Smile makeover

Invisalign vs braces: Which one is right for you?

Dr Jaskaran Kaur
July 2, 2024
Dentistry at The Cross Potts Point Smile Makeover

You’re dreaming of a straighter smile. You’ve already explored your teeth straightening options. But let me guess, you’re left with one. big. question….

Invisalign vs braces?

Both can help you achieve a beautifully aligned smile. And while, yes, Invisalign is discreet and less disruptive to your lifestyle, braces do have their benefits.

Not the clear-cut answer you wanted? Here’s a look at the advantages and potential drawbacks of braces and Invisalign treatment. By the end of this post, you’ll be able to make an informed decision on the right solution for you.

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Table of Contents

How does Invisalign work? 

Invisalign (AKA clear braces) uses a set of see-through plastic aligner trays to gently straighten your teeth. The aligners are virtually invisible and removable, offering freedom and flexibility to suit your lifestyle.

The best bit? You can take out your Invisalign aligners. This makes brushing, flossing, eating, and drinking easy. Going to a special event? Going to be speaking at a work seminar? Relax, you can remove your aligners and feel like your real self. 

But keep in mind, Invisalign trays must be worn for at least 20 to 22 hours a day to be effective!

Invisalign uses special software, giving your dentist precise control over the movement of your teeth. Plus, 3D scanning technology means you can see a virtual image of how your new straight teeth will look. You get to see this before your treatment begins. 

Image of lady holding an Invisalign clear aligner.
Invisalign uses special software, giving your dentist precise control over the movement of your teeth. Plus, 3D scanning technology means you can see a virtual image of how your new straight teeth will look.

Throughout your Invisalign treatment your dentist will monitor your progress. You’ll have regular appointments for them to make adjustments and track the progress of your teeth.

Invisalign pros

The advantages of Invisalign include:

  • Virtually invisible

Clear plastic ensures Invisalign is barely visible in your mouth. You can straighten your teeth discreetly.  

  • Comfortable fit

Invisalign aligners are made from smooth, flexible plastic. They’re custom-made for a snug fit, so rarely irritate the mouth. 

  • Removable

The “pièce de résistance”? *Drum roll* — Invisalign aligners are removable. Yasss, you can choose to take them out when eating, drinking, going on a date, doing sport…

  • Predictable results

Assuming you wear your aligners for at least 22 hours a day (*refer to previous benefit), they are highly predictable. Invisalign aligners are made from SmartTrack® material, for more predictable, controlled tooth movements.

  • Brushing and flossing is easy 

You can remove your Invisalign aligner trays while brushing or flossing your teeth. So, no finding broccoli stuck in your back teeth!

  • Eat and drink whatever you want

Crunchy snacks. Sticky foods. Nothing’s off the menu with Invisalign.

  • Fewer checks ups

You’ll be given a set of aligner trays. Every 1-2 weeks you’ll switch to your new aligners, as per your dentist’s guidance. You’ll only need to visit your dentist every 6-8 weeks to check your pearly whites are moving in the right direction.

  • Suitable for most cases, even complex ones

Invisalign is suitable for most orthodontic problems in adults or teenagers. This includes crowded teeth, misaligned teeth, gaps, overbite, or underbite.

Invisalign cons

Possible disadvantages of Invisalign include:

  • You need discipline

For your Invisalign treatment to work, you must wear your aligners. For best results you must wear them for at least 20-22 hours a day. This means ALL THE TIME, except when eating and brushing.

  • Slight inconvenience

When you eat or drink anything other than water you must remove your aligners. Plus, you need to brush your teeth before putting them back in your mouth. This can be a little inconvenient if you’re out and about.

  • You’re in the driver’s seat

Following your dentist’s instructions is essential. This means replacing your aligners at the right time to ensure your progress stays on track. For most people this is easy. For some, it can be tricky. I’m looking at you, teenage patients (No offence!) 

  • May not suit frequent snackers and sippers

Invisalign aligners should be removed for anything other than water. If you don't, food can get trapped, leading to cavities and gum disease. Frequent snackers or sippers may need to change their habits. This shouldn't be a deal breaker, but more of a ‘good to know’.

INVISALIGN PROS & CONS AT A GLANCE

Pros Cons
Virtually invisible You need discipline to wear your aligners for at least 20-22 hrs per day
Comfortable fit Aligners must be removed before eating and drinking anything other than water
Removable You’re in charge and responsible for replacing trays every few weeks
Predictable results If you’re a frequent snacker and sipper you may need to change your habits
Brushing and flossing is easy
Eat and drink whatever you want
Fewer check-ups
Suitable for most cases

How do braces work?

This traditional teeth-straightening method uses wires and brackets to shift your pearly whites into the correct place. Brackets are fitted to each tooth to secure the wire. Unlike Invisalign, which moves teeth individually, braces apply the same level of constant pressure to all teeth. 

During the treatment process, you’ll see your dentist regularly (every 4-6 weeks). This is to adjust your braces to ensure your teeth are moving into the correct position. There are different types of braces:

  • Metal braces

Traditional metal braces are made of stainless steel wires and brackets. They are fixed to the outside of your teeth. This makes them the most noticeable braces of the bunch.

  • Ceramic braces

Like metal braces, ceramic braces are fixed to the outside of the teeth. However, they are made from… (surprise!) ...ceramic. This material is white or clear, so the braces are less obvious.

  • Lingual braces

Lingual braces use metal brackets and wires, but these are attached to the back of your teeth (not the front). This makes them less visible than other braces. The downside? Fitting them is more difficult and takes longer than other types of braces.

Lady’s smile split in half to show Invisalign aligners on one side and metal braces on the other.
Unlike Invisalign, which moves teeth individually, braces apply the same level of constant pressure to all teeth.

Braces pros 

  • A fixed solution

Unlike Invisalign, you don’t remove your braces for eating and drinking. Once they’re fixed, they’re fixed. 

  • Your dentist is in control

Worried you won’t remember which aligner trays to put in and when? With braces, your dentist is in the driver’s seat. Regular check-ups ensure any necessary adjustments are made to keep your teeth straightening on track.

  • Can fix a range of problems

The biggest benefit of traditional metal braces is that they can fix any orthodontic problem—major or minor. If Invisalign is not suitable for you, you can bet your bottom dollar braces will be!

Braces cons

  • Noticeable

There’s no denying that metal braces are noticeable. Ceramic braces are a little less so, but they’re not as discreet as Invisalign.

  • Can be tricky to clean

Brushing and flossing around braces can be fiddly. Food can (and will) get stuck, so it’s important to keep up good oral hygiene. (This’ll save you from the embarrassment of having broccoli lodged in your braces too.)

  • Uncomfortable

Metal wires and brackets are hard and can be sharp. This can cause cuts and irritation to your cheeks and gums. Metal braces also need to be tightened regularly. Renewed pressure on the teeth may cause pain for a couple of days.

  • Some food is off the menu

Say buh-bye to crunchy, sticky, and chewy foods. Not only can they get stuck in your teeth, but they may also break your wires.

  • Regular check-ups are needed

You’ll be saying “hello” to your dentist around every 4-6 weeks for adjustments. For some people this can be an inconvenience. Of course, if you love your dentist, this might be more of a pro than a con! 

BRACES PROS & CONS AT A GLANCE

Pros Cons
A fixed solution Noticeable
Your dentist is in control Tricky to clean
Can fix a range of problems Uncomfortable
Need to avoid certain foods
Regular check-ups needed

Invisalign vs braces cost: Which is more expensive?

Let’s be honest, braces vs Invisalign price will play a major role in your decision. When it comes to the cost of Invisalign, most people think it’s going to be A LOT more expensive than braces. Truth is, the price of both orthodontic treatments can be similar. Heck, in some cases Invisalign can cost less than braces. It just depends on the complexity of your case.

Factors that can affect the cost of Invisalign include:

  • How much your teeth need to move
  • Length of treatment
  • How many sets of aligner trays you need
  • Whether you have dental insurance

Factors that can affect the cost of braces include:

  • The type of braces
  • How well you care for your appliances
  • The experience and location of your orthodontist
  • Whether you have dental insurance

Here’s a quick comparison of Invisalign vs braces cost:

Orthodontic treatment Average cost
Invisalign From $5,000 to $9,000
Traditional metal braces From $4,000 to $7,000
Ceramic braces From $6,000 to $9,000
Lingual braces From $8,000

At Dentistry At The Cross, Invisalign treatment starts from $6,000. Plus, we offer a range of payment plans for a gorgeous straight grin without financial stress.

Which is less painful? 

Wondering about Invisalign pain vs braces? Invisalign is made from smooth, flexible plastic that fits snugly over your teeth. You’ll hardly feel them. Yes, like braces they still apply pressure to the teeth, so you may have some discomfort as the teeth move. But in most cases, people with Invisalign experience greater comfort than those with braces.

Yet, if you do choose braces, your dentist can give you some orthodontic wax. Put it over any annoying wires or brackets to help create a smoother surface and reduce irritation.

Still can’t choose between fixed braces vs Invisalign?

Let us help you.

You’ve heard the pros and cons for Invisalign and conventional metal braces. But we get it. It’s a big decision. If you’re still feeling unsure, come chat with us. We’ll assess your needs and help you to choose the option that’s best for you. You’ll get a crystal-clear idea about the cost, plus a personalised treatment plan.  

Ready to enjoy the confidence that comes with a beautiful straight smile? Book your consultation online

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Dr Jaskaran Kaur of Dentistry at The Cross Potts Point
Dr Jaskaran Kaur
Dr Jaskaran Kaur proudly owns Dentistry At The Cross and opened the clinic to provide judgement-free, inclusive and all-encompassing dentistry. She enjoys performing complex dental treatments, and finds great fulfilment in helping her patients in whatever way possible.

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