Orthodontics LA

Invisalign vs. Traditional Braces

Posted on July 2, 2018

There are pros and cons to both Invisalign and traditional metal braces. As an orthodontic office that offers both treatments, we wanted to identify some of the key differences between Invisalign and traditional braces. Having trouble making a decision? Read on to learn more about your options.


What’s In My Mouth?

The biggest difference between Invisalign and traditional braces is, of course, the material that actually goes on your teeth. Invisalign is a system of clear, BPA-free plastic trays that fit over your teeth, along with the occasional clear attachment or accessory when specific teeth need a little extra help. Invisalign trays can be removed, but they must be worn for 22 hours per day to ensure effectiveness. Traditional braces are made of metal, and are comprised of brackets and wires that are more visible on your teeth but do not stain as easily as the plastic of an Invisalign tray. Traditional braces are not removable but you can eat with them in your mouth.


What Can Invisalign and Traditional Braces Each Fix?

Invisalign may be the right choice if you only have minor issues to fix, such as crowded teeth, gapped teeth, and minor overbite or underbite. Invisalign can move your teeth horizontally, but not vertically, which is something to take into consideration depending on your specific smile situation. Your orthodontist will be able to tell you if Invisalign has the capability of helping you achieve your ideal smile. In contrast, traditional metal braces can address a wider variety of issues, and have more capabilities (such as adjusting your teeth vertically). Traditional braces have additional possibilities like rubber bands to keep your jaw in place, and are often the more effective choice when extreme intervention is needed.


Treatment Length

Treatment plans vary in length for both traditional braces and Invisalign, depending on your specific smile needs. The standard treatment length for Invisalign is about 40 weeks for the initial phase, with additional time wearing maintenance trays and retainers. Invisalign Express is sometimes an option for very minor issues, and that treatment process typically takes about 6 months.

Traditional braces vary in treatment length and number of phases, but the average treatment length is about 2 years. Your orthodontist will be able to give you an estimate of how long each of your treatment options will take based on your specific needs.



Traditional braces and Invisalign both require strict oral hygiene routines to ensure that your teeth stay healthy during your treatment. Both options will require that you brush your teeth after every meal. This is especially true for Invisalign because if you put your trays back in while there is still food in your teeth, you risk staining your trays and damaging your teeth. Food gets easily stuck in traditional metal braces, so thorough and frequent brushing and flossing will be very important. You’ll want to soak your Invisalign trays in denture or retainer cleanser on a regular basis as well.



Most orthodontists recommend that their patients wear retainers after any orthodontic treatment in order to prevent teeth from shifting once they are set in place. This often just means wearing retainers at night while you sleep, but consult with your orthodontist about what post-treatment practices will be best for your specific situation.


We hope this helped you make your decision! Have any more questions about your orthodontic options? Schedule an orthodontic consultation with Orthodontics LA today!