Invisalign vs. Braces: Which Option Is Best for Me?

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If you’re wondering how to improve your smile, you aren’t alone. The Invisalign vs. braces debate is pretty common. Unfortunately, there is not a one size fits all answer to this question.

There are different pros and cons to both Invisalign and traditional braces. Your individual situation will influence which one is right for you.

Keep reading to find out what constitutes the difference in braces vs. Invisalign. Deciding which one is better for you is the first step towards a perfect smile.

Invisalign vs. Braces: What Do They Do?

For the most part, traditional braces and Invisalign can be used to address many of the same issues. These problems include:

  • Overbite
  • Underbite
  • Crossbite
  • Open bite
  • General tooth misalignment
  • Teeth straightening

If your smile is afflicted by one of these problems, both Invisalign and traditional braces are good options for you. But there are some problems that only traditional braces can fix. If you struggle with overcrowding or gaps in your smile, your orthodontist is likely to recommend traditional braces.

Traditional braces are metal brackets that are glued to the enamel of your teeth. A wire is threaded through the brackets and secured in place with tiny rubber bands. About once a month, the bands will be removed and replaced.

Invisalign are BPA-free plastic trays that fit over your teeth. A lot of people think they are made by using a mold of your smile. Actually, they are constructed using a 3D image of your teeth.

These trays are refigured every couple of weeks to encourage the shifting of your smile.


A lot of people opt for Invisalign because they are clear trays. Many people won’t be able to tell that you are wearing Invisalign.

This makes Invisalign highly favored by adults. Especially if they have entered the professional sphere and want to keep their smile visually unencumbered.

Traditional braces are definitely more favored amongst youth. Middle and high school-aged kids can be encouraged to take care of their braces because the rubber bands that hold their brackets in place are customizable. Kids have a lot of fun picking out cute color combinations for their braces each month.


Both traditional braces and Invisalign only work if they are applied to your smile constantly. That being said, Invisalign is removable, which a lot of people find preferable.

It is easy to pop out your Invisalign trays, though it’s recommended you only do so when you are eating or drinking. Otherwise, they should be kept in at least 22 hours a day. Even while you are sleeping.

This makes it a lot easier to clean your teeth and your trays. Properly flossing with braces is possible, but can be quite a challenge.

All this being said, the fact that braces aren’t removable might be preferable to some people. For example, teenagers are more prone to losing things than adults. If you are afraid your child will have trouble keeping track of their Invisalign trays (or won’t wear them, to begin with) you might want to consider traditional braces.

Food Restrictions

When you get braces, your orthodontist will give you a list of foods you need to avoid. This list includes anything that could either get stuck in your braces or break the glue that holds the bracket in place. These are foods like caramel, hard candy, and some nuts.

Because Invisalign is removable, you don’t have to worry about food restrictions at all. However, it is important to remember not to eat anything while you have your trays in. Food can damage the trays and get them dirty.

This also includes beverages other than water. Remove your trays to drink things like hot coffee or orange juice. Anything that could damage or dirty your trays can’t be consumed with your Invisalign trays in.

When you remove your Invisalign to eat or drink, it is also important to clean your teeth after you eat. Any food residue sitting on your teeth isn’t good for your trays.


Comfort is a big factor in the Invisalign vs. braces debate. While Invisalign will cause some discomfort as it causes your teeth to incrementally move, the level of discomfort is minimal. Plus, the trays sit below your gum line, so you don’t have to worry about any rubbing on your gums.

Braces, however, can be a big adjustment in terms of comfort. When your braces get tightened, your teeth typically feel achy for about a day. It is recommended that people getting their bands replaced take Ibuprofen to deal with the pain.

Additionally, there tends to be a lot of pain associated with getting braces for the first time. The inner tissue of your mouth isn’t used to having metal brackets rubbing against it. This can cause the inside of your cheeks to become raw and inflamed.

To deal with this issue, orthodontists can give you oral wax, which you can ball up and press against the troublesome bracket. This can create a buffer between the bracket and your cheek. The wax will help your cheek heal.

The important thing to remember is that this pain is temporary, and with proper care, a nice smile will last forever.

Invisalign Vs. Braces: Cost

The cost of your treatment will vary depending on how long you need to have braces or Invisalign. However, Invisalign is typically more expensive than traditional braces.

That being said, part of what you are paying for is your time. Invisalign can usually perfect your smile faster than braces. Though it varies for everyone, Invisalign can treat a smile within 12 to 18 months, whereas braces will treat the same smile in 18-24 months.

The Perfect Smile

The perfect smile is waiting in your future. All you have to do is decide which path is right for you. Have the Invisalign vs. braces conversation with you orthodontist, and make sure you tell them all of your concerns. To take the first step towards a perfect smile, click here.

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