Invisalign vs. Traditional Braces​

invisalign vs traditional bracesWhen your dentist informs you that you might benefit from an orthodontic treatment, a whole host of questions can arise. What are my options? What is the cost? What will be the most effective?

When it comes time to choose a method to straighten teeth, most people have to choose from Invisalign and traditional braces. Both have their pros and cons. They also are two very different methods which can produce the desired straight teeth that you’re looking for.

Ultimately which method you choose is going to be entirely dependent upon varying factors such as cost and length of treatment. Most importantly, you’re going to want to choose the one that’s going to give you the longest lasting results.


Invisalign is the brand name of a product that is designed to straighten your teeth. Before getting the treatment, your dentist will advise you if Invisalign is right for you. A 3D computer is used to envision your entire treatment plan, including total length of time it will take to straighten your teeth.

If Invisalign is right for you, and you opt to go this route, your dentist will make a custom thermoplastic material mold of your teeth using the 3D computer. The plastic is soft and won’t cause irritation or harm to your mouth.

This mold is turned into a tray that is transparent and fits snugly over your teeth. Your dentist will help make any arrangements so that the tray grips your teeth firmly. It is also removeable, so you can eat whatever it is that you want (just be sure to brush your teeth before you put the tray back in your mouth).

You will need to wear the tray for 20 to 22 hours a day, removing it only to brush your teeth, eat, or floss.

There are two major selling points for Invisalign.

  • If you are a suitable candidate for this procedure, the length of time it takes to straighten your teeth can be dramatically reduced. On average it will take anywhere from 6 to 18 months for your teeth to be fully straightened. Compare this to an average of 2-3 years for metal braces.
  • Invisalign is made from a clear material. This means it will be near-impossible for people to tell that you’re wearing braces. The ugly metal braces look is completely gone and so is the pain that’s associated with wearing wire braces. Many people opt for Invisalign for this reason alone.

Over the course of your treatment, you will be required to change your aligner tray every 2 weeks. Your dentist will use the 3D printer to custom print a 4 to 6-week supply of trays. You will be required to visit your dentist every month or so in order for them to check up on the progress of your teeth straightening.

There are some people whom Invisalign is NOT ideal for. Those who have:

  • Bridgework
  • Certain bite issues with the back teeth
  • Requirement to move certain teeth such as canines
  • Requirement to move teeth vertically to achieve straightening
  • Those who lack the discipline to keep trays in their mouth for ~22 hours daily.

In order to fully determine if Invisalign is right for you, you’ll need to sit down with a dentist and they will give you an examination and let you know if this is a viable option. Keep in mind that Invisalign also costs quite a bit more than traditional metal braces. If cost is an issue, some dental insurance companies will cover anywhere from $500 to $2000 of the Invisalign procedure. Check with your dental insurance company to see if you’re covered.

Metal Braces

Metal braces as a form of teeth straightening have been around for decades. Back when they first came out, the patient had to wear an ugly and complicated metal headgear device. As time went on, orthodontists figured out how to forgo using the headgear and just use wire braces that were placed inside the mouth, as opposed on top of the head.

Unlike Invisalign, metal braces are not removable, nor are the invisible. They are designed to stay on your teeth anywhere from 18 months up to 3 years. People who get metal braces generally have complex teeth issues that Invisalign cannot solve.

The good news about metal braces is that after a relatively short period of time of getting them put in your mouth, the patient will notice an improved difference. This tends to help out their self-confidence tremendously.

Maintenance can be a bit more complicated than Invisalign. With the latter, all you need to do is take the tray out of your mouth when you’re eating food. After you’re done brushing and flossing your teeth, you can put it back in. With metal braces, you have to be cognizant of brackets, wires, and bands when you brush your teeth. You can’t remove the metal braces to perform oral hygiene, and it does require a bit more skill and attention.

You will also need to avoid certain foods when you have metal braces in your mouth. Such fun treats as popcorn, gum, apples, and anything sticky or too crunchy needs to be avoided. Follow up visits to the dental office will be anywhere from 4-6 weeks so your dentist can make adjustments and check up on your progress.

The good news about these appointments is that the only take ~30 minutes and are usually painless. If your dentist changes out a rubber band (a part of the brace mechanism) or if they tighten them down a bit, you may notice a little soreness in your mouth for a day or two afterwards.

The cost of metal braces is significantly lower than Invisalign in most cases. It all depends on how much work is needed to straighten your teeth. In some cases, metal braces can cost as much as Invisalign if the patient requires a tremendous amount of work.


When it comes time to decide between Invisalign and metal braces, there are many things you need to keep in mind. Cost, length of time of treatment, and the aesthetics are just a few things that can cause you to choose one over the other.

At Water Tower Dental Care, we specialize in fixing teeth with orthodontic braces. We offer both Invisalign and metal braces as treatment options. In order to know which is right for you, give us a call (312) 787-2131 to schedule an appointment and have our expert dentists examine your teeth and let you know which option would work best.