Invisalign vs Traditional Braces

Invisalign vs Traditional Braces: Which is Right for You?

For centuries, metal braces were the preferred option for straightening teeth. They remain extremely popular today, but they are no longer the default choice. Many orthodontists and patients are now turning to Invisalign, billed as the “clear alternative to braces.” Both braces and Invisalign are effective in most cases, leaving it to the patient to make the decision. Here is some information to help you decide which is right for you.

Treatment Planning

Both braces and Invisalign require extensive treatment planning, but it looks quite different for each option. When planning for traditional braces, your orthodontist will show you the problems with your teeth and explain how the braces will fix them. Exactly what you will look like, though, cannot be seen. When you need adjustments, your orthodontist will perform them, and your teeth will never be free of the braces until your treatment is over.

When planning for Invisalign, your orthodontist will use 3-D computer modeling to create a digital model of your existing smile. He or she will then morph it to show you what to expect from each stage of treatment, including your final look. In addition, you will change aligners at home, allowing you to closely track your progress.

Which you prefer depends on you. Do you love surprises? Braces might be for you. Are you a planner who likes to know exactly what is happening at all times? Invisalign may be the best choice.

Ease of Use

Which treatment is easier depends on how you like to do things. Your orthodontist will take control of traditional braces. He or she will place them on your teeth, perform all adjustments, and remove them. You will need to learn a new oral hygiene routine and memorize a list of banned foods, but otherwise you will only need to worry about keeping your appointments. Should you have an emergency such as a popped wire or a loose bracket, you will need an emergency visit.

With Invisalign, you are in control. Your orthodontist will place attachments on your teeth and show you how to care for the aligners, but otherwise it is up to you. You will change aligners at home every two weeks or as instructed. You can remove them to eat and drink and for oral hygiene. You will only need to visit the orthodontist every four to six weeks. However, you must be disciplined enough to remember to put your aligners back in, to change them on time, and to avoid losing them.

Cost Comparison

Not too long ago, braces were consistently the less expensive choice. Today, though, this is not necessarily true. Invisalign is sold as a full package including all orthodontist visits. To compare costs with braces, add the price of adjustments, emergency visits, and any desired customizations to the base price.

Dental insurance is complex and not standardized. Some plans cover only braces, some cover both braces and Invisalign, and some cover neither. We will talk to your insurance company to figure out your out of pocket costs for both options.


Smooth Invisalign aligners are generally considered more comfortable than braces. You may feel some discomfort when the attachments are placed, and some people report that they can feel their teeth shifting over time. However, metal braces commonly cause cuts, scrapes, and ongoing sore spots in the mouth. Adjustments can be painful, and many people never quite adapt to the feeling of braces.


Modern braces are available in fashion colors that many people enjoy. If you don’t like making bold statements, though, you might not feel comfortable showing off a mouthful of metal.

Invisalign aligners are clear and nearly invisible. If aesthetics matter in your career, or you simply do not care to let the world know that you are straightening your teeth, Invisalign may be better for you.

Ready to Get Started?

If you need braces or Invisalign in the San Ramon Valley, contact Bigman Orthodontics today at (925) 735-1515 to schedule your initial evaluation.