Invisalign vs Traditional Braces: Which is Right for You?

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Metal braces were the gold standard for straightening teeth for many years. They are still highly popular today, but increasingly, patients and orthodontists are turning to Invisalign treatment, billed as the “clear alternative to braces.” Both braces and Invisalign clear aligners work well, and in most cases, patients can choose whichever they prefer. Here is some information to help you decide which is right for you.

Treatment Planning

When planning treatment with traditional braces, your orthodontist will point out the issues with your teeth and explain how the braces will help. Exactly how you will look, though, will remain a mystery until your braces are removed.

Invisalign treatment planning uses 3-D computer modeling to morph your existing smile to show you each stage of treatment, including the results. In addition, you will change aligners at home every week or as directed. This allows you to closely monitor your progress.

Which you prefer depends on your personality. Do you like a bit of mystique followed by a big reveal? Braces might be the best choice. Do you like to plan everything out and avoid surprises? Invisalign is definitely the way to go.

Ease of Use

Ease of use also depends on your personality. Traditional braces put your orthodontist in control. He or she will place them, adjust them, and remove them. You will need to memorize a list of off-limits foods and learn how to properly care for your teeth and braces, but otherwise you are responsible only for making it to your appointments. However, you will need to visit the orthodontist more frequently, and may need emergency visits for things like popped wires or loose brackets.

Invisalign puts you in control. Your orthodontist will place attachments on your teeth, show you how to insert and remove the aligners, and monitor your progress every six to ten weeks. Beyond that, you are responsible for your own treatment. You will change aligners at home every week or as directed, and remove your aligners for eating, drinking, and oral hygiene. However, you must be disciplined enough to brush your teeth and clean your aligners and put them right back in. You must avoid losing them, and remember to change them on time.


Until recently, braces were the cheaper option. Today, though, this is becoming less and less true. To compare costs, add the price of adjustments and emergency visits to the quoted cost for braces, along with any upgrade fees for colored metal or other customizations. Invisalign is sold as a complete treatment package including all appointments, retainers and follow up visits.

Since it is difficult to predict exactly how many emergency visits may be needed, many people prefer the security of the Invisalign pricing model. In addition, Invisalign Teen includes six free replacement aligners in case any are misplaced.

Dental insurance is complicated. Some policies cover both braces and Invisalign, some cover only braces, and some cover neither. We can talk to your insurer to determine your out of pocket charges for both options but typically your insurance carrier will reimburse you directly..


Most patients feel that Invisalign is more comfortable than braces. When the attachments are first placed, you may feel them when the aligners are not in your mouth. You might also experience some mild discomfort as your teeth shift into place. However, braces are made of metal. Oral scrapes, cuts, and sores are extremely common and can be difficult to get rid of. Each adjustment can bring new pain, and some people report that they never quite get used to the feeling of braces.


Many young children enjoy the pop of color in their mouths that modern braces can provide. However, if you are a teen or older and not the type to make a bold statement, you might feel awkward or uncomfortable showing off a mouthful of metal whenever you eat, speak, smile, or laugh.

Invisalign aligners are clear and virtually invisible. If you work in a career where aesthetics matter or simply do not care to advertise that you are straightening your teeth, Invisalign is the better option.

Whether to choose Invisalign or traditional braces is a highly personal decision. We will present you with your options and help you determine which choice is best for you.

If you are looking for a Manhattan orthodontist who is highly skilled and experienced, with a passion for helping others, please contact Park Avenue Orthodontics today at 212-452-2777 to schedule your first appointment.