Braces vs Invisalign comparison – Which is Better?

Braces vs Invisalign

Both braces and Invisalign are utilized to straighten teeth.  Cosmetic dentistry has come a long way and now offers an array of choices to improve your smile.  Braces and lnvisalign are two popular options.  Both have many similarities as well as important differences that can make one option more appropriate than the other.  If you are considering using braces or Invisalign in Mesa, AZ please stop by our office for a consultation.  It is important that you work with a skilled dental team to determine and implement the best option for you.

The Basics about Braces

Braces have been around for many years and are the more traditional option of the two.  Brackets are attached to the teeth and wires and plastic bands are then used to tighten and straighten.  There are different types and placements of braces now available.  They can be adhered to the front of the teeth, the back of the teeth or metal bands can be wrapped around the teeth depending on the severity of your issues and the recommendation of your dentist.  After the initial installation of braces you will probably experience tooth sensitive and tenderness.  You will want to eat soft foods and take mild pain relief medication if necessary.

You are no longer limited to traditional metal braces although these are still the most common.  If you opt for these, you would typically have metal braces and brackets installed with clear or colored rubber bands depending on your preference.  If you’d prefer something more subtle, sapphire or ceramic braces may be a better option for you.  These styles are closer to tooth colored and are less noticeable than metal.

The Essentials of Invisalign

Invisalign is a much newer process used to straighten teeth.  The primary benefit to the Invisalign system is that the trays are tooth colored and barely noticeable.  Invisalign uses a series of custom made trays called aligners to gradually shift your teeth to the desired position (   You need to wear the aligner trays continually for the process to be effective.  Because this process is more gradual than traditional braces it is typically less painful and less disruptive.

Comparing the Two

Preparation and Initial Process

To prepare for traditional braces your teeth should be cleaned and any existing cavities filled.  You may also need to have teeth removed in order to make room for the straightened teeth.  At your installation appointment your orthodontist or dentist will spend quite a bit of time applying bonding glue and installing the brackets, wires and elastic bands needed.  You should mentally and emotionally prepare yourself for some discomfort.  Your speech may be slightly impacted and your teeth and gums will probably be sore after the initial application.  You may also feel slightly self-conscious particularly if your braces are metal and very noticeable.

To prepare for the Invisalign process you will also spend quite a bit of time with your orthodontist or dentist.  At the first appointment your dental professional will take X-rays, molds and impressions of your teeth and mouth.  Your dental professional will take this information to create a precise treatment plan.  Invisalign will take all this information and create a custom series of trays designed to shift your teeth a little at a time using your treatment plan as a guide.


Braces will need to be evaluated and possibly tightened every 6 to 8 weeks.  At every appointment your orthodontist will check your teeth and adjust them, getting you closer and closer to straight teeth.  It is important that you maintain good oral hygiene and care for your braces as directed.

Invisalign adjustments happen more frequently.  Depending on the severity of the change needed, you will probably need to update your trays every two weeks and see your dental team every 4 to 6 weeks.  The different trays will help your teeth shift to the desired position a little bit at a time.  It is important to visit your dental professional frequently so that he or she can monitor your progress and make sure that your tray changes are timed appropriately.


Because braces are metal and rely on brackets and wires there is the potential for damage to the metal structures.  You will have to be careful when eating.  You may need to limit eating hard and sticky foods such as apples, popcorn, taffy, and gum etc. If you indulge in any of these foods you may experience a broken wire or bracket, requiring an emergency trip to the dentist. Talk to your dental professional about proper maintenance and care as well as what to do if you are faced with a broken wire or bracket.

Invisalign does not typically have these issues because you will remove your aligners when it is time to eat.  Because Invisalign trays are removable, you don’t expose the trays to damage that can happen with eating.  However, you will need to brush your teeth frequently and avoid foods or beverages that can stain your trays.  If you neglect to care for your trays properly they will become discolored and stained.  If you are using stained trays, it is more obvious that you are wearing them.

Another challenge that Invisalign users face is that of consistency.  You need to wear your aligner trays for approximately 22 hours a day for them to be effective.  If you forget to put your tray back in or don’t use them as directed your treatment can be ineffective or take much longer than originally scheduled.  This can cost you additional time and money.  Because braces are more permanent, there is no opportunity for them to be removed and forgotten.

Oral Health Care

For both methods, good oral health habits are very important.  When dealing with braces, it you do not take care of your teeth you run the risk of your teeth becoming discolored and not matching the portion of the teeth that has been covered by the brackets.

With Invisalign, if you do not brush after every meal you risk staining the trays, making them more noticeable in addition to making yourself more susceptible to plaque, gingivitis and other dental issues.


Braces are a very effective process in straightening teeth and correct bite issues.  They have been used since historic times and have been improved upon as the years have gone by.

While Invisalign is a newer process, it has been proven to be just as effective in straightening teeth as more traditional braces.  However, sometimes a patient’s needs are severe enough that Invisalign is not a viable option.  Consult with a dental professional to determine the best, most effective course of treatment.


There is a wide range of pricing for both systems.  Cost truly depends on your needs.  The length of time it takes to adjust your teeth, the number of office visits, the cost of customizing trays or tightening brackets all add to your final bill.  Discuss estimates and payment plans in advance with your dental professional.  Also be sure to research if your insurance will help pay for any of the costs.  If your insurance does not offer coverage or you do not have insurance, ask your dental professional if they offer a cash rate and/or payment plan.

If you are considering braces or Invisalign work with a professional dental team to assess and implement your options.  Your dentist hears questions every day about root canals, teeth whitening FAQ’s and more.  It is our pleasure to answer any questions you may have and tackle all your dental needs.  Your dental health and long term dental goals should be planned and executed by an experienced team that meet your aesthetic and dental health needs.