Invisalign vs braces explained

Posted on February 16, 2023 in

Tired of gapped or crooked teeth? Ready to say goodbye to an over or underbite? Braces and Invisalign are both popular orthodontic treatments designed to align teeth and correct bites. 

When it comes to weighing up the advantages and disadvantages of Invisalign vs braces, you need to consider a range of factors from appearance and comfort to budget and time. Not to mention the current condition of your teeth and your treatment goals.

To help you decide which solution is right for your smile, we break down the key differences between these two orthodontic options, as well as the benefits and drawbacks of each. Read on to learn more about Invisalign vs braces.

Invisalign vs braces: what’s the difference?

Braces and Invisalign are both used to achieve straighter teeth and enhance the overall look and feel of your smile. However, these devices have some fundamental differences that are important for every patient to understand.

Traditional metal braces are typically attached to the front of your teeth. Brackets are glued on and wires are fitted, which causes the teeth to move into the desired position. These appliances remain on your teeth throughout the entire course of treatment, with the wires being changed every eight to 12 weeks as alignment progresses. Ceramic braces work in the same way.

Unlike braces, Invisalign can be taken out whenever you want to eat or brush your teeth, or for special occasions. This alternative to braces involves wearing clear, plastic aligners or trays for 20 to 22 hours a day, which work to reposition your teeth over time. These aligners are custom-made based on a 3D render of your teeth, mouth and gums.

We’ve summarised the main points of difference between Invisalign vs braces below:

  • Appearance: Invisalign clear aligners are virtually invisible relative to metal or ceramic braces.
  • Flexibility: Whereas braces are fixed to your teeth and cannot be taken off during treatment, Invisalign trays can be taken off for two hours a day and therefore are considered more flexible. 
  • Appointments: For both treatment options, you must visit the Orthodontist multiple times to assess progress. 
  • Commitment: Whereas braces are a ‘set and forget’ option, removable Invisalign aligners demand self discipline when it comes to putting them back in after meals or before bed. 
  • Oral hygiene: With no brackets or wires to navigate, brushing and flossing teeth is less difficult with Invisalign compared to braces.
  • Force: Braces exert more force than Invisalign, as each ceramic or metal bracket and wire works together to reposition teeth. This may cause more discomfort but can also accelerate results compared to Invisalign.

Now, let’s dive deeper into the pros and cons of Invisalign vs braces.

Advantages of Invisalign

Discreet design

In contrast to metal braces, clear plastic Invisalign aligners fit snugly and subtly against your teeth, making them almost invisible from a certain distance. Self-conscious teenagers and adult patients needn’t worry about their orthodontic treatment being seen by others – all others will notice is your ever-straighter smile.

Removable aligners

Invisalign only needs to be worn for 20-22 hours a day, meaning you can take out your aligners when eating, drinking, brushing, flossing or even taking a close-up picture where you want to show off your improving smile.

Easy brushing and flossing

As you can remove your Invisalign retainers before cleaning your teeth, you can continue to brush and floss as you did before you began orthodontic treatment.

Fewer visits to the Orthodontist

With Invisalign treatment, the Orthodontist takes a 3D scan of your teeth, which is used to create multiple sets of custom retainers. You will then be instructed on how to use them. Therefore, you will typically only need to visit the Orthodontist on a bi-monthly basis for a check up. 

More comfortable

Repositioning teeth with Invisalign is generally considered less painful than with traditional braces. While some mild discomfort is to be expected, these plastic retainers are custom-fitted to your mouth and therefore will not cut the inside of your cheeks.

Disadvantages of Invisalign

Self discipline is essential

Invisalign aligners will only achieve the outcome you’re after if you are committed to wearing them for at least 20-22 hours per day. If you forget to put them back in after brushing and meal times, then you may hinder progress or even affect the final results. 

Removing aligners can be a hassle

When dining in public, you may want to take out your aligners with no one noticing and store them discreetly. As well as being inconvenient, this opens up the risk of losing your aligners. It’s also important to brush your teeth before putting your aligners in again, as food particles may stain and prevent your teeth from shifting.

Attachments will be necessary

Invisalign patients will need button-like attachments to assist the aligners in gripping and guiding teeth into the correct position.

Benefits of Braces

Perfect any positioning

More powerful than Invisalign, braces are suitable for even the most complex of cases. Braces are more capable of correcting crooked and gapped teeth because they exert greater pressure to achieve the desired position. 

Greater force

Braces are more capable of correcting crooked and gapped teeth than Invisalign, as they exert greater pressure to achieve the desired position in a more predictable time frame. 

Several styles to select from

At ABC Orthodontics, we offer a range of braces to choose from, namely Empower Metal braces and Empower Clear braces, so you can find the perfect fit for you.

Faster results

Typically, teeth alignment can be quicker with braces vs Invisalign, as they exert greater force on your teeth and are worn permanently throughout treatment.

Drawbacks of braces

Less subtle appearance

Some patients prefer to forego braces because of their aesthetics. They may not like the look of metal or ceramic brackets and wires when they smile.  

Risk of plaque build up

It is more challenging to brush and floss your teeth effectively when wearing braces. If your teeth are not brushed and flossed adequately, plaque may build up around the braces, in turn causing stains and decay.

Dietary restrictions

Patients with braces should stay away from tough and sticky foods, such as caramel, popcorn, seeds and nuts. These can break the arch wire or dislodge a bracket, preventing your braces from doing their job until repaired. As a consequence, several breakages can extend the cost and duration of treatment. 

Frequent check ups

Braces require orthodontic appointments every eight to 12 weeks, as your Orthodontist will need to assess progress and tighten the wires accordingly so that your teeth continue to straighten.

Invisalign vs braces: which is right for you?

Invisalign is designed for patients with mild to moderate spacing or overcrowding concerns. In contrast, metal or ceramic braces are suitable for all cases including the more extreme orthodontic treatment, such as righting rotations, positioning roots to be parallel and closing extraction gaps. 

While the above comparisons are a great starting point, the right treatment depends on your individual requirements and preferences. That’s why it’s so important to visit your Orthodontist for an assessment of your teeth and their positioning. From there, they can advise the most effective way forward. 

To discover whether braces or Invisalign is best for you, please book an appointment at our orthodontic clinic in Newcastle.

Is Invisalign cheaper than braces?

Price is a key consideration when the pros and cons of Invisalign vs braces. In fact, we’re often asked whether Invisalign is cheaper than braces. While the cost of orthodontic treatment depends on the nature of your teeth and what you are trying to achieve, braces and Invisalign tend to cost around the same price.

To discuss your options for teeth alignment and confirm the cost of treatment, please book an appointment with ABC Orthodontics in Newcastle today.

Book an orthodontic appointment in Newcastle, NSW

There is a lot to take into account when comparing your options for orthodontic treatment. With this guide to Invisalign vs braces, you are one step closer to selecting the right solution for your smile. However, it’s always important to get the professional opinion of an experienced Orthodontist, who can assess your teeth and recommend the most suitable course of action.

Ready to discover a full range of orthodontic treatment options in Newcastle, NSW? Please get in touch with ABC Orthodontics on 1300 794 797 to book an appointment for braces or Invisalign with our friendly team today.