Invisalign vs Metal Braces

In old movies and TV shows, braces were often portrayed as a right of passage for young people. Unfortunately, they were also frequently shown in a negative light or played for laughs. Over the years, however, they became an increasingly common sight, and even models, actors, and other celebrities were spotted proudly wearing them

Despite their newfound “cool factor” however, some still prefer to go with Invisalign. These virtually invisible alternatives are made of clear plastic aligners that move teeth incrementally until they reach the desired position. Is Invisalign better or are there still more advantages to be had with metal braces?

Let’s compare!

Metal Braces

Metal braces have been used for decades to create bright new smiles, and even with advancing techniques in dentistry, they still have a lot to offer. Some of the pros of metal braces include:


  • Always an Option. No matter what position your teeth are currently in, metal braces are a suitable option. Even if you have multiple issues in need of correcting, braces can be used to fix them, providing you with a great new smile. 
  • Perfect Results. Braces can provide a better result overall, as they can apply more force to move teeth into position. Invisalign has limits on its ability to move teeth.
  • A Variety of Options. While most people likely still envision traditional braces on the outside of the teeth, there are new options such as lingual braces that go behind the teeth. Many orthodontists also offer the option of using coloured elastics to give the braces a snazzy new look with each visit.
  • Faster Results. When closing gaps or simply aligning teeth, treatment may be faster with braces than with Invisalign.

Of course, braces have their disadvantages, too, such as:

  • Appearance. Even though braces are commonplace, some will still feel self-conscious wearing them.
  • Brushing. With braces, brushing and flossing may prove a little more challenging, particularly in the beginning.
  • Food Restrictions. Hard or sticky foods may dislodge a bracket or even break the arch wire, requiring a visit to the orthodontist for a repair.
  • More Frequent Visits. You will need to visit the orthodontist more frequently with braces.


Invisalign aligners are custom-made for each patient by 3D scanning their mouth. These aligners are used to move the teeth in small steps over time. Some of the advantages of Invisalign include:


  • Appearance. This is often a big selling point, as Invisalign aligners are virtually invisible.
  • They Are Removable. Invisalign aligners should be worn 20-22 hours each day but may be removed to eat. This means less concern over the foods you choose to eat.
  • Brushing. Since Invisalign aligners can be removed, brushing and flossing remain as easy as ever.
  • Fewer Visits. There is minimal need for adjustments with Invisalign. You will simply work your way through multiple sets of aligners following your orthodontist’s advice. This means less time off from work or school.
  • Comfort. Moving teeth can be uncomfortable, whether using braces or Invisalign. With Invisalign, however, the plastic aligners are custom made to fit the patient’s mouth and typically do not cause irritation to the inside of the cheek and lips as braces might.

While Invisalign is a great option, it does come with some disadvantages to consider:

  • The Ins and Outs of Invisalign. Since aligners can be removed to eat and to brush, there is always the possibility that they will not be put back in. Worse, if you are eating in a restaurant with friends or family, you need to be sure not to lose them. You will also need to brush before replacing them, as food particles can interfere with the ability of the aligners to move your teeth and may also stain them. Patients need to be disciplined about wearing them for the necessary 20-22 hours each day if they are to be effective.
  • Cost. Although advances in 3D scanning and the material used for creating aligners have made Invisalign comparable in price to braces, certain situations may not be possible to correct with Invisalign alone. This may result in braces being suggested to finalize tooth positions, adding to the overall expense. Further, if you decide upon lingual braces, they are a custom option that is more expensive than traditional braces.
  • Attachments. Occasionally, attachments may be required to help the aligners grip and move the teeth. These attachments will be similar in colour to your teeth but will create an appearance closer to clear braces than aligners.

Both metal braces and Invisalign are great options, but each has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. By reviewing the pros and cons to see which matter most to you, you can be sure of making the best choice for your situation. 

Contact us for more information on Invisalign or any dental questions you may have!

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