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Which is Better: Invisalign or Metal Braces?

When you are trying to decide between Invisalign or metal braces, there are several differences. Although both are very effective treatment methods, you may prefer one over another after learning more. At John Orthodontics in Coral Springs, FL, we can provide patients with either way. We try to ensure you have the information to make an informed decision.

Exploring the Differences

The most significant difference is in appearance. Invisalign® uses an almost invisible tray alignment system, while traditional metal braces use standard brackets and wires. Although they accomplish the same result, they also work quite differently — a great smile.

How Braces Work

Traditional braces use brackets that the doctor affixes to each tooth. An archwire threads through each bracket. By tightening the archwire, the doctor creates tension. The resulting tension builds the force which pulls teeth into alignment. When the wire is tightened, the doctor clips it into place, then uses elastics to hold it securely on each bracket.

Self-ligating brackets have locking clips that do not require elastics, but they are slightly bulkier and more costly. There have been significant changes to traditional brackets over the years. They are now much smaller, precision-crafted, and very effective. Another change has been the introduction of clear brackets.

Clear ceramic brackets use the same principle of tension, but the bracket is transparent, allowing the tooth’s natural coloring to show. This creates a lower profile appearance. When a white archwire is used, these braces are only visible at close range. This is a great option and alternative to Invisalign treatment for many teens and adults.

How Invisalign Works

Rather than pulling teeth into alignment, Invisalign uses gentle pressure to push teeth into alignment. A custom treatment plan outlines the process from beginning to end. Trays are custom-designed in a series of sequential sets. You will wear each set for about two weeks. As you move through the sets, they gradually apply pressure to push teeth.

Each set of trays is slightly different, creating movement slowly over time. Although many patients report noticing a difference after the first few weeks, it may take longer for you to see change. Trays need to be in place for 20 to 22 hours per day but can be removed for eating, drinking, and oral care.

It does take some dedication to complete Invisalign treatment. Because the trays are removable, this is a patient-controlled treatment option. Not wearing the trays for the prescribed period may slow treatment.

Cost Analysis

In a head-to-head comparison, Invisalign comes out slightly ahead of traditional braces for cost. Although different sources provide varying estimates, the national averages are pretty firm. Braces range from around $2,500 to $6,000 while Invisalign ranges from $3,500 to $9,000.

Your actual cost will vary depending on the initial alignment issues, the orthodontist you select, your location, and many other factors. At John Orthodontics, we do everything possible to make braces or Invisalign affordable for everyone.

Some patients have insurance coverage that may offset a portion of the costs for either treatment. You will need to check your policy for specific coverage of your treatment. Our staff can assist if you need help.

Advantages and Disadvantages for Both

There are both advantages and disadvantages to Invisalign or metal braces, as with everything.


Advantages of braces:

  • Cost-effective
  • Works on all alignment problems

Disadvantages of braces:

  • Very visible
  • Less comfortable
  • More office visits for adjustments
  • More challenging to brush and floss
  • Dietary restrictions


Advantages of Invisalign:

  • Almost invisible
  • Very comfortable
  • Durable
  • Works on minor to complex alignment problems
  • Fewer office visits
  • Easier oral hygiene
  • No dietary restrictions

Disadvantages of Invisalign:

  • Higher in cost

Invisalign or Metal Braces: Oral Care

One of the more problematic areas with braces is oral care. While you can remove Invisalign to brush and floss normally, braces require extra care. The wire and brackets create areas where food particles can collect. It does require extra care to complete brushing and flossing thoroughly.

Caring for Tray Aligners

In addition to regular brushing and flossing, you will also need to care for your alignment trays. It isn’t difficult and is very easy to add to your routine.

When you remove trays to eat or drink, you should try to rinse them under running water to remove saliva residue. This keeps your trays fresher and keeps bacteria from building up in your carrying case. Before reinserting your trays, you should brush them under running water with a soft-bristled toothbrush.

Several times daily (when you brush your teeth), you should use a drop of liquid soap and a soft brush to clean your trays. You can use toothpaste, but some pastes contain abrasives that may scratch your trays, making them more visible.

Each day you should also soak your trays for 10 to 20 minutes. You may use a variety of cleaning agents, including:

  • Invisalign Crystals
  • Denture tablets
  • Baking soda and water
  • Vinegar

After soaking, brush the trays under running water to rinse them thoroughly before inserting them. We recommend soaking your trays during your daily shower to easily fit this activity into your routine.

Caring for Traditional Braces

When you first get traditional metal braces, the technician will help you learn how to take care of your teeth and braces. They will explain how to brush and floss to keep your mouth fresh, clean, and decay-free.

It may be easier to use a side-to-side stroke to brush, holding your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to your teeth. This allows you to get above and below the archwire to dislodge stuck food particles. Using the tip of the brush, small circular motions around each bracket help too. There are special tools that make flossing and brushing easier, including:

  • Floss threaders
  • Interproximal brushes
  • Dental wax

Although it may take slightly longer to brush and floss with braces, the result of your treatment will be worth the effort.

Invisalign or Metal Braces: What is Right for Your Lifestyle?

When choosing between Invisalign or metal braces, the choice is yours. Both treatment methods are very effective. The doctor may recommend a specific treatment, which should be a consideration, but you usually will have the option to select the treatment that best fits your lifestyle.

Dr. John Orthodontics Can Help You Decide

If you have questions about which treatment would be best for you, speaking with the doctor will help. By scheduling a free consultation, you can get an examination and determine what each system would involve. To get started right now, you can do a Virtual Consultation. You may also schedule an appointment using our online Appointment Request or call our office at 954-575-3313.

We look forward to hearing from you.

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  • Wednesday: 8:00am-5:00pm
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  • Friday: Closed
  • Saturday: Once A Month
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