Woman with braces

Choosing Between Invisalign And Metal Braces

Braces are a dental necessity for most teens and many adults. For a long time, there was only one option – traditional, metal braces. This is still a great option for many people, but advancements in dental technology have given us another option – Invisalign braces.

Both options have pros and cons, so it can be hard to decide which type of braces you should get. In this post, we’ll cover the similarities and differences between Invisalign and metal braces. You can use this information (as well as the advice of your dentist) to help you make the right choice. 

Both types of braces do the same thing – they straighten teeth over time using a force applied to the teeth. But, they accomplish this goal in different ways.

What To Expect – Invisalign 

The first step of the Invisalign procedure is to get a 3-D image of your mouth. Using this image, your dentist can create custom molded clear trays to start the alignment. These trays are worn 22-24 hours a day, and are changed out about every two weeks as your teeth get aligned.

The most obvious benefit of Invisalign braces is that the trays can be removed. The trays are also clear, so they are less noticeable. This makes them a great option for people who may be more self-conscious about getting braces. Invisalign trays also tend to be more comfortable than metal braces. Exposed wires and brackets can irritate the inside of your mouth, while the clear trays tend to be easier on your mouth and gums. Lastly, Invisalign trays are easier to clean. Metal braces tend to get food stuck in them, if you eat the wrong kind of foods. 

What To Expect – Metal Braces 

During a procedure for traditional metal braces, your dentist will affix brackets to your tooth enamel. Then, the brackets are connected via wires to pull your teeth gently into alignment. The wires are tightened every few weeks until your teeth are completely straight.

Metal braces are semi-permanent. Once they are applied, they cannot be removed until the straightening is complete. Metal braces are better for more complex teeth alignment, since the metal wires apply more pressure to the teeth than the Invisalign trays.

Comparing Metal Braces Vs. Invisalign 

We can compare metal braces and Invisalign on several points:

  • Cost – costs for each procedure vary depending on the complexity of the alignment, and the number of follow up visits required while you’re wearing the braces. Metal braces do tend to be less expensive, though. Traditional metal braces usually cost between $2,000 and $6,000. Invisalign procedures usually run about $5,000 or more.
  • Time – The time needed for braces to bring your teeth in full alignment varies, depending on how out of alignment the teeth are at the outset of the procedure. Metal braces are usually worn for about two years. Invisalign trays are used for 6 to 18 months on average.
  • Appearance – Invisalign trays are clear and can be removed for brief periods. This less intrusive appearance is a key selling point for Invisalign. Metal braces are more permanent and obvious, although you can talk to your dentist about customizing the colors of your brackets to make the appearance a little more personalized.
  • Comfort – Most patients prefer the comfort of Invisalign trays. Metal braces are not too uncomfortable if properly applied and cleaned regularly. But, the exposed wires can cause some irritation. Invisalign trays are made of soft plastic, which is more comfortable.
  • Upkeep – Both types of braces require regular cleaning. Cleaning Invisalign trays is a little easier, since you can remove the trays. It’s not much harder to keep metal braces clean. For the most part, you should be able to keep everything clean by brushing and flossing regularly. It only gets difficult if you accidentally eat foods that get stuck in braces – avoid any hard, crunchy, or sticky foods and you should be okay.
  • Effectiveness – Both Invisalign and metal braces do a good job of straightening teeth. However, Invisalign trays move teeth in a slight and subtle manner. Metal braces provide greater strength for tougher cases. If your teeth are only a little crooked, either Invisalign or metal braces will do. But, if you have severe issues with how your teeth are aligned, you may need metal braces to get the job done correctly. 


Both braces options are fine choices. But, here are a few general statements to help you decide:

  • If cost is an issue, metal braces tend to be less expensive.
  • If you’re mostly concerned with appearance, Invisalign provides better aesthetics.
  • If you’re worried about your gums or mouth being too sensitive for braces, Invisalign is a good alternative.
  • If your teeth need major alignment, metal braces provide a stronger solution.

If you have further questions about Invisalign braces in the Vancouver, WA area, please contact us to set up an appointment!