If you’re trying to decide between Invisalign and braces, you might wonder about the pros and cons of each option. While we can tell you the advantages and disadvantages, ultimately the answer comes down to what’s best for you—your preferences, orthodontic needs, and lifestyle. Here’s what you need to know.
Invisalign vs. Traditional Braces: Appearance
One of the key reasons people prefer Invisalign to traditional braces is aesthetics. Braces are noticeable and cannot be removed, but people will only notice your Invisalign aligners if they're standing very close to you—and even then, they usually won’t!
Consider ceramic or lingual braces if the appearance of regular braces bothers you but Invisalign isn't an option. Ceramic braces are made from a tooth-colored material and are commonly referred to as clear braces because of their inconspicuousness. It's still apparent that you're wearing braces, but they're less noticeable. Adults often prefer lingual braces because they are placed on the backs of the teeth rather than the fronts.
Invisalign vs. Traditional Braces: Cost
Traditional braces are often less expensive than Invisalign, although this can vary depending on your orthodontic needs. Typically, even when there’s a price difference, it’s minimal. While your dental insurance plan is more likely to cover traditional metal braces, they often cover Invisalign too, up to the cost of traditional metal braces. If you have a flexible spending account (FSA) or a health savings account (HSA), you can use that money to pay for Invisalign or braces.
Invisalign vs. Traditional Braces: Office Visits
Many of our adult patients like the fact that Invisalign involves fewer office visits, so they don’t need to rearrange their schedules every four weeks to have braces adjusted. With Invisalign, you’ll switch to the next set of aligners at home every two weeks and check in with us every six weeks so we can monitor your progress.
Another benefit of Invisalign is that you won't have to come in for emergency appointments if a bracket breaks. Invisalign is a fantastic option for people with busy schedules because it never requires repairs!
Invisalign vs. Traditional Braces: Treatment Time
Braces are often faster than Invisalign in terms of treatment time, but advances in Invisalign materials mean that with good compliance, you may see treatment times faster than or similar to braces.
Because braces are not removed like aligners, they’re on your teeth 24 hours a day, working to straighten them. In contrast, your aligners only work when you wear them. If you don't wear Invisalign as often as you should, your treatment will take longer. Luckily, wearing your aligners is easy because Invisalign is more comfortable than metal braces. That said, braces may be a better option for you if you're honest with yourself and think you'll forget to wear your aligners or be likely to lose them at work or school.
Invisalign vs. Traditional Braces: Results
Both Invisalign and traditional braces are effective orthodontic treatment options, so you can’t go wrong no matter which one you choose. However, there are times when braces are a better option. Traditional braces are still the treatment of choice for certain complex orthodontic cases. We understand that this can be disappointing if you wanted Invisalign, but we want to make sure that we're fully treating any issues you may have and setting you up for a lifetime of beautiful, healthy teeth.
If all else is equal and you can choose between Invisalign and traditional braces, another factor to consider is hygiene. Your overall dental health will be better off with Invisalign because aligners can be removed so you can brush and floss normally. We sometimes find stains when braces are removed, and flossing difficulties might lead to cavities between teeth. Both Invisalign and braces will straighten your teeth, but traditional braces may leave you with unexpected dental issues that you'll need to address once they're removed.