Invisalign vs. Traditional Braces

If you're thinking about straightening your teeth or achieving a more comfortably aligned bite, then you're likely considering orthodontic treatment with braces or a system of clear aligner trays such as Invisalign. Deciding which treatment is right for you, however, can be complex, as several factors will help to determine which orthodontic treatment can best meet your treatment needs and expectations while helping you achieve your oral health goals.

What Are Traditional Braces?

Traditional braces use a set of metal brackets that are attached to the teeth with special dental adhesive. A system of wires connects the brackets. The wires are gradually tightened and adjusted in order to shift the teeth into the desired alignment. Rubberbands are also sometimes used in addition to the wires for further adjustment

What Is Invisalign?

Invisalign is an exciting alternative to traditional, metal braces. The Invisalign treatment protocol uses a graduated system of clear, plastic aligner trays that are worn over the teeth. Each tray gently moves the teeth closer to the desired, final location, arrangement, and alignment. 

Invisalign vs. Traditional Braces: How Do They Compare?


Metal braces are visible on the teeth, and this is the primary reason why many patients choose Invisalign over braces. Treatment with Invisalign is much more discrete than treatment with traditional braces. While wearing Invisalign, teeth are still visible, making the treatment virtually invisible. 


Invisalign is also more lifestyle-friendly, as the aligner trays can be removed during meals or for photos (although they wouldn't really be visible anyway). So, you can continue enjoying all of your favorite foods. 

With metal braces, patients need to be careful about the foods they consume, avoiding hard or sticky foods. 

Oral Hygiene and Care

With Invisalign, patients can simply remove their aligners to brush and floss normally. Braces require a bit of special hygiene care and tools to maintain good oral hygiene. 

Checkups and Follow-Up Exams

Braces require a dentist to periodically tighten and adjust the wires. This requires follow-up appointments about every four to six weeks throughout the course of treatment. The total number of appointments needed varies, depending on the length of the patient's treatment which, on average, can range anywhere from three to 18 months, depending on the treatment's complexity. 

With Invisalign, the majority of the treatment work is completed during the first couple of appointments (i.e. digital impressions and patient education). Depending on the length and complexity of treatment, one or two quick follow-up examinations might be recommended to ensure treatment is progressing as it should.

Following Treatment Protocol

Invisalign is only recommended for responsible patients over the age of 16 because it won't work if a person doesn't stick to the treatment regimen, wearing their aligner trays for at least 22 hours every day. 

Traditional braces cannot be removed, so neglecting treatment protocol is not an issue. 

Traditional Braces Cost vs. Invisalign Cost

The cost of traditional braces and Invisalign treatment is fairly comparable, but it can vary greatly, depending on the complexity of the patient's treatment needs. Our dentist can discuss estimated costs with you and what portion is likely to be covered by insurance. 

Treatment Needs

Invisalign is only recommended for addressing moderate to mild cases of misalignment and malocclusion. More complex cases will likely require at least some treatment with traditional braces. 

Are There Any Other Alternative Orthodontic Treatments?

Yes, there are several approaches to orthodontic care and straightening teeth in addition to traditional metal braces and Invisalign. For example, patients with cases that are too complex for comprehensive treatment with Invisalign can still benefit from discrete treatment using alternatives such as lingual braces (braces that are located on the backside of the teeth) or tooth-colored ceramic braces. 

Why Orthodontic Treatment Is Important

Yes, straightening your teeth with orthodontics can improve the look of your smile and your appearance by creating greater aesthetic balance and symmetry. Braces and Invisalign, however, aren't just cosmetic treatments; crooked teeth or a misaligned bite not only affect your appearance but can also be harmful to your health.

Having crooked teeth makes it more difficult to keep the teeth and gums clean. As a result, they can increase a person's risk of tooth decay, cavities, and periodontal disease (gum disease). Additionally, malocclusion (misaligned bite) can result in a variety of painful issues, such as temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) and bruxism (teeth grinding and jaw clenching) that can be problematic to a person's oral and overall health as well. 

Learn More About Braces and Invisalign in Enumclaw, WA

To learn more about getting Invisalign or braces in Enumclaw, WA, we encourage you to request a consultation with our experienced dentist at Decker Dental. During your appointment, Dr. Decker can talk with you about your oral health and orthodontic concerns in addition to your treatment preferences, he can then examine your teeth and take any necessary diagnostic imaging to help you determine the course of orthodontic treatment that will work best for you. 

Connect With Us

Call 360.825.3191 or click the link below to schedule an appointment online.

Decker Dental Team Photo