Invisalign and braces are two devices that are used to correct issues with the teeth, bite and jaw. Many people think that they are interchangeable but in fact, they are not. The severity of your mouth issues will determine whether or not braces are needed or if Invisalign is the answer. Braces are generally used to treat complex issues while Invisalign is used for mild issues.

What is Invisalign?

Invisalign consists of removable aligners that gently move the teeth into place. The aligners are discreet and look like small trays. Each set of trays is worn for about two weeks before moving on to the next. The aligners are made of BPA-free clear plastic. A 3D image is made of your teeth so that the trays are a precise fit.

What are braces?

Braces are made of brackets that are attached to each tooth with a bonding or band. A thin metal wire, called the archwire, runs from bracket to bracket, exerting a small amount of force to guide the teeth into their proper position. You may associate braces with a “metal mouth” but that is no longer the case. The technology is far more advanced than it once was and braces can come in different colours, including ones that resemble tooth enamel, making them less noticeable.

Braces vs Invisalign: A breakdown

Although both braces and Invisalign are designed to correct issues with the teeth, bite and jaw, there are some important differences between the two.

Braces Invisalign
Treatment Severe misalignment, overbite, underbite, gaps Misalignment
Maintenance Visit dentist monthly Aligners must be changed every two weeks with dental visits
Cost Between $2,000 – $10,000 Between $5,000 – $8,000
Eating May have sensitivity to hard, sticky foods but generally eating is not a problem Remove before eating and drinking anything with the exception of water
Timing Worn for an average of two years Must be worn at least 22 hours a day for 6-18 months
Cleaning Brush braces while brushing your teeth, use water pick to remove food debris Requires brushing and rinsing in lukewarm water with Invisalign cleaning system
Appearance Metal, can be coloured Clear
Post-treatment Retainer or positioner, usually worn at night Retainer or positioner, usually worn at night

While both braces and Invisalign can correct issues within your mouth, only your dentist and orthodontist can determine which one is right for you.