Invisalign vs Braces - What's the Best Choice?


For centuries metal braces have been the only option for patients wanting to straighten their teeth. Now, innovations in orthodontics have produced many more options for patients to choose from. There are benefits and drawbacks for all treatments and it is important for patients to clearly understand these. In this post I will break down the most important factors involved with braces and Invisalign, to allow you to weigh up the pros and cons and make a well informed decision. 


The main advantage of Invisalign is that the retainers are almost invisible. The treatment uses clear, plastic aligners. The patient goes through a number of different customised aligners to achieve the perfect smile. Braces are more visible, traditionally made out of metal brackets and wires that are permanently attached to the outside of your teeth. There are however other options now including lingual braces which are attached behind the teeth and ceramic braces.

Eating and Drinking

Another benefit to Invisalign is being able to take them out. When eating or drinking, patients should remove their aligners, which, unlike braces, means you can still eat or drink what you like. With braces, there are certain foods you need to avoid or take extra care with. This includes crunchy foods, sticky foods, hard foods and also food that requires biting into such as apples.

Brushing and Flossing Teeth

With Invisalign, you take your aligners out to brush and floss your teeth, meaning the process remains exactly the same. With braces, it can be more difficult to brush your teeth and floss with the brackets and wire in the way, meaning that food particles can easily become trapped. You also need to brush more frequently with braces, as if the teeth got darker while braces were fitted, you could be left with light marks on the teeth where the brackets were attached. Orthodontics advise brushing straight after you eat or drink a non-clear drink.


Both Invisalign and braces can cause pain and discomfort when the teeth are moving. However, braces can cause more mouth and gum problems like cuts and ulcers due to the metal brackets rubbing against the inside of the cheek and tongue. Of course this isn't a permanent issue, but definitely something to consider when making your choice.


With Invisalign and traditional braces, the price can vary a lot and differs from patient to patient. Braces in the UK on average can cost you anywhere between £1,075 to £5,000, depending on the type of brace you choose and severity of the issue. Invisalign treatment can cost from £1,595 to £7,000 depending on the complexity of the issue. Speak to an Invisalign doctor to find out exactly how much the treatment would cost for you.

Orthodontic Appointments

Another bonus to Invisalign is that you don’t have to go in for many appointments. After visiting an Invisalign doctor, a 3D scan of your teeth is used to make all the customised retainers in a laboratory. You are given several different sets of retainers at once and advised when to change them. With braces, you have to go in every month or two to get the braces tightened, so can end up taking quite a bit of time off work or school.


Invisalign is effective at treating overcrowding, spacing, crossbites, overbites and underbites. Braces are effective at treating all these issues, but can also be used to treat more severe issues.

Treatment Time

Generally treatment time for Invisalign is faster than traditional braces. You have to wear your aligners for 22 to 24 hours a day and it takes around 6 to 18 months. Braces usually last from 16 to 18 months, however can be longer if the patient has more complex issues. Of course you cannot predict how long the braces need to remain with either treatment, and both can take up to 2/3 years for the finished results.

Invisalign and braces both have their pros and cons and it will be down to your orthodontist to advise you on what treatment may suit you best. You can visit an Invisalign doctor to get their expert opinion, or make an appointment with your dentist to get the discussion started.

This is a collaborative post.

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