I’ve had many patients go back and forth between traditional braces and clear aligners when deciding how to get treated. I know it can be a tricky choice, because they’re both great.
If you’re debating between metal braces vs. Invisalign, you’re in the right place. I’m going to lay out my arguments for choosing one over the other. As for which is best, it ultimately depends on what’s most important to you. But here is my opinion:
Metal braces are better than Invisalign because they can treat a wide variety of cases. They are also better at fixing bites. Nonetheless, metal braces have their drawbacks. Metal braces are fixed to teeth, quite visible, uncomfortable, and may take longer than clear aligners.
Choosing between these two treatment options will depend on two things. The first one is personal preference. We’ll discuss all the pros and cons in this article to help you decide.
The second thing that will influence your decision should be your orthodontist’s opinion. Clear aligners like Invisalign can be limited in what they can correct. Your orthodontist should decide if you’re a good candidate for aligners.
Metal Braces vs. Invisalign: Which Is Better?
I believe metal braces are better than Invisalign, but it’s not a simple answer.
Metal braces are better if you need a lot of work done, like extractions, surgery, or bite correction. They use brackets and wires to straighten teeth and fix your bite.
Fully fixing the bite is the goal of any orthodontic treatment, while just straightening the front teeth is considered a compromise.
Metal braces have been around the longest and there are lots of studies that show they work well. Orthodontists have more experience with them and are more comfortable recommending them.
Invisalign uses clear aligners that move your teeth little by little. The movements are planned ahead of time using special software. This saves time because you don’t have to change wires like with metal braces.
Invisalign also uses little bumps on your teeth called attachments. These help the aligners grip better, especially for more difficult movements. Invisalign is capable of fixing the bite, but it may take longer than braces.
Invisalign is and not as widely used by orthodontists yet because it’s not as effective in correcting severe cases. However, in skilled hands, and with a little help from accessories like attachments, buttons, and rubber bands, Invisalign aligners can work on difficult cases too.
More adults are choosing clear aligners like Invisalign these days because they are removable, esthetic, and convenient. Hopefully, aligners will become precise and powerful enough to solve even the most challenging issues.
Metal Braces Advantages & Disadvantages
Metal braces have some serious advantages that make them suitable for all ages and treatment types.
METAL BRACES PROS:
METAL BRACES CONS:
Invisalign Advantages & Disadvantages
Invisalign has been around for 20+ years and is a powerful tool in any orthodontist’s arsenal. Here are Invisalign’s main pros and cons:
|Treatment Aspect||Metal Braces||Invisalign|
|Treatment Length||Typically 18-36 months||Typically 6-18 months, but may take longer for complex cases|
|Cost||Generally less expensive, but can vary depending on the case|
|Often more expensive, but can vary depending on the case|
|Appearance||More noticeable||Nearly invisible, but attachments and plastic film may still be visible up close|
|Comfort||Can cause discomfort and soreness, especially during the initial adjustment period||Generally more comfortable, but may still cause pain depending on the patient’s sensitivity|
|Removable||Cannot be removed||Can be removed for eating, brushing, and flossing|
|Cases Treated||Effective for complex dental issues, such as severe bite problems or jaw misalignment||May not be as effective for complex dental issues, but can treat cosmetic corrections and some bite problems|
|Food Restrictions||Need to avoid sticky or hard foods||Need to remove aligners before eating or drinking anything other than water|
How to Decide Between Invisalign And Braces? QUIZ
Deciding between metal braces and Invisalign can be tough. There are many factors to consider, and it can be overwhelming to figure out which option is best for you. That’s why I’ve put together a quick quiz with 11 questions to consider:
Can You Switch From Metal Braces to Invisalign?
If you already started orthodontic treatment with metal braces, you might have some regrets about it. Some people start to resent their fixed braces and want to get them off as soon as possible.
The good news is that you can switch from metal braces to Invisalign if that’s something you want. You will need to pay additional costs, but most orthodontists will be able to offer Invisalign or another version of clear aligners.
If you’re feeling self-conscious about your appearance with braces, Invisalign will be a big improvement. You’ll also be able to brush better with metal braces and avoid white spots on your teeth that result from plaque.
Metal braces and Invisalign can, in fact, be a great combination. Some orthodontists use a mix of the two on purpose. They start their patients on braces to correct more challenging issues and then switch to Invisalign to refine teeth positions.
Can You Get Metal Braces After Invisalign?
Some people have the opposite problem. They’re not happy with Invisalign results and want to switch to traditional braces.
You can absolutely get metal braces after Invisalign if you’re not satisfied with your result and want more correction. I suggest seeking a second orthodontist’s opinion if you weren’t pleased with the first round of orthodontic treatment.
Keep in mind that the treatment might take longer since metal braces take a different approach. Metal braces need at least 12 months to fully correct the bite if you’ve previously had braces, but it’s more realistic to expect 18+ months of extra treatment.
If you only need certain teeth to sit in a better position, then perhaps consider partial braces. They’re faster than full braces and just as efficient for correcting front teeth.
Choosing between metal braces and Invisalign is deeply personal and depends on so many things. I believe orthodontics will naturally progress to clear aligners in time, but for now, there’s still room for improvement. I still prefer traditional braces for cases where I need more control and a more powerful approach.