Invisalign vs. Braces: The Top 10 Differences

invialign vs braces

Weighing the benefits of Invisalign vs. braces

Decisions, decisions, decisions.

If you’ve decided that you want to straighten your teeth once and for all, then the next step is deciding which method of straightening your teeth is best for you. In our Arlington, Texas dental office we discuss your options with you to determine which treatment plan is best for your dental needs.

Years ago, there was just one option for straight teeth – metal braces. Since its introduction in 1999, Invisalign has become an excellent alternative to braces. Many patients that have lived with misaligned teeth well into their adulthood are finding that Invisalign gives them the chance to have straight teeth without impacting their actual smile.

Metal braces don’t offer this luxury. They are very noticeable, so there is no denying when you are going through orthodontic treatment.

Physical appearance aside, there are many differences to consider when looking into straightening your teeth. The way it impacts your smile is just one difference between Invisalign and braces – here are 9 more differences between the two.

More about braces here.

1. Invisalign is removable; braces are not. Traditional braces are metal wires and brackets (both metal and clear) that are bonded to the teeth. The brackets are not removable. Invisalign is a series of specially designed clear custom fit trays. Because they are clear, the teeth can be straightened without anyone even knowing you are wearing braces.

Invisalign aligners are designed to be removed to eat, drink, brush and floss. They actually encourage excellent oral hygiene because you can easily get rid of food particles and debris in between teeth. Braces do not give you this luxury as they are permanently affixed to each individual tooth.

2. Braces can be very irritating. The metal brackets used in braces can cause soreness and irritation to the inside of the lips, cheeks and tongue.

3. Be aware of food restrictions with metal braces. There are limitations on what patients can eat or chew while in traditional braces (popcorn, chips, and gum). These types of foods can loosen brackets and damage wires.

4. Invisalign does not do well when making major corrections to back tooth alignment. In fact, it can really cause back tooth bite problems if you try to move the back teeth and fall short of your goals. Braces are the answer to controlling back tooth bite issues.

5. Invisalign does not work as well when turning or rotating cylindrical teeth. The canines and premolars are tough to rotate because Invisalign does not mechanically attach to the teeth. If a patient has many cylindrical teeth that need to be rotated or if a tooth requires a lot of rotation, traditional braces may be a better choice.

6. Invisalign cannot accomplish uprighting root movements:  Braces accomplish this readily.

7. Invisalign cannot readily accomplish vertical movements. The aligners are designed to release in the vertical plane of space. Braces are physically attached so there is no vertical release.

8. Complex cases. Patients requiring major movement of back teeth, correction of “cross-bite” in back teeth or combinations thereof are typically better treated with traditional braces.

9. Costs can vary widely. Metal braces are the traditional orthodontic treatment, giving you a mouth full of shiny metal for an unknown amount of time. Because every patient has different dental needs, prices will vary. The national average for braces runs around $5,000.

If braces are placed on the back of the teeth, the cost could go up an extra $2,000 to $5,000.

When you consider the extra options offered with metal braces, more cost can be added to the bottom line. For example, another option in metal braces is to get brackets that match the color of your teeth. These cost about $500 extra.

Overall, Invisalign offers more major pluses and fewer minuses: comfort, esthetically pleasing, convenient, less prone to decay and better for maintaining good oral hygiene.

As with most things in life, there are good and not so good characteristics of any particular orthodontic treatment. Consulting with a knowledgeable professional is the only way to determine the best course of treatment for your unique needs. Call our office today at 817-261-2747 to schedule your appointment with Dr. Marchbanks.

About Mark C. Marchbanks, D.D.S.

Dr. Mark Marchbanks has practiced dentistry in Arlington Texas since 1983. He enjoys caring for patients young and old. You can find Dr. Marchbanks on
or on

If it's been more than 6 months since your last teeth cleaning, give us a call today to schedule your check-up.

Font size