Invisalign vs. Braces: Which is Better For You


When it comes to achieving a straight and beautiful smile, orthodontic treatment plays a vital role. Two popular options for such treatment are Invisalign and braces. Both procedures have their own advantages and considerations that need to be considered.

This blog post will discuss the Invisalign vs. braces pros and cons. We will also answer, “Is Invisalign faster than braces?” This helps you make an informed decision about which option is better suited for your needs.

What Orthodontic Issues Do Invisalign and Traditional Braces Address?

Orthodontic procedures aim to correct misaligned teeth and jaw structures. This can include issues such as:

  • Teeth Misalignment. This includes crooked, crowded, or protruding teeth that don’t fit together properly.
  • Spacing Issues. Orthodontics can correct gaps and spaces between teeth.
  • Overbite and Underbite. An overbite is when the upper teeth excessively overlap the lower teeth, while an underbite is when the lower teeth sit in front of the upper teeth when the mouth is closed.
  • Crossbite. This occurs when some upper teeth sit inside the lower teeth instead of on the outside.
  • Open Bite. This refers to when the upper and lower teeth do not meet when the mouth is closed.
  • Jaw Misalignment. Orthodontic procedures can correct jaw alignment issues that can cause an uneven bite, jaw pain or difficulty chewing and speaking.

What Is Invisalign?

Invisalign (sometimes called invisible braces) is a revolutionary orthodontic treatment that uses a series of custom-made, clear aligners to move your teeth into the desired position gradually. This treatment option offers several benefits over traditional braces.

Benefits of Invisalign

  • Aesthetically Pleasing. Invisalign aligners are clear and virtually invisible, making them a more discreet option than traditional braces.
  • Removable. You can remove Invisalign aligners when eating, drinking, brushing, and flossing, which is impossible with traditional braces.
  • Comfortable. Invisalign aligners are made from smooth plastic, making them more comfortable to wear than metal braces that can irritate gums and cheeks.
  • Predictable. Advanced 3D imaging technology lets you see your treatment’s end result before it even begins.
  • Efficient. Treatment time with Invisalign is typically shorter than with traditional braces.
  • Less Maintenance. Invisalign aligners require less maintenance as they do not involve wires or brackets that can break.
  • Improved Oral Hygiene. Since they’re removable, it’s easier to maintain good oral hygiene as you can brush and floss your teeth normally.
  • Fewer Office Visits. Invisalign often requires fewer office visits than traditional braces, as several sets of aligners are provided in advance for the patient to change at home.
  • No Food Restrictions. With traditional braces, certain foods are off-limits. But with Invisalign, you can eat whatever you like because the aligners can be removed during meals.

Drawbacks of Invisalign

  • Not Suitable for All Cases. Invisalign may not be the best solution for complex orthodontic cases that involve severe crowding, rotation or alignment issues. Traditional braces might be more effective in such scenarios.
  • Requires Discipline. Since Invisalign aligners are removable, it requires high patient compliance to wear them for the recommended 20-22 hours per day to ensure successful treatment.
  • Possible Discomfort. Some people might experience temporary discomfort or a feeling of pressure when they start wearing a new set of aligners.
  • Risk of Misplacing Aligners. Because the aligners are removable, there’s a risk of misplacing or losing them, potentially delaying treatment.
  • Frequent Cleaning. Aligners must be cleaned regularly to prevent discoloration and bad odor.
  • Slightly Affect Speech. Some patients might initially have a slight lisp until they get used to having the aligners in their mouth.
  • Costly. Invisalign treatment can be more expensive than traditional braces, depending on the case’s complexity and treatment length.
  • Regular Refitting Needed. Patients need to switch to a new set of aligners every one to two weeks, which can be a bit inconvenient.
  • Potential for Temporary Discomfort. Each time a new set of aligners is worn, there may be some initial discomfort as the teeth adjust to the new pressure.

What Are Braces?

Traditional braces consist of metal brackets and wires bonded to the teeth to guide tooth movement gradually. Despite the rise in popularity of Invisalign, braces remain a reliable and effective treatment option for various orthodontic issues.

Benefits of Traditional Braces

  • Effective for Complex Cases. Traditional braces are highly effective for treating complex and severe orthodontic issues, including severe crowding, misalignment, underbites, overbites, and crossbites.
  • Non-removable. Unlike Invisalign, traditional braces are not removable. This can be an advantage for those who might struggle to remember to wear their aligners for the recommended time each day.
  • Variety of Options. Traditional braces now come in various options, including ceramic braces that blend with the color of your teeth and even braces that go behind your teeth, making them less visible.
  • Cost-effective. Traditional braces are usually less expensive than Invisalign, making them a more affordable option for many families.
  • Less Responsibility. With braces, you don’t have to worry about losing or misplacing them since they are permanently attached to the teeth until treatment is complete.
  • Color Customization. The elastic bands used in braces come in a variety of colors. This can be fun for kids and teens who want to personalize their orthodontic treatment.
  • Proven Track Record. Traditional braces have been around for a long time and have a proven track record of successful treatment outcomes.
  • Less Temptation to Cheat. Since you can’t remove braces, there’s no temptation to leave them out longer than advised, which can happen with removable aligners.

Drawbacks of Traditional Braces

  • Food Restrictions. With traditional braces, you must avoid certain foods that can get stuck in the brackets or potentially damage them. This includes foods that are overly hard, sticky, or chewy.
  • Difficulty in Cleaning. Maintaining oral hygiene can be more challenging with traditional braces. Food particles and plaque can get trapped in the wires and brackets, requiring more effort to brush and floss effectively.
  • Discomfort. Traditional braces can cause discomfort in the mouth, especially after adjustments. The brackets and wires can irritate the inside of the mouth, and the pressure applied to move the teeth can cause soreness.
  • Less Aesthetically Pleasing. Some people find traditional braces less aesthetically pleasing and feel self-conscious about their appearance while wearing them.
  • Regular Adjustments Required. Traditional braces require regular visits to the orthodontist for adjustments, which can be inconvenient.
  • Potential for Tooth Discoloration. Braces can lead to tooth discoloration or staining around the bracket area if not cleaned properly.
  • Risk of Emergencies. There’s a risk of orthodontic emergencies, such as broken brackets or poking wires, which require immediate attention.

Invisalign Vs. Braces: Which Is Faster?

Invisalign is generally faster than traditional braces. While the exact duration of treatment can vary based on the individual’s specific needs, Invisalign treatment typically takes between 9 and 18 months. On the other hand, traditional braces usually require somewhere between 18 and 24 months.

Invisalign aligners are custom-made and adjusted every few weeks, contributing to their efficiency. Moreover, unlike braces that move each tooth individually, the one-piece Invisalign aligners apply force to all teeth simultaneously, making the process quicker.

However, remember that traditional braces are more effective in severe orthodontic issues.

Does My Dental Insurance Plan Cover Invisalign and Traditional Braces?

Some dental insurance plans cover Invisalign treatment in the same way they would other orthodontic treatments. However, basic plans might not cover Invisalign at all. Even so, there’s a chance your dental insurance plan will cover a portion of the Invisalign treatment cost, as it is often considered an elective treatment. Some insurance providers, like Humana, offer orthodontic insurance options for Invisalign.

On the other hand, many dental insurance plans cover traditional braces. However, it’s worth noting that most medical insurance plans won’t cover costs for regular or cosmetic dental procedures, including braces.

In both cases, the amount of coverage and specific requirements vary by plan. Review your insurance policy or discuss with your insurance provider to understand what is covered before beginning either treatment.

Making the Decision

The difficult decision between Invisalign and braces ultimately boils down to your individual needs. Here are some factors to consider:

  • Severity of Your Dental Issues. Traditional braces are often recommended for more complex or severe orthodontic issues, such as severe crowding, malocclusion, or misalignment. On the other hand, Invisalign can effectively treat mild to moderate dental problems, including some cases of crowding, spacing, and bite issues.
  • Aesthetics. If the appearance of metal braces concerns you, Invisalign may be a better choice. The clear aligners are virtually invisible, making them popular among adults and image-conscious teens.
  • Comfort. Invisalign aligners are made of smooth plastic, which many people find more comfortable than the brackets and wires of traditional braces.
  • Lifestyle. Invisalign aligners are removable, allowing for fewer food restrictions and easier cleaning. However, they require discipline to wear at least 20-22 hours per day. If you think you might forget to wear your aligners, traditional braces could be a better option.
  • Cost and Insurance. The Invisalign price vs. braces is higher. Insurance coverage may also vary between the two options. Check with your insurance provider about what’s covered under your plan.
  • Treatment Time. The treatment time for traditional braces and Invisalign varies depending on the case’s complexity. However, on average, Invisalign treatment tends to be quicker if the aligners are worn as directed.
  • Orthodontist Visits. Traditional braces require regular orthodontist visits for adjustments, while Invisalign requires fewer office visits but requires new aligners every one to two weeks.

Achieve a Straight Smile Through Invisalign at PK Cosmetic and Family Dentistry

Choosing between Invisalign and braces is a difficult decision that should be based on your specific orthodontic needs, lifestyle and preferences. Invisalign offers a discreet and removable option, while braces provide versatility and effective treatment for complex cases. It is essential to consult with an experienced orthodontist who can assess your condition and recommend the most suitable treatment plan.

At PK Cosmetic and Family Dentistry, we offer Invisalign as a part of our comprehensive orthodontic services. Our dentists are certified Invisalign providers with years of experience creating beautiful, straight smiles. We can help you achieve your dream smile efficiently and comfortably with advanced technology and personalized treatment plans.

Call us now to schedule a consultation!