Invisalign vs. Braces: Which is right for you?
Thinking about straightening your teeth? Well, it’s likely you’re currently wrangling with the great Invisalign vs. braces debate.
Ever since clear aligners shimmied their virtually-invisible trays into our dental clinics, people have been torn between choosing braces or Invisalign. Yep, it’s the million-dollar question on everyone’s mind when they decide to straighten their smile.
And while there is no right or wrong answer — there is certainly an option that is right for you, your budget and your lifestyle.
But how the heck do you decide?!
At Delight Dental Spa, we know teeth straightening like the back of our hand. So, we’re here to help you weigh up the pros and cons of Invisalign vs. braces and make your decision that little bit easier.
Psst… Want more personal advice on whether Invisalign or braces are right for you? Book in your FREE consultation at Delight Dental Spa!
In the left corner, we have Invisalign…
A barely-there, removable option that uses a series of clear plastic trays to gently straighten your teeth. Invisalign does offer a little more freedom and flexibility to suit your lifestyle since the trays can be removed. This means you can take them out to brush, floss, eat, drink or hit that big event with confidence. But keep in mind, Invisalign trays must be worn for at least 20 to 22 hours per day to work effectively!
There are a few different types of Invisalign products available and the type of aligner trays you need will depend on the severity of your case.
In the right corner, we have braces…
The traditional teeth straightening method that uses wires and brackets to gently shift your smile into perfect shape. Braces are fixed to your teeth during your entire treatment. There are a few different types available, each offering a slightly different look and experience:
- Metal braces
Traditional metal braces use stainless steel brackets and wires that are fixed to the outside of your teeth. These are the most noticeable of the braces bunch.
- Ceramic braces
The main difference between ceramic vs. metal braces is that ceramic braces use brackets that are made out of white or clear (you guessed it!) ceramic. They are slightly less noticeable than metal braces because they blend in better with the colour of your teeth.
- Lingual braces
You may hear people refer to lingual braces as “inside braces”. That’s because this type of braces uses metal brackets and wires that are attached to the back of your teeth rather than the front. This makes them a lot less visible than the other types of braces, but they can take longer to fit.
Now we’ve covered the basic difference between Invisalign and braces, let’s dive into the nitty-gritty factors that may help you in your decision.
The cost factor — Which is more expensive: Invisalign or braces?
Let’s be honest — cost plays a major role when trying to decide between Invisalign or braces. In fact, the cost of Invisalign vs. braces is one of the most common questions we hear in our Mascot dental clinic.
So, which is more expensive: braces or Invisalign?
The truth is… (*drumroll*)
The cost of braces and Invisalign ultimately depends on a few key factors that are unique to your case, such as:
- The complexity of your case
- How long your treatment will take
- The expertise of your dentist
- How much your health insurance may cover
While we can’t give you a definitive answer on how much your braces or Invisalign treatment will cost, we can offer a general rundown on pricing for each.
Cost of Invisalign
First, let’s take a look at the cost of Invisalign. Most people assume that Invisalign is the most expensive teeth straightening option. But in some cases, Invisalign can actually end up being less expensive than braces.
Currently, the average cost of Invisalign in Australia is between $3,500 and $8,500.
We know cost is one of the most important factors when considering Invisalign — that’s why we’ve written a whole article dedicated to the topic! Check it out here.
Cost of braces
The cost of braces can vary greatly for each different type.
Traditional metal braces are usually the cheapest option, ranging from $5,900 to $8,000.
Ceramic braces are slightly more expensive than metal braces, at around $6,000 to $8,500.
Lingual braces are the most expensive, starting from $8,000.
The cost of Invisalign vs. braces
Check out our handy Invisalign vs. braces cost comparison table below for a quick snapshot of pricing:
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Not quite ready to book? Download our Invisalign guide to see some of our patients’ incredible before and after transformations.
Your dream smile is closer than you think…
Book your FREE Invisalign consultation today!
Not quite ready yet? Download our Invisalign guide to see some of our patients’ incredible before and after transformations.
The pain factor — Are braces more painful than Invisalign?
No matter what teeth straightening option you choose, you’re guaranteed to feel a little discomfort and pain along the way. After all, your teeth are undergoing a major transformation.
Both Invisalign and braces are designed to use gentle yet consistent pressure to gradually move your teeth into their correct position. So, as your teeth shift, you may experience some sensitivity, dull soreness, aching or throbbing. However, this pain is usually mild and won’t stop you from going about your day. If you do require pain relief, your dentist will be able to recommend the best over-the-counter medication.
Hey, a little pain now is worth it for a lifetime of perfectly straight teeth, right?
How much does Invisalign hurt?
Since the Invisalign trays are made from specialised smooth plastic and sit snug over your teeth, you’ll barely feel them in your mouth. This means you’ll typically experience almost no irritation to your lips, cheeks and gums while wearing your aligner trays.
The potential pain you’ll experience while your Invisalign trays are working their magic will depend on the severity of your case and how much your teeth are required to move.
How much do braces hurt?
It goes without saying that a mouthful of metal ain’t exactly a picnic. Whether you opt for traditional metal braces, ceramic braces or lingual braces, you’ll likely experience some irritation and cuts to your cheeks, lips, tongue and gums. Your dentist can help you combat this with orthodontic wax to smooth over any particularly pesky brackets or wires.
Much like Invisalign, the pain you experience from the movement of your teeth while wearing braces will depend on your unique case.
The success factor — Does Invisalign work as well as braces?
Another big question we hear in our Mascot dental clinic is: Does Invisalign work as well as braces?
How effective is Invisalign?
It’s true. Invisalign is effective for most cases, including mild-to-severe tooth crowding, an overbite or underbite, tooth gaps and other common problems. It also suits most adults and teens.
Invisalign also offers your dentist more precise control over your teeth than braces because each tooth is moved individually in a customised plastic tray. With braces, the wires put the same pressure on all of your teeth and require more tweaking to be individualised, meaning more appointments.
But even though Invisalign has some fun perks (I mean, who doesn’t love the idea of discreet, removable trays?), it’s not always the best option. There are some cases where braces could be a more effective solution — but in our experience, these cases are quite rare. In adults, we see very few cases that we cannot treat with Invisalign.
How effective are braces?
Braces often get a bad rap, but there’s a reason they have been used for decades. They are incredibly effective — even in the most severe and challenging cases. Millions of people have seen great success with braces. Often, braces can help you achieve your dream smile quicker than other methods too.
So, is Invisalign better than braces?
In most cases, yes — we believe Invisalign will be the better option.
But are braces better than Invisalign in some other cases?
Yes — in some very complex cases or scenarios where a teen doesn’t think they can commit to wearing their aligners often enough, braces may be the way to go.
Ultimately, both are highly effective teeth straightening solutions. And when your dentist determines the best option for your situation, you’ll be on your way to achieving a gorgeous, straight smile for life.
The check-up factor — Which requires more dentist visits: Invisalign or braces?
Get ready to become besties with your dentist! Because when you commit to straightening your teeth, you’re going to be seeing a lot more of each other.
Regardless of whether you choose Invisalign or braces, you will need to make regular, in-person visits to your dentist so they can monitor your progress, make adjustments and ensure your teeth are safely on the move.
Dentist visits required for braces
- Every 4-6 weeks
- Your dentist must make all adjustments to your braces to ensure your teeth move into the correct position
Dentist visits required for Invisalign
- Every 6 to 8 weeks
- Your dentist will give you a series of aligner trays and you are in charge of replacing your trays every 1 to 2 weeks as per your dentist’s guidance
The convenience factor — Are braces easier to manage than Invisalign?
When it comes to convenience, Invisalign and braces both have their own unique benefits.
Many people love the convenience of being able to remove their Invisalign trays whenever they need. However, this may become an issue for some tweens or teens (or even some adults!) who may not be so vigilant about keeping their Invisalign trays in for the recommended 22 hours per day. Since Invisalign trays must be taken out for eating, drinking and cleaning, there is a chance they could get accidentally thrown away or lost.
In contrast, once your braces are fitted to your teeth, they aren’t going anywhere! While this may be seen as a major inconvenience for some, others actually see it as an easy way to ensure their treatment stays on track. If you’re a parent considering braces for your tween or teen, this is a huge advantage as it means you don’t have to worry about them keeping their trays in. So, for some people, braces can be easier to manage than Invisalign.
The hygiene factor — Is it easier to brush and floss with Invisalign?
In short, yes — it is easier to keep up your oral hygiene with Invisalign.
Because you can remove your aligner trays for brushing and flossing, meaning you can easily give your mouth a good clean. But be aware — there is a lot of cleaning involved with Invisalign!
You must remove your Invisalign trays every time you eat or drink to prevent staining and stop food particles from getting stuck inside them. Your dentist will also recommend that you brush and floss your teeth after every meal, before popping your aligners back in. You’ll also need to clean your aligner trays regularly to avoid tooth decay or infections.
It can be a little trickier to maintain your oral hygiene with braces compared to Invisalign. Not only do the brackets and wire make it harder to brush and floss your teeth, food can (and will!) get stuck in between your braces. To prevent cavities and discolouration from wearing braces, be sure to bring your dental hygiene A-game!
Still can’t decide between Invisalign vs. braces?
We get it — it’s a tough choice! But we’re here to help.
At Delight Dental Spa, we want you to feel 100% happy with your decision to straighten your smile. So, if you’ve got any questions about Invisalign or braces and how each option might fit into your life, just ask — we’d love to hear from you