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Getting braces no longer has to mean enduring multiple years with a mouth full of metal that tears at the inside of your cheeks and makes you look like you’re continually going through puberty. That’s because the advent of invisible teeth aligners, like Invisalign, now let adults and teens straighten teeth more discretely. This sounds great, but prompts the question, is Invisalign better than braces?

If you’re trying to figure out whether you should get Invisalign, traditional braces, or perhaps even another option like ceramic, clear or lingual braces, we’ll cover all the pros and cons of Invisalign vs braces so that you can make the best decision for your oral health.

Braces vs Invisalign: The Main Differences

In this section, we’ll go over the most important differences to help you decide which is right for you.

Trays vs Brackets

Invisalign braces technically aren’t braces. Instead, they are teeth aligner trays that fit over each arch and are removable. The way this work is that you get a series of trays, each one designed to move your teeth into position gradually. For example, the first trays you get might show a mold for misaligned teeth, and if you look at the last tray in your treatment plan, you’ll see perfectly aligned teeth.

Braces, on the other hand, comprise metal brackets that are fixed to each tooth. These brackets are not removable except by an orthodontist. A wire connects the brackets on each tooth and is adjusted over time to move your teeth slowly.

Dental Visits

With Invisalign, you’ll go in to see an Invisalign doctor every six weeks. During these visits, your dentists will make sure that your teeth are moving as they should be, and that you’re still on track to follow your Invisalign treatment as is. If you opt for traditional braces, your treatment time for braces can be every four to eight weeks. During these visits, your orthodontist may simply check to see if everything is going according to plan, or they may make adjustments.

Time Treatment

The average treatment time for Invisalign is between 12 to 18 months, and the average treatment time for regular braces is around 24 months.

Having Both

Some people ask, ‘do you need braces before Invisalign?’ The answer is no; you absolutely don’t. However, some people who have braces as children, but whose teeth become crooked again as an adult, may opt for Invisalign or Invisalign alternatives to improve any imperfections.

Invisalign vs Braces Cost

Invisalign generally costs more than braces, but this will also depend on your treatment time. The average Invisalign cost is around $5,700, but the range is $3,500 to $9,500, whereas the average price for traditional metal brackets is between $2,000 and $6,000.

Although different types of braces also have different prices being the average cost of lingual braces $5,000-$13,000, the average cost of ceramic braces $3,000-$10,000, and Damon braces $3,000-$8,000.

Invisalign vs Braces: Pros and Cons

Both Invisalign and traditional braces can be effective in straightening teeth, but there are many differences between these two treatments that you’ll need to consider before you begin. Have a look at the pros and cons of each treatment type to help you make your decision.

Invisalign

PROS

CONS

Traditional Braces

PROS

CONS

Is Invisalign better than braces?

Invisalign may seem like a better option than regular braces, especially if you’re looking for a discreet way to straighten your teeth, and the cost isn’t the most important factor. This is even more appealing as an option for braces for adults and older teens, while young children might enjoy choosing the colors that come with their brackets.

That being said, Invisalign is only better than braces if you are eligible for treatment with Invisible braces.

Invisalign or Braces in complex cases?

One of the factors that determine eligibility for invisible braces is the severity or complexity of your misalignment. If you have a very severe and complex case of malocclusion, with a significant overbite or underbite, you might have to have treatment with traditional braces. While Invisalign can treat mild to complex cases, the most complex cases will need to be treated with braces.

Which is better Invisalign or braces?

Assuming that you have mild, moderate, or only slightly complex misalignment problems, you are free to choose between these two options. So which is better for you, braces or Invisalign?

Better For Affordability

braces more affordable than invisalign

Traditional braces cost from $2,000 to $6,000, and costs for Invisalign range from $3,500 to $9,500.

Better For Severe Cases

braces better for severe cases

As mentioned above, Invisalign is a good treatment for most cases of malocclusion, but in particularly severe instances, you’ll likely need to go with traditional metal braces. Don’t worry; this isn’t something that you need to decide yourself; your dentist or orthodontist will direct you to the appropriate treatment for you.

Better For Convenience

Better For Convenience invisalign vs braces

One of the biggest perks of Invisalign is that these clear teeth aligners are removable. That means that if you need to take them out for a brief period of time, for example, for a photograph or to give a speech, you can. Traditional brackets are fixed to your teeth, and only your orthodontist can take them off.

Better For Treatment Time

If your case isn’t severe and you can choose to get Invisalign, the average treatment time will be shorter (12 to 18 months) compared to traditional braces (around 24 months).

Better For Aesthetics

The biggest selling point for Invisalign is that they are invisible. Nobody needs to know that you wear them unless they get up close and personal. This makes them a great option for professionals and self-conscious adults and teens.

As you can see, both Invisalign and traditional braces are great options for teeth straightening, but you’ll need to decide which is better for you. Each option has important differences in cost, convenience, and eligibility, so you’ll need to talk with your dentist or orthodontist about the best option for you.

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Written by Natalie Asmussen

Natalie is originally from Minneapolis, Minnesota and now lives in Tarragona, Spain. She graduated with a BA in Modern Languages and Literature from Beloit College in 2013 with a focus on Spanish, Arabic and French, She worked briefly as a representative for MNSure, the Minnesota Branch of the Affordable Care Act, and then transitioned to a position as a Community Health Worker and Insurance Assistor for a nonprofit called Portico Healthnet in Minneapolis, MN, where she helped people from every income level find access to the healthcare they needed. Since graduating, she has worked as a copywriter specializing in the field of dentistry. She is grateful that she found a way to connect her passion for access to healthcare and navigating the complicated world of health insurance in the United States with her passion for writing. Her favorite subjects to write about include disparities in access to oral health care and providing resources for people who need dental care without insurance.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Blake

    Great article, Deciding to have your teeth straightened not only improves the appearance of your smile. Straightening teeth also improves the function of the teeth and muscles in general. There are benefits to each method although braces are often a good solution for complex tooth issues.

  2. Afton Jackson

    It’s great how you elaborated on the convenience aspect of Invisalign braces. I’ve always known that my teeth were experiencing some form of curvature, but it never seemed serious enough to undergo a full braces procedure. Invisalign definitely sounds like it’s for me since I still have a lot of events and pictures that I want to take, so I’ll look for any dentists in the area that can get me a set.

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