Invisalign results, Dr. Priyanka Patel, Lincoln Park Chicago Dentist

Invisalign vs. Braces: What’s the Difference?

Invisalign and braces are two of the most common orthodontic solutions for overcrowded teeth or uneven bites. For many years braces were a popular treatment for kids, teens, and young adults. Since the emergence of invisible aligners, many people are opting for the subtle aesthetics and reliability of Invisalign.

In this article, we will break down the biggest differences between Invisalign and Braces so that you can make an informed decision about your options.

A Brief Comparison of Invisalign and Braces

Invisalign and braces have similar efficacy in correcting teeth problems, spacing, and dental structure for people of all ages. The key differences arise in the price, wearability, ease of use, comfort, speed, and more. Here is a breakdown of the biggest discrepancies between these popular orthodontic treatments.


The cost of orthodontic treatments depends on a variety of factors. Typically dental insurance won’t cover cosmetic services, but there are occasional exceptions if your treatment is for the health and protection of your teeth.


The biggest deciding factor between Invisalign and braces is usually a matter of aesthetics. Braces are composed of wire, brackets, and sometimes rubber bands for necessary tension. They cover the exterior of your teeth during the entire duration of your treatment and can not be removed.

Invisible aligners like Invisalign are custom-fit to your teeth, created with a transparent material that can be worn similar to a retainer. Depending on your treatment length, you will receive new Invisalign retainers as your teeth start to move into the correct placement. Many adults opt for Invisalign because it’s visibly discrete, unlike braces.

Comfort and Wearability

Research shows that more people experience pain and discomfort with braces than Invisalign. Braces can take some time to get used to and cause jaw stiffness, especially when the orthodontist tightens them. Since they are made of metal and wire, sometimes this can scrape areas of the mouth, creating additional discomfort.

Invisalign is a soft, smooth material with a short adjustment period. Many users don’t complain about pain but an awkward sensation during the first few weeks. Occasional discomfort can occur after your switch to a new liner, but this often resolves in a few days. Once you begin treatment, you might have a slight lisp as you get used to the feeling of invisible braces.

Speed and Results

On average, Invisalign is worn for six to eighteen months, depending on the complexity of the dental readjustment. Braces can sometimes be worn for up to two years and are frequently recommended for individuals with severe realignment issues.

However, both treatments are FDA-approved and effective at treating malocclusion. The speed and accuracy of results greatly depend on the individual circumstance.

Cleaning and General Care

Invisalign is usually easy to upkeep since individuals can normally remove the liners while eating and brushing their teeth. As long as you clean your retainer and maintain sufficient oral health, there isn’t any cause for concern.

On the other hand, braces can make it difficult to eat certain food items. Orthodontists will usually recommend individuals steer clear of chewy candy, gum, popcorn, and certain hard food groups. People with braces need to prioritize flossing, avid teeth brushing, and often use a small brush to get between the metal crevices.

Application and Procedure

Braces have to be positioned on your teeth by an orthodontist after imaging and dental X-rays. The brackets are bonded to the tooth surface with adhesive and secured with bands. Usually, braces require more follow–up visits and tightening appointments than Invisalign.

Invisalign is created from a custom mold of your teeth. Multiple trays are created in your treatment plan to gradually realign your teeth. Users will generally switch to a new tray every few weeks, depending on the complexity of their condition.

Invisalign vs. Braces: What is Best For Me?

Invisalign and braces are equally great options for transforming your smile. Braces are usually easier for kids since they don’t have to remember to wear, clean, and reinsert their invisible aligners. Adults prefer Invisalign since it’s virtually invisible compared to braces, making it better suited for professional environments.

For severe dental issues, braces may be a more effective option. At the end of the day, both are effective treatments and greatly depend on the individual’s preference.