Harbor Family Orthodontics

Invisalign vs. Braces: Which One Suits Me Best?

The decision to get braces can be a difficult one, especially if you’re trying to decide between Invisalign vs. braces. Both types of orthodontic appliances are effective and can help improve your smile and bite, but they do have some differences.

Both Invisalign and conventional braces use the same basic principle: They move teeth into their proper positions by applying pressure on them to shift them into place. How pressure is applied to your teeth separates the two options.  Invisalign uses clear plastic aligners instead of metal brackets, wires, and elastics.

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Let’s take a more in-depth look at how they compare to one another in this blog post.

What is Invisalign?

Made from plastic, Invisalign uses a series of custom-made clear aligners that gradually straighten your teeth over time. Each new set of aligners slowly move your teeth into their proper position until you reach your desired smile goals.

How do Braces work?

Braces consist of brackets bonded onto your teeth and a series of wires to help correct any misalignment issues of your teeth. The process can take anywhere from nine months to two years depending on the severity of your alignment problems and how quickly they respond to treatment (1). You’ll have a series of visits to tighten the wires after about two months or so (depending on how fast your teeth move).

The Positive Sides of Using Invisalign

Invisalign is a great option for people who care about the aesthetic appearance of their teeth, or who want to keep their smiles as natural-looking as possible.

Invisalign also has some other benefits over traditional braces:

They’re removable

Instead of having something permanently attached to your teeth, with Invisalign, you can simply take off your aligners when you’re done wearing them — so if you want to go eat pizza, drink a soda or chew gum, you don’t have to worry about damaging or dislodging anything.

They’re less noticeable

Because they’re clear and virtually invisible, it’s easier for Invisalign patients to hide their treatment from others if they don’t want them to know about it (or just don’t want them asking questions!).

Fewer Trips to the Orthodontist

Invisalign remains a great choice for anyone who wants to have straight teeth but does not have the time to go to the orthodontist regularly. When you use braces, you will need to visit your orthodontist about every 8 weeks. With Invisalign, however, you only need one visit every 10-16 weeks with your dentist. This means that you can skip some of those appointments and save some time and money traveling to the office by using Invisalign instead of braces.

More Comfort than Braces

You will find that Invisalign uses flexible plastic trays instead of metal wires or brackets that can take more time to get used to initially than Invisalign. Easily cleaned, these trays better prevent the development of bacteria and gum disease, and less likely to irritate the inside of your mouth. This makes them much more comfortable than traditional braces at all times during treatment including during meals, after meals, when brushing your teeth and even when talking because metal does not rub against your tongue or inner cheek like with traditional braces.

The Downsides of Invisalign


Invisalign can cost more than traditional braces (at Harbor Family Orthodontics we charge the same). The average cost of Invisalign runs between $4,000 and $8,000 per case, depending on factors such as complexity or severity of misalignment, number of appliances needed, and length of treatment time needed for each case. Additional appliances (depending on your treatment) increases the costs incrementally.

Take out each time you eat or drink

Invisalign aligners are not worn during meals, while chewing gum or sucking on hard candies because these activities could damage the aligner’s plastic, causing it to break prematurely and ruin all the work that was done so far toward achieving straight teeth!  You can also develop cavities if you eat or drink anything but water with them in.

Not for Complex Problems

Mild to moderate orthodontic problems are easily solved through Invisalign, but not suitable for severe cases, such as certain surgical cases and cases with impacted teeth (2).

Advantages of Getting Braces

If you’re still on the fence about orthodontic options, consider these advantages of braces:

Effective for Making Complex Adjustments

If your treatment requires complex adjustments, braces are more effective than Invisalign. For example, if you have teeth stuck in the bone (called an impacted tooth).

Variety of options

You can choose from different materials and styles (clear wire or colored rubber bands). You also have the option of having lingual brackets (brackets on the insides of your teeth) instead of labial (on the outsides) or vice versa. Finally clear ceramic braces enable a patient to choose between self-ligating brackets or traditional wire ligatures.

More Durable than Invisalign

It may not seem like much at first glance, but metal wires prevail over plastic aligners in terms of strength. This means that they can withstand more force without breaking or becoming loose on your teeth. In addition, they last longer than Invisalign trays as well – anywhere from two to  three years depending on your case.

Disadvantages of Getting Braces

Not aesthetically pleasing

The aesthetic look of braces remains the largest disadvantage of braces. It’s hard to get used to seeing metal attached to your teeth, and if you’re someone who cares about appearances, Invisalign solves that problem (3).  Furthermore, some patients choose ceramic braces but Invisalign remains the least noticeable option.


When you get the braces on and after tightening of the wires, some soreness could require pain medication to help alleviate the pain.  This also occurs with Invisalign although some report less soreness. They will inevitably cause some level of discomfort as they gradually reposition your teeth into their proper alignment over time.

Regular Checkups at the Orthodontist

While inconvenient, traditional orthodontic treatments like braces need regular checkups to make sure your teeth continue to move properly. Plus, if you live in an area with limited access to dentists, you might have to travel further for these appointments.

Dietary Restrictions

Made from metal wires and brackets, braces attach directly to your teeth. These wires can only bend so far before they break or snap off — which means certain foods remain off-limits during treatment! If your orthodontist tells you that you need to avoid some foods during treatment, make sure you follow those instructions carefully so that you don’t damage or break any wires or brackets prematurely.


A clear system of removable aligners such as Invisalign gradually move your teeth into their ideal positions. Braces, on the other hand, are metal wires and brackets bonded to your teeth. Both treatments can help straighten your smile and improve your bite, but they work in different ways.

Your dentist or orthodontist is the best person to ask about whether you’re a good candidate for Invisalign or braces.



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