Invisalign vs. Braces

Skyview dentistry team

While braces and Invisalign can improve the look of your smile, these treatments are more than purely cosmetic dentistry; these orthodontic treatments can also improve the health, function, and comfort of your smile. Crooked teeth not only affect your appearance, but they also increase the risk of periodontal disease and tooth decay because crooked teeth are more difficult to keep adequately clean. Additionally, they can cause problems with your bite, leading to temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) and its painful symptoms. Straightening your smile can improve both your smile's aesthetics and your health.

When it comes to straightening your smile, there are a variety of orthodontic treatments available, including two of the most popular, traditional braces and Invisalign.

What Are Traditional Braces?

Traditional braces are orthodontic appliances that traditionally use a system of metal brackets cemented to the tooth enamel, wires, and rubber bands to gradually shift a patient's teeth and bite into the desired arrangement and alignment.

While braces can address a wide range of orthodontic issues, they are most often recommended for patients who have more complex orthodontic adjustment needs that cannot be adequately addressed with other treatment options.

There are some commonly noted drawbacks to treatment with braces:

  • The metal versions are highly visible on the teeth.
  • Metal braces can also be rough on the soft tissues of the mouth, leading to sores and discomfort.
  • They require patients to be mindful of the things they eat during treatment and refrain from eating overly hard or sticky foods.
  • Braces require the use of special cleaning tools, such as interdental brushes, to maintain good oral hygiene.
  • Braces can leave behind stains on the surfaces of the teeth that will need to be addressed after they have been removed.
  • Treatment with braces requires more frequent follow-up appointments for progress monitoring and adjustment.

Despite these drawbacks, metal braces are an excellent treatment option for some patients, and modern varieties provide clear and tooth-colored ceramic options that are not as noticeable as traditional metal-colored versions.

What Is Invisalign?

Invisalign is an orthodontic, teeth-straightening system that uses clear aligner trays to gradually shift the teeth into the desired locations and alignment using targeted, gentle pressure.

Each patient's treatment includes a set of slightly graduated, uniquely designed aligner trays. Each tray is worn for at least 22 hours a day for about two weeks to shift the teeth just fractions of a millimeter. By the time the patient has worked their way through all of the trays (after anywhere from three to 18 months), their teeth will be in the desired alignment.

Invisalign offers a variety of benefits over traditional braces:

  • Clear aligner trays are clear and almost invisible when worn, allowing for a more discreet course of treatment.
  • Aligner trays are made from smooth plastic that is gentle on the mouth's soft tissues.
  • Aligner trays can be removed for meals, so patients can continue enjoying all of their favorite foods throughout the course of their orthodontic treatment.
  • Patients can continue their normal oral hygiene routines since Invisalign trays can be removed for brushing and flossing.
  • Invisalign patients do not need to visit the dental office for as many follow-up appointments as patients with braces.

Despite these benefits, treatment with Invisalign is recommended only for minor and some moderate orthodontic issues.

Additionally, Invisalign is only recommended for responsible patients over the age of 16, since aligner trays can be removed at the patient's discretion. Strict adherence to the treatment protocols (such as wearing the aligners for at least 22 hours every day) is necessary for treatment success.

Invisalign vs. Braces: Which Is Better?

Whether treatment with Invisalign or braces is better for you depends first on the complexity of your orthodontic issues. More complex or severe alignment issues typically require treatment with braces for at least the initial segment of treatment. If you are a candidate for both Invisalign and braces, then the decision is largely left to the individual patient's preference.

To help you determine which treatment is right for you, our dentist can talk with you about what is involved with both types of treatments, what you can expect, and how much Invisalign or braces are likely to cost you (taking into account your case's complexity and any insurance coverage you may have). These factors should be carefully considered before you decide which course of treatment is right for you.

Straighten Your Smile With Our Cosmetic Dentist in Charlotte

Our dentist can help you straighten your teeth and create the smile of your dreams with cosmetic and orthodontic treatments like Invisalign in Charlotte. Whether your misaligned teeth and bite are causing oral health problems or you simply want to improve the look of your smile with greater symmetry and balance, our dental care team at Skyview Dentistry is here to help. To learn more about orthodontics like braces and Invisalign or to request a consultation, we welcome you to contact our dental office in Charlotte today.


We look forward to meeting you. Call 704.632.7700 or request an appointment online to set up your first visit. We’ll be in touch soon.