Invisalign or Braces: Which to Choose?

Traditional Braces

Orthodontists have been straightening teeth and creating beautiful smiles since 1900 when Edward Angle started the profession.  As we all know, technology creates advancements in techniques and treatments.  Over the years, braces have become much smaller and more sophisticated. High tech, very flexible wires have made treatment more comfortable and diminished the need for extraction of teeth.

There’s even a completely new approach to achieving the perfect smile.  It’s called aligner therapy and Invisalign is the major player in this field.

Aligner therapy

With aligner therapy, the teeth are digitally scanned, meaning no impressions. This scan produces a virtual, or computer model, on which the teeth can be progressively straightened, step by step to achieve alignment and a good bite. This is accomplished by a series of clear aligners that incrementally move teeth.

It takes much training and some level of experience to achieve proficiency with this technique. In addition, some tooth movements require what we call attachments.  They are little white bumps of composite material on the tooth that give the aligner a “handle” to move the tooth.


Traditional Braces

  • Tried and true technology
  • Can be used on all cases
  • Compliance is virtually guaranteed as there are no decisions about whether to wear or not to wear them
  • Different color O – ties (these hold the wires in the braces) can be changed every appointment for fun or fashion

Aligner Therapy

  • Virtually invisible for aesthetic appeal
  • Very comfortable
  • Office visits can often be spread out over fewer appointments
  • Can be removed to eat, brush, and floss


Traditional Braces

  • Metal (or even ceramic) brackets and wires are visible.
  • Possible discomfort from poking wires or brackets that rub the inner portion of the lips
  • Broken brackets can cause “emergency appointments
  • Oral hygiene can be more challenging

Aligner Therapy

  • Compliance can sometimes be a challenge, especially with younger patients
  • Lost aligners can delay total treatment time
  • Attachments are sometimes visible on some front teeth
  • Certain cases are not good candidates for aligner therapy

What’s Right for You

The decision to opt for aligner therapy, such as Invisalign, over braces can be a difficult one and there are many factors to consider for both the patient and orthodontist. Aligner therapy allows for more freedom and is virtually invisible compared to braces, but compliance is key. Further, aligner therapy may not be the best option for everyone.

Before making your decision, remember there are trade-offs with each treatment, and you will need to consult your orthodontist to determine the most effective option to perfect your smile!

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