Braces vs. Invisalign®: What do orthodontists prefer?

Since their invention in the early 1800s, metal braces have come a long way in design and effectiveness. It might surprise many that metal braces are far from obsolete, even in the era of superior alternatives to straighten teeth like Invisalign® clear aligners.
While it is undeniable that Invisalign aligners are more comfortable and patient-friendly than traditional metal braces, the latter continue to be prescribed by orthodontists.

Braces vs. Invisalign®: What do orthodontists prefer?

So, when choosing between braces vs. Invisalign, what do orthodontists prefer? The answer to this simple question is more complex than you might think. Before understanding why, let’s look at the basics of teeth straightening with braces and Invisalign.

How Do Metal Braces Work?

Conventional braces consist of metal brackets attached to the teeth surfaces with the help of an adhesive. The brackets hold a metal wire in place and guide the movement of the teeth. The wire is attached to each bracket using small elastic bands known as ligatures.
The brackets, wires, and ligatures apply gentle pressure to the teeth, gradually moving them into the desired position.

How Do Invisalign Aligners Work?

In contrast to traditional metal braces, Invisalign consists of a series of clear, removable aligners. These aligners are custom-made for each patient based on a digital scan of their teeth, and they gradually shift the teeth into the desired position over time.

The aligners are made of a comfortable, BPA-free plastic material custom-molded to fit the patient’s teeth. Invisalign aligners are invisible and can be easily removed for eating, drinking, brushing, and flossing, making them more comfortable than their metal counterparts.

Pros and Cons of Dental Braces

Dental Braces vs Invisalign

American Association of Orthodontists estimates that approximately four million people in the US wear braces at any time, most of which are traditional metal braces. Orthodontists still prescribe conventional braces as they offer certain advantages.


  • Whether you have a minor dental alignment issue or a complex one requiring significant tooth movement, metal braces can address them all. 
  • When working with metal braces, orthodontists have better control over the movement of the teeth, resulting in more precise and predictable results. 
  • As braces are attached to your teeth, there is no risk of forgetting to wear them or losing them, increasing patient compliance for better results.


  • Metal braces are visible and can be unattractive, especially for adults.
  • Braces can cause discomfort and soreness in the mouth, especially after adjustments. It can be challenging to eat and brush your teeth with braces. 

Pros and Cons of Invisalign

Over 14 million people worldwide have used Invisalign to straighten their teeth since their launch in 1999, and they remain one of the most popular orthodontic treatments for crooked teeth.


  • As the metal braces alternative Invisalign is virtually invisible, it is an excellent option for adults and anyone self-conscious about wearing braces. 
  • Invisalign aligners are made of a BPA-free, smooth, comfortable plastic material that is less likely to cause irritation or soreness. 
  • Invisalign aligners are removable, meaning you can eat, brush and floss your teeth as usual.


  • Invisalign is unsuitable for correcting all dental alignment issues and may not be as effective as braces for more complex cases.
  • They must be worn for at least 22 hours daily to be effective, which can be challenging for some patients.
  • Invisalign vs. braces cost can be a significant factor for many patients. Invisalign aligners are generally more expensive than metal braces. 

FAQ About Braces and Invisalign

  • How Long Does Orthodontic Treatment With Braces And Invisalign Usually Take?
    Depending on the degree of the misalignment of your teeth, you might have to use metal braces for 2-3 years. However, Invisalign generally can produce faster results, and the treatment can last between 12-18 months.
  • Is Invisalign Painful?
    While you might feel mild discomfort or soreness with Invisalign, it should disappear in a few days or weeks.
  • How Much Does Orthodontic Treatment With Braces Or Invisalign Cost?
    Traditional braces are more affordable than Invisalign. While Invisalign can range from $3000 to $5000, the average cost of traditional metal braces is between $2000 and 4,000.

So, is Invisalign better than braces? Not necessarily. Dr. Mansi Mehta recommends the treatment option best suited to the patient’s needs and preferences. In some cases, braces may be more effective in achieving the desired results, while Invisalign may be a better option in others. 

Please visit Smiles of Northlake to learn more about these treatment options for straightening your teeth and getting the smile of your dreams.

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