Invisalign and Braces: The Ups and Downs of Each


There are so many options for dental treatments and procedures now – it can be overwhelming if you’ve never done your research, and have been recommended some sort of straightening process by your orthodontist.

As you probably know, there are two popular, effective options for straightening any problem teeth you need taken care of, and improving your smile! Invisalign and traditional braces are giants in the dental industry, and for good reason.

Like everything in life, there are good things that stand out with both treatments, and things that may not suit your preference – everybody is different, and every smile is unique. It makes sense to have options! So, let’s go over them now.

Braces: Pros

  • Braces have been used for a much longer period of time as the traditional treatment for a crooked smile; therefore, braces have a larger quantity of cases with positive outcomes under their belt. Did you know that orthodontic braces were invented in the early 1800’s?

*According to Humana, there are over 4 million Americans currently wearing braces!  *Canadian stats*

  • You can customize the look of your braces periodically – this is especially beneficial for younger children and teenagers, who may want to personalize and have fun with their elastics while they endure the straightening process.
  • If you’re not looking to comply with aligners wear schedule required by Invisalign and are just looking to get something in and forget about it, braces may be a better alternative for you!
  • Braces are suitable for almost all ages!
  • Modern braces can combat a variety of issues, whether minor or severe, in a more efficient way than clear aligners like Invisalign.

Braces: Cons

  • Braces are highly visible, especially when you’re smiling, in photographs, and can pose an aesthetic challenge; as an adult with braces, it’s not uncommon to be very self-conscious about your appearance.
  • The list of foods you can’t eat while you have your braces suddenly becomes a mile long; no chewing gum, popcorn, nuts, apples, candy, and much more!
  • If you have compromised gum health, or pre-existing dental conditions, braces may not work in your favour.
  • More difficult to clean – the brackets can pose issues that can result in build-up and discoloration
  • Braces can often cause soreness following periodic adjustments
  • Many people experience painful cuts and/or irritation in the lips and cheeks

Now, let’s take a look at Invisalign! Since you may not know much about it yet as an alternative to braces, here are some statistics:

  • Invisalign is offered in more than 45 countries, and is currently treating over 2.5 million patients
  • The average cost of Invisalign is somewhere between $5000 -7000 in Edmonton, Alberta, almost right on par with the cost of braces

Invisalign: Pros

  • Invisalign has a discreet appearance, with the aligners being clear, and almost invisible.
  • They’re way more comfortable than braces – you don’t have any wires to deal with, therefore lessening the chances of pain being inflicted on your lips, cheeks, and tongue
  • You can remove them for eating, drinking, and brushing, so you don’t have to restrict certain foods from your diet
  • Your trays are low maintenance, and can be cleaned every other day with a soft bristle toothbrush and antibacterial soap, and/or a small amount of bleach to avoid staining.
  • You can clean and floss your teeth as normal as ever, so they are better for oral hygiene and gum health.

Invisalign: Cons

  • You will need to wear your aligners for a minimum of 22 hours per day – anything less, and you’ll be jeopardizing your final results. So, if you can’t fully commit, or are notorious for being forgetful, trays may not be the right fit for you!
  • Adding attachments has become normal with Invisalign; this can make the trays more noticeable, reducing the “invisibility” perk they offer slightly.
  • While it is nice to be able to easily remove your trays for eating purposes, this can also prove to be inconvenient at times; if you’re eating out at a restaurant, for example, on a date, or a guest in someone’s home. (The new Invisalign patient kit will help make that more luxurious)
  • Your new trays may be uncomfortable, even painful due to the pressure on your teeth, but are still more comfortable than braces.