Home » Braces And Aligners: What’s The Difference?

Braces And Aligners: What’s The Difference?

If you just think that getting braces and aligners is purely for aesthetic purposes think again! Of course the before and after photos are amazing, but getting your teeth aligned is an important step in improving your dental health which will contribute to your overall well-being too.

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Having crooked or misaligned teeth leads to poorer dental health as you are at an increased risk of getting cavities. This is because it is difficult to brush and get to places that can get bacteria to build up due to misaligned teeth which can also contribute to poor speech and lower self-esteem

Not to fret, for with the right treatment, you can reduce the likelihood of contracting any unwanted diseases and this will improve your life. However, there are also many different treatments and options available and this could cause you some confusion. In this article, we bring you through the various options that are available for you. 

What is the difference?

Traditional braces refer to the treatment system that is comprised of archwires and brackets. These are available to almost any patient with almost any form of teeth misalignment issues. These traditional braces come with metal brackets that are often available in many different colors and they have clear plastic brackets and wires if you are looking for a less loud look. 

On the other hand, Invisalign refers to the treatment where dentists guide patients through a series of customized clear plastic aligners that are way more discrete as compared to traditional braces. These aligners are removable during the consumption of liquids and food. While this is an available option, as compared to traditional braces, it might not be able to solve as many teeth issues. You will have to check with your dentist if the current state of your teeth is compatible with treatment via Invisalign. 

With that, which should you get then? Invisalign or traditional braces? 

#1: Convenience 

Time is of the essence and some people might not want to spend long traveling times to visit their dentist. If this is an important factor, you should bear in mind that both Invisalign and traditional braces have treatment durations that are just about the same time. 

Treatment duration for traditional braces:

Your treatment will comprise two longer appointments at the start of your treatment and at the end and many shorter visits to the orthodontist along the way. You will start off with the bond appointment and end off with the debond appointment which refers to placing the brackets in your mouth and taking them off at the end of the treatment. The shorter appointments would include your tightening appointments where you need to go to the dentist to make the appropriate adjustments to your braces every few weeks. At times you might need to back an additional trip if your bracket or some wire comes undone.  

Treatment duration for Invisalign:

Invisalign makes use of 3D iTero scans that plot the entire course of your treatment. Hence, your first and last appointment will also be similarly longer just like the treatment with traditional braces. However, as compared to traditional braces, you’ll need fewer check-in appointments every few weeks as the next stage or set of aligners can be delivered to you directly. There are also reduced chances of you having to make a trip to the orthodontist to fix up anything that breaks as Invisalign does not have any brackets that could break. In fact, you can use at home teeth-straightening aligners to make your trips to the orthodontist a rare occasion. The only downside is that since aligners are removable, you might misplace them and you’ll probably have to ask your dentist if you need to make a trip to go get one replaced or if you can move to the next stage. 

#2: Cost

In Oklahoma, you can prepare to pay about $3000 to about $6000 for treatment. This cost is of course dependent on the estimated length of your treatment as well as the state of your teeth and how difficult it is to apply treatment to align them. Whether you choose to use braces or aligners to help your teeth, your orthodontist will use the terms ‘comprehensive’ or ‘partial’ care to indicate the type of treatment plan you need which will signpost the cost of your treatment. If you have benefits via your insurance provider, you can also expect a different pricing arrangement. 

#3: Compliance

This might be a dealbreaker if you know you’re not someone who can commit to following a regimen when it comes to your dental care. Aligners do take extra dedication since they are removable and you have to remove them when consuming food. This makes them a little more suited for adults or older teenagers. We would recommend younger patients get braces so that they do not have to deal with the additional responsibility of keeping an eye out for their clear aligners that could go missing at any time and this could provide great hassle to parents. 

Caring for your teeth during treatment with traditional braces:

This option is recommended for younger patients from as young as eight years old to about 14 years old. This is because it takes a lot less responsibility to take care of braces as it is in your teeth the entire time. All you need to focus on with traditional braces is maintaining good oral hygiene such as avoiding eating foods that can get stuck in brackets and might take a very long time to dislodge. 

Caring for your teeth during treatment with Invisalign: 

This option is more suited for adults and older teenagers as it fits the aesthetic that these patients often look for. Moreover, you do not have to travel as often to your orthodontist during the middle section of your treatment and this could be a significant factor for busy working adults. The only downside is that you need to remember to keep your aligners in your mouth for about 18 to 22 hours a day for them to actually work. You also need to make sure they don’t get misplaced during your mealtimes. If compliance is a huge reason and you think you might not be able to keep up with the responsibility then traditional braces might be a better option. 


All in all, there are three things you should consider when choosing between Invisalign and traditional braces. While both treatments could provide pain and discomfort it is important to keep your mind on the end goal. When you see your pearly white straight teeth, you’ll be assured that all the pain, time, and money were worth it!

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