Invisalign vs. Traditional Braces – The Pro’s & Con’s of Each


If you’re still trying to decide which type of orthodontic treatment is right for you, Invisalign and traditional braces each have unique advantages worth considering. At Pure Orthodontics, we work with our Edmonton patients to choose the best type of treatment for their individual anatomy, comfort level, and expectations.

Here are the most significant advantages (and disadvantages) between these two popular types of braces:

Invisalign — The Benefits

They’re the “invisible” treatment. Invisalign is the leader in translucent braces. Their clear, BPA-free design makes them essentially invisible when you’re wearing them. Although you can see Invisalign if you look very closely (a few inches away,) most people will never be able to notice them during a casual conversation.

Enjoy fewer, faster follow up appointments. Your aligners are created at Invisalign headquarters and delivered to your provider’s office in advance. Because you pick up several sets of trays each time you stop by for a follow-up visit, you’ll only need a short appointment about every 2-3 months. Even busy parents and working professionals can fit that into their schedule!

Improved your oral hygiene. Aligning your teeth may make them easier to clean, but having Invisalign expedites the process. There’s no need for additional tools or aids to clean under/around wires and brackets. Simply remove your aligners to brush and floss as normal.

Make a minimal impact on your daily routine. Invisalign patients can eat whatever they want to without worrying about how it will affect their braces. Since you don’t eat or drink in your aligners, there are no appliances that can break or pop off when you bite into an apple or chew a piece of steak. All you have to do is remember to take them out at every meal.


Braces — Advantages to Traditional Treatment

Traditional braces can be successful for just about any situation, whether it involves minor tooth movement or complex bite alignment.

Thanks to more modern advancements in materials, they also come in non-metal options, such as tooth-coloured ceramic braces and low-profile wires that are less noticeable against the teeth.

Cost-wise, traditional braces are the same cost as Invisalign. The price gap used to be more significant (making braces far more affordable,) but as Invisalign prices have dropped over time, the two are more similarly priced than they have been in years past.

Perhaps the most significant advantage of modern braces is their suitability for all age ranges. From 7 to 77, conventional orthodontics can be used for Phase I (early interceptive) treatments in young children to comprehensive or relapse treatment in adults.

Because conventional orthodontics can easily be changed and adjusted, they are often the preferred type of braces for younger patients whose mouths are constantly evolving. The ability to incorporate additional appliances (such as space maintainers, Herbst aids, or palatal expanders) provides more flexibility when addressing orofacial development in children and adolescents.


Invisalign — Potential Disadvantages to Consider

Invisalign requires dedication and attentiveness by the patient to make sure the treatment is successful. Sometimes, whether due to absent-mindedness or a very hectic schedule, it can be difficult to remember to wear the aligners as directed. A busy high school athlete might find that they have trouble keeping up with their aligners (or forget to wear them at all) due to a demanding daily routine. Or no matter how many times you try to remember to take the aligners out during meals, you just keep forgetting.

If this describes you (or your beloved teenager,) then Invisalign might not be the ideal choice for your orthodontic treatment. You may do better with fixed appliances that don’t require remembering to take them out or when to wear them. It’s just one less thing to have to keep up with!

In the past, Invisalign was reserved for mild to moderate tooth misalignment cases. Thanks to advancements in technology, more experienced providers might now be able to utilize Invisalign to address more complex cases that might have previously required traditional braces.

Young children often lack the maturity to follow an Invisalign regimen, but their rapidly growing oral anatomy also presents a problem with a removable aligner system.


Braces — When They Might Not be Right for You

Wearing conventional orthodontics works well for the thousands of patients that choose them each year. Still, there are some situations where electing to wear fixed bracket systems might not be desirable. Here are a few examples:

  • Aesthetic challenges posed by conventional brackets and wires
  • Difficulty cleaning around fixed appliances, causing unwanted buildup and tooth discoloration
  • Dietary restrictions, such as a firm or sticky foods that might cause appliances to pull off of the teeth.
  • Possible irritation from the appliances to the inside of the lips and cheeks.
  • The risk of appliances breaking or falling off at inopportune times.
  • Soreness caused by periodic adjustments or tightening of the braces.


In Summary: Which is Better Than the Other?

Both Invisalign and conventional braces have a place in modern orthodontic therapy. While Invisalign offers more flexibility and the option for a low-profile experience, traditional braces allow for more room for your orthodontist to incorporate additional aids when younger patients require orofacial growth modification.

Ultimately, the decision rests upon a conversation between you and your orthodontist, after reviewing your:

  • Short and long-term goals/needs
  • Aesthetic preferences
  • Age and oral development
  • Daily routine
  • Budget and/or insurance requirements
  • Anatomical concerns that need to be addressed


Still Uncertain? Schedule a Consultation

At Pure Orthodontics in Red Deer, Edmonton, Leduc, Sherwood Park, we can provide you with an unbiased opinion about what the best type of braces are for you and your smile. We’ll discuss what to eat with braces, how the advantages of each type of braces can impact your unique needs and possible considerations to keep in mind. Even if you have all of the information up front, you’ll need to have a comprehensive exam and series of X-rays before being able to make a formal decision about the type of braces that you should choose.

Schedule a consultation at our clinic to find out if you’re a candidate and get a treatment estimate for the duration and associated costs involved. Call today!


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