• July 31, 2023
  • Dr. Catherine-Anne Walsh

In the world of orthodontic treatment, two options often dominate the conversation: traditional metal braces and Invisalign clear aligners. Understanding the key differences between these two approaches is crucial in making an informed decision. So what’s the difference? Is Invisalign better than braces? Read on to find out all the information you’ll need.

What is Invisalign?

Invisalign is an orthodontic treatment that uses clear, removable aligners to straighten teeth. Unlike traditional braces, Invisalign aligners are virtually invisible and can be removed for eating, brushing, and flossing. This makes them a popular choice for people who want straighter teeth without the look of metal brackets.

Traditional Braces Explained

Traditional braces, which can be either metal or ceramic, have been used for decades to correct crooked teeth and bite problems. They use brackets bonded to the teeth and arch wires to move teeth gradually into the desired position. Rubber bands are also often used in braces treatment to help with more complex tooth movements.

is invisalign better than braces

Invisalign aligners are virtually invisible, allowing you to straighten your teeth discreetly without drawing attention.

Invisalign vs Braces

Invisalign and traditional braces, whether metal or ceramic, are both effective treatment options for straightening teeth. However, they have key differences in terms of appearance, comfort, and treatment time.


In terms of aesthetics, the clear aligners of Invisalign are less noticeable than metal braces and even ceramic braces. This is because they are made of transparent plastic that fits snugly over your teeth. On the other hand, braces, particularly metal and ceramic braces, are more visible due to the brackets and wires.

Comfort and Convenience

Invisalign aligners are typically more comfortable than traditional braces. They don’t have metal brackets or wires that can cause discomfort or irritation. Invisalign treatment also offers the convenience of being able to eat anything you want, as the aligners can be removed during meals.

Effectiveness and Treatment Time

Both Invisalign and braces can effectively straighten teeth. However, for complex cases, such as severely misaligned teeth, traditional braces may be a more effective treatment option. In terms of treatment time, this will largely depend on the individual’s oral health and the severity of their alignment issues.

Reasons to Choose Invisalign

Invisalign treatment offers numerous advantages:

  • Aesthetics: Invisalign aligners are virtually invisible, allowing you to straighten your teeth discreetly without drawing attention.
    Removability: Invisalign aligners can be easily removed for eating, drinking, brushing, and flossing, providing greater convenience and flexibility in your daily routine.
  • Comfort: The smooth plastic material of Invisalign aligners reduces the likelihood of discomfort and irritation often associated with metal braces.
  • Easy Maintenance: Cleaning and maintaining Invisalign aligners is simple, requiring only regular brushing and rinsing.
  • Diet Freedom: With Invisalign, you can enjoy your favourite foods without restrictions, as you can remove the aligners during meals.
  • Shorter Adjustment Period: Invisalign typically requires fewer dental visits and adjustments compared to braces, saving you time and minimising any discomfort.
  • Customised Treatment: Invisalign aligners are tailored to your teeth using advanced technology, ensuring a precise and personalised treatment plan.

The Downsides

On the downside, Invisalign treatments may not be suitable for all types of orthodontic issues. Additionally, they require discipline to wear for the recommended 22 hours a day, which may not be ideal for everyone.

is invisalign better than braces

Traditional braces use brackets bonded to the teeth and arch wires to move teeth gradually into the desired position.

Reasons to Choose Braces

Braces also offer a number of advantages:

  • Complex Orthodontic Issues: Traditional braces are often more effective for treating severe misalignments, complex bite issues, or cases requiring significant teeth movement.
  • Compliance: Unlike removable Invisalign aligners, braces are fixed onto your teeth, eliminating the need for self-discipline to wear them consistently.
  • Predictable Results: Traditional braces have a long-standing track record of successfully correcting various orthodontic issues, providing predictable and reliable outcomes.
  • No Lost or Misplaced Aligners: Since braces are permanently fixed, there’s no risk of misplacing or accidentally throwing away aligners, ensuring continuous treatment progress.
  • Cost: In some cases, traditional braces may be a more affordable option compared to Invisalign, making them a preferred choice for individuals on a tighter budget.
  • Limited Compliance Responsibility: With traditional braces, there is no need to remember to wear or remove aligners, reducing the likelihood of non-compliance and ensuring consistent treatment.
  • Comprehensive Orthodontic Care: Braces allow orthodontists to have greater control over tooth movement, making them suitable for more complex cases and providing comprehensive treatment.

The Downsides

Braces, whether metal or ceramic, can be more visible and more uncomfortable due to the brackets and wires. They also require more effort to clean, especially when it comes to flossing.

Making the Right Choice: Invisalign or Braces

Deciding between Invisalign and braces can be challenging as it involves considering several factors, including personal preferences and lifestyle.

Factors to Consider When Deciding Between Invisalign and Braces

When deciding between Invisalign and braces, you need to consider the complexity of your case, the braces cost vs Invisalign, and the convenience each option offers in your daily life.

The Role of Personal Preference and Lifestyle

Ultimately, the choice between braces vs Invisalign may come down to personal preference and lifestyle. For those who prioritise aesthetics, Invisalign may be the preferred option, while those dealing with more complex dental issues might find traditional braces more effective.

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Below you can find more FAQs about Invisalign. Contact us for more information, or use the online form above to book an appointment.

Are braces cheaper than Invisalign?

Generally, traditional metal braces tend to be cheaper than Invisalign treatment. The cost can vary significantly depending on the complexity of your case. Other types of braces, like ceramic braces and lingual braces, can be priced similarly to Invisalign due to their aesthetic advantages.

Do orthodontists prefer braces or Invisalign?

Orthodontists don’t universally prefer one over the other. The recommendation between metal braces, ceramic braces, or Invisalign clear aligners usually depends on individual patient needs. For more complex cases, braces may be preferred, while Invisalign might be suggested for moderate misalignment issues and for patients prioritising discretion.

Is Invisalign actually faster than braces?

Invisalign treatment time varies widely depending on the case, but it’s often similar to that of braces. Some patients might see faster results with Invisalign due to its continuous pressure on the teeth, but for severe cases, traditional braces may offer more precise control over tooth movement.

What happens if you eat with Invisalign in?

Eating with Invisalign aligners in, isn’t recommended. Chewing can damage the clear aligners and hot drinks can warp the material. Furthermore, food particles can get trapped between the aligners and teeth, promoting tooth decay. Remove Invisalign aligners while eating and clean your teeth before reinserting them.

Do braces or Invisalign cause more discomfort or pain?

Both Invisalign and braces can cause discomfort, especially when adjusting to a new set of aligners or after braces are tightened. Generally, Invisalign aligners tend to cause less discomfort than braces, as they lack the metal brackets and wires that can irritate gums and cheeks.

Can I eat anything I want with both braces and Invisalign?

With Invisalign, yes you can eat anything you want as long as you remove your aligners. However, braces come with restrictions. You’ll need to avoid hard, sticky, or chewy foods that could damage the braces’ wires and brackets.

Please note that any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.

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Dr. Catherine-Anne Walsh
About The Author

Dr. Catherine-Anne Walsh

Catherine-Anne is a New Zealand-qualified dentist. She holds a Masters Degree in Public Health from Sydney University and she has a broad range of experiences from working in both the public and private sector.


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