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Is Invisalign Better Than Braces?

Natalie Asmussen

Written by Natalie Asmussen

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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? Or are braces better than Invisalign?

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.

BracesInvisalign
Treatment Time24 months (average)12 to 18 months
RemovableNoYes
InvisibleIt depends on the braces you choose, as lingual and invisible braces are unnoticeable.Yes
Cost$2,000-$6,000$3,500-$9,500
Orthodontics AppointmentsEvery monthEvery 2-3 months
Treatable CasesAll types of orthodontic issuesMild to moderate cases
CleaningHard to clean as food can stick to the wires and bracketsEasier cleaning as the aligners are removable
Food RestrictionsYesNo
Covered by InsuranceYesNo
Is it painful?Mild soreness or discomfort. Sometimes can cause canker sores or ulcersMild discomfort

Invisalign vs Braces Cost

The final cost is one of the most important factors before choosing any dental treatment as they tend to be expensive; so, you are probably wondering which is more costly, Invisalign or braces; but the answer is not that simple.

When comparing braces vs Invisalign cost, Invisalign generally costs more than braces, but this will also depend on other factors like your treatment time, the orthodontist you choose, the orthodontic issue you want to fix, etcetera. That’s why we want to make an honest traditional braces vs Invisalign cost comparison to help you understand better the final price. Let’s break down the cost of both!

As we have mentioned before, it’s not easy to state which treatment is more affordable, but we can give you some insights by comparing Invisalign vs braces cost. What you have to take into consideration as a customer is that the prices we mention here are just an estimate, as the prices can vary considerably.

Is more expensive Invisalign compared to braces, then? Generally, as you can see, it is more expensive; however, it’s unusual but not impossible to pay more for braces than for Invisalign; that’s why consulting your dentist before comparing braces vs Invisalign can be a wise decision as they can make an estimation of both prices based on your situation. 

For example, sometimes clinics offer discounts for Invisalign aligners that can reduce a lot the final cost of the treatment and help you get clear aligners at an affordable cost, as these types of treatment are not eligible for insurance. 

But, if you don’t want to spend some time looking for a good deal to start your alignment journey, the best option, if you are on a budget, are traditional braces, as the cost of Invisalign vs traditional braces can’t be covered by insurance. Besides, dental programs for kids and low-income families provide braces treatments for free or competitive prices. On average, traditional braces can cost from $2,000 to $6,000, but if you want another type of brackets, the price will also differ. Different types of braces also have different prices; that’s why when comparing Invisalign vs lingual braces, you’ll see that this type of braces is usually more expensive than clear aligners as they cost $5,000-$13,000. However, those are the most expensive braces, as the average cost of ceramic braces is $3,000-$10,000, and Damon braces can cost between $3,000-$8,000.

With the Invisalign treatment happens, the same thing. Besides factors like the time, the clinic you choose, and your dental issue that make the final cost variable, Invisalign also offers different treatment types that can make the cost change. 

However, if you choose Invisalign’s standard treatment, the average 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.

If you prefer other Invisalign treatments, these are the average costs of each: 

  • Invisalign Express: Invisalign Express is for those who only have minor to moderate malocclusion and so don’t really need the Full treatment. Express treatment can involve either five or ten aligners, depending on the amount of teeth straightening you need. Express 5 (five aligners) can cost between $1,500 and $3,000, and the Express 10 (10 aligners) can cost $2,500 to $5,000.
  • Invisalign Teen: As the name suggests, this option is made specifically with teenagers in mind. In fact, it’s developed for the growing jaws of adolescents. This system also keeps in mind that teens may be less reliable when it comes to wearing their aligners for the required time and tend to lose some as well. For this reason, Invisalign Teen comes with up to six free replacement aligners, tooth eruption tabs to make space for teeth that are still growing, and compliance indicators so that dentists and parents know if the aligners are being worn as much as instructed. Invisalign Teen costs between $3,000 and $6,500.

After breaking down the prices of both treatments, you are probably wondering: “Is Invisalign more expensive than braces, then?”. Well, g Generally, as you can see, it is more expensive; however, it’s unusual but not impossible that you end up paying more for braces than for Invisalign to pay more for braces than for Invisalign; that’s why consulting your dentist before comparing braces vs Invisalign can be a wise decision as they can make an estimation of both prices based on your situation.

For example, sometimes clinics offer discounts for Invisalign aligners that can reduce a lot the final cost of the treatment and help you get clear aligners at an affordable price, as these types of treatment are not eligible for insurance.

But, if you don’t want to spend some time looking for a good deal to start your alignment journey, the best option, if you are on a budget, is traditional braces, as the cost of Invisalign vs traditional braces can’t be covered by insurance. Besides, dental programs for kids and low-income families provide braces treatments for free or competitive prices.

Invisalign vs Braces: Pros and Cons

Regarding Invisalign vs braces effectiveness, 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 your alignment journey. We have already covered some of them, like Invisalign vs braces cost, but it’s better to have a brief visual comparison to see better what suits your needs best. Let’s compare Invisalign vs braces pros and cons 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?

We have compared braces vs Invisalign price, checked their pros and cons and went through all the treatment details, but are Invisalign better than braces or viceversa? 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 of braces vs Invisalign’s time is longer as Invisalign can align your teeth on average in 12 to 18 months.

Better For Aesthetics

The biggest selling point for Invisalign is that they are invisible (and also one of the best clear aligners on the market). 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.

FAQ

Most frequent questions and answers

Normally, dentist prefer braces as this type of treatment can fix a lot more orthodontic issues than clear aligners. However, the final decision will depend on the malocclusion the patient suffer from and also what is more convenient for the patient regarding cost, dental visits and appearance.

Invisalign compared to braces is an easier treatment as it can only treat mild to moderate orthodontic issues and traditional braces’ treatment is more complex and that’s why dental visits are mandatory and can fix a wider variety of dental issues.

Both treatments can cause mild discomfort the days after changing the Invisalign tray or following your adjustment dental visit. However, braces can also cause soreness and sometimes canker sores and ulcers.So, no, Invisalign is not more painful than braces.

As mentioned before, both treatments are great and which is better will depend on the patient’ situation. For example, if the patient suffer from a severe malocclusion, Invisalign is not recommended at all as clear aligners are not able to fix that type of issues; however, if the misalignment is moderate, whether choosing braces or Invisalign is the same.

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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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