around and through the brackets and wires, which can be challenging.

Talk to Your Orthodontist

I use both systems in my practice and have had excellent results with both. The ultimate decision should be made by you in consultation with your orthodontist, who is familiar with your mouth and your goals.