If you are considering straightening your smile, then this blog is for you!

We all know the two most popular orthodontic treatments are traditional braces and Invisalign®.

But the question everyone wants to know is:

Which is better, Invisalign® or braces?

We don’t blame you for asking this question. After all, your smile deserves the best.

To help you make an informed decision, we have created a comparison list of the pros and cons of Invisalign® vs. braces.

That way, you can see all sides of the argument on what is the best orthodontic treatment for you.

Invisalign vs. Braces - 9 pros and cons - A young woman inserting an Invisalign teeth straightening tray into her mouth

#1 Invisalign® vs. Braces: The Clear Difference

Possibly the most prominent reason more than 6 million people have chosen Invisalign® over braces is because of the difference in appearance.

Invisalign®: Uses clear aligners to move your teeth into their proper position gradually. These aligners are custom-made with the latest technology to seamlessly fit on your teeth. Invisalign® is praised for being virtually invisible with hardly anyone being able to notice them.

Braces: Consists of a bracket on each tooth with a wire connecting them. With tooth-colored ceramic braces, treatment can be less noticeable than traditional metal, but it is still visible.

Our winner of this round: Invisalign®. You simply cannot beat this virtually invisible aspect. 

#2 Invisalign® vs. Braces: Cost

Typically, Invisalign® in Burke, VA costs the same as traditional braces.

However, it can vary from case to case, dentist to dentist, and state to state.

A couple of other cost related factors to consider are time and transportation. Find out what we mean on list item #6, the difference in adjustments.

To find out how much Invisalign® in Burke, VA will cost you, schedule a consultation with Dr. Alex McMillan.

Our winner of this round: Invisalign®. You’ll see why below. 

#3 Invisalign® vs. Braces: Effectiveness

When Invisalign® first started, it was primarily used for minor orthodontic movements. But as technology skyrocketed, so did Invisalign® treatments.

Now, depending on your case, both Invisalign® and braces may prove the same effectiveness.

Invisalign®: Can be used to fix:

  • Overly crowded teeth
  • Gapped teeth
  • Crooked teeth
  • Underbites
  • Overbites
  • Crossbites

Braces: One thing missing from the list above is complex cases. Teeth that are severely crooked or complicated can best benefit from the secure hold of a permanent bracket.

Our winner of this round: Braces. They can straighten even the most complex of cases. Although, we’d bet that Invisalign® isn’t too far behind.

#4 Invisalign® vs. Braces: Which is faster?

We get it. Orthodontic treatment isn’t ideal.

Sure, you want a straight smile, but the sooner you can start and finish treatment, the better.

Here’s the average treatment time for Invisalign® and braces:

Invisalign®: Average treatment time is only 12 to 18 months with ideal patient cooperation.

Braces: Average treatment time is between 18 months and three years with continuous wear.

Our winner of this round: Invisalign®. We like fast results! 

#5 Invisalign® vs. Braces: Patient Compliance

The likely reason Invisalign® is only available to teenagers and adults (not children) is because of its patient compliance requirements.

Invisalign®: To finish treatment on time, you need to wear your aligners for at least 20 hours a day. You can only take them out to eat, drink, brush, and floss. Not wearing them for at least 20 hours a day can delay your treatment and cause you discomfort. With that said, the removable factor is also of the reasons patients love Invisalign®.

Braces: Because braces can only be removed professionally, they are consistently straightening your teeth 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This eliminates the chance that you won’t wear them enough and delay treatment.

Our winner of this round: Tie! If you slack self-discipline, then your best choice is braces. If you want the freedom to remove your orthodontics, then your best option is Invisalign®.

#6 Invisalign® vs. Braces: Adjustments

Remember how we said another Invisalign® vs. braces cost difference is time and transportation?

Well, here is why:

Invisalign®: You will be given several sets of aligners at a time, which you can change at home every one to two weeks. Because you are self-adjusting at home by switching aligners, you will only need professional check-ups every six weeks or so.

Braces: To keep your teeth moving on track, you will need frequent adjustments, estimated every three to four weeks. Also, if you don’t follow the recommendations for braces like what foods to avoid, then you may damage your brackets or wires and need repairs.

Our winner of this round: Invisalign®. Not that we don’t like seeing our patients, but we love saving your time and money.

The pros and cons of Invisalign and braces

#7 Invisalign® vs. Braces: Comfort

A straight smile is a beautiful smile. And you know what they say:

Beauty is pain.

But sometimes “they” are wrong. You can rest assured that neither orthodontic treatment will cause you pain.

You may feel a little pressure from time to time but that can be tamed with over-the-counter medication.

Invisalign®: Invisalign® is a comfortable orthodontic treatment. You may feel some pressure when you change to a new aligner but think of this as a good sign; it means your teeth are moving!

Braces: Likewise with Invisalign®, you may feel some pressure after an adjustment. If your brackets or wires rub the inside of your cheek, you can treat this with orthodontic wax – sold at most drugs stores.

Our winner of this round: Invisalign®. Without brackets and wires, there are two less things to worry about.

#8 Invisalign® vs. Braces: Eating Restrictions

Orthodontic treatment typically only lasts an average of two years, but if you’re not able to eat your favorite foods during that time, it can seem like a lifetime.

That’s why it’s important to weigh how much you’re willing to give up with Invisalign® or braces.

Invisalign®: No restrictions. Because you have to remove your aligners to eat, you can continue eating your favorite foods.

Braces: Eating certain foods can damage your brackets and wires, requiring additional appointments, time, and money. Here’s a general list of food to avoid with braces:

  • Chewy and sticky food: gum, caramels, corn on the cob, gummy candy
  • Hard food: popcorn, apples, carrots, ice cubes, nuts, hard candy
  • Sugary and starchy food: soda pop, fruit juice, white rice or bread, desserts

Our winner of this round: Invisalign®. Plain and simple. We love our favorite foods. 

#9 Invisalign® vs. Braces: Hygiene

It’s no secret: Life in orthodontics requires more oral hygiene.

After all, what’s a straight smile worth if all your teeth get cavities, gum disease, or stained along the way?

Invisalign®: Aligners can be cleaned by gently brushing and rinsing them under warm water. It is recommended that you brush your teeth after every meal or drink other than water. You can floss and brush your teeth as you usually would.

Braces: Likewise, it is recommended that you brush your teeth after every meal. This will help dislodge any food or debris stuck in your brackets or wire that contain harmful bacteria. Flossing poses a bit more challenging with wires in the way, but there are inexpensive flossing tools that can make life easy. Brushing requires a bigger strategy, making sure you cover all areas of your teeth and brackets.

Our winner of this round: Invisalign®. You can continue to brush and floss as you usually would.

Invisalign® vs. Braces: Which is better?

The truth is:

It is up to you.

Invisalign® and traditional braces are both great orthodontic options.

But the best decision you can make is:

To straighten your teeth!

Having a straight smile can positively impact your life in more way than one.

But if we had to choose an Invisalign® vs. braces winner, we’d pick:

Invisalign®!

Invisalign® is typically faster than braces, costs around the same, and isn’t noticeable, so you don’t ever have to feel self-conscious about your orthodontic treatment.

Want to find out if Invisalign® is your best option?

Schedule a consultation with Dr. McMillan, a leading cosmetic dentist in Burke, VA.

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