Invisalign vs. Braces: Pros and Cons To Match Orthodontic Treatments to Your Lifestyle

Invisalign vs. braces: which pros and cons match your lifestyle?

Orthodontic treatment has always been the ticket to a perfect smile. From correcting minor issues like mild crowding and single tooth misalignment to eliminating severe bite problems, countless people have improved their health, appearance, and self-confidence with the help of orthodontics. 

For the last 14 years, the team here at Beverly Hills Orthodontics has treated a lot of patients throughout the Los Angeles area. From our locations in Beverly Hills/Century City, Toluca Lake, Alhambra, and Downtown Los Angeles, the BHO team has been providing the greater Los Angeles area with top-notch orthodontic care since 2008.

We have consistently emphasized the importance of tailoring treatment plans to each patient’s preferences and lifestyle—then and now. As fellow LA residents, we know how hectic life can get around here, which is why we design orthodontic treatments to work around your schedule. A personalized treatment plan is especially important when discussing Invisalign vs. braces. 

During consultations, patients nearly always ask us how to choose between Invisalign and braces. As the two most popular orthodontic options today, the majority of our patients already understand how braces and Invisalign work, they just don’t know which option is right for them.

Truthfully, it’s impossible to say that one treatment is better than the other. Both options deliver great results and have their own strengths and weaknesses. The most important thing to consider is which option will work best for your lifestyle. 

If you’re considering orthodontic work, these “Invisalign vs. Braces: Pros and Cons” should help you determine which treatment is right for you:

Invisalign vs. Braces Pros and Cons

Invisalign vs. Braces: Visibility Levels

Aesthetics is a primary concern for many of our patients. After all, if you’re going to be wearing orthodontic appliances for 6 to 24 months, you’ll want to know how they will change your appearance. 

One of Invisalign’s biggest advantages is its inconspicuous look. Invisalign clear aligners are completely transparent: once patients put them in place, it’s difficult for others to tell they’re even there. If you want your appearance to remain relatively unchanged throughout treatment, Invisalign is likely the right choice for you. 

Compared to Invisalign, braces are much more obvious because they use wires and brackets to realign your smile. Although modern wires and brackets are smaller and more comfortable than those of the past, they won’t go unnoticed by others. Thankfully, many patients don’t mind the look of braces—some even take to social media to show them off! #smilegoals #loveyoursmile

For those who are less enthusiastic about the look of braces, ceramic and lingual braces provide a more discreet alternative to conventional metal wires and brackets. 

Invisalign Visibility Braces Visibility
Pros: Discreet, clear aligners provide a natural look during treatment. Modern braces are smaller and more attractive than those of the past, plus there are clear braces. 
Cons: With Anterior Attachments, trays become slightly less visible. Braces are still highly visible to others.

Invisalign vs. Braces: Personal Responsibility

Both Invisalign and braces require a certain amount of personal diligence to see results. However, these responsibilities differ greatly from one treatment option to the other. 

Invisalign patients need to wear aligners for 20-22 hours a day to achieve desired results. In general, patients should only remove them for eating, drinking, brushing, flossing, and physical activity. Aside from those instances, patients should always wear their aligners, or they risk losing progress. In certain cases, patients may need new trays or require additional procedures to put their treatment back on track.

Braces don’t require the same level of conscious daily commitment. By and large, patients with braces simply need to brush and floss 5 times a day —and avoid foods that could damage brackets/wires (e.g., hard or sticky foods, popcorn, etc.). Beyond that, the most important personal responsibility for patients with braces is to attend regular orthodontist appointments.

Invisalign Personal Responsibility Braces Personal Responsibility
Pros: Removable aligners make oral care easy and erase dietary restrictions. Braces are stuck on your teeth and can’t be removed.
Cons: Patients need to wear their aligners for around 20-22 hours a day to stay on plan and keep teeth moving. You need to brush your teeth 5x a day and floss at night, there is a significant amount of food you can’t eat, you have to maintain good oral hygiene, and brackets may break. 

Invisalign vs. Braces: Tooth Pressure and Discomfort

Invisalign and braces correct dental alignment problems by strategically exerting pressure on teeth. As such, patients of both will feel mild discomfort throughout their treatments. 

New Invisalign trays will cause a bit of discomfort for a few days. The discomfort is easily manageable and less acute than the pressure of braces, but it does last a bit longer and will return each time you progress to the next set of aligners—every 7 to 14 days. Moreover, every time you replace your aligner after removing it, you’ll feel the pressure resume. 

Braces can be uncomfortable in the immediate aftermath of a tightening appointment. Although the pressure isn’t painful, it is more uncomfortable than the pressure from Invisalign aligners. After a day or two, the pressure is usually gone until the next appointment. 

It’s also important to note that the brackets on braces can cause cheek, gum, and lip irritation. Because Invisalign trays are smoother than braces, they cause less overall discomfort.

Invisalign Tooth Pressure and Discomfort Braces Tooth Pressure and Discomfort
Pros: Invisalign’s smooth, clear aligners typically don't cause skin irritation. Tooth pressure from braces subsides more quickly than from Invisalign.
Cons: Can remove aligners when you feel discomfort which leads to lack of tooth movement.  Braces exert more powerful pressure than Invisalign, and the brackets may irritate patients’ cheeks, gums, and lips.

Have More Questions about Orthodontic Treatment? BHO Has Answers

Invisalign and braces are today’s most popular orthodontic treatments for a reason—they both work extremely well! Although they differ in terms of alignment methods, daily upkeep needs, and visibility, Invisalign and braces are both capable of correcting the vast majority of alignment problems. 

When seeking orthodontic treatment, it’s important to work with a practice that prioritizes your comfort and preferences. At Beverly Hills Orthodontics, founder Dr. Monica Madan emphasizes the value of the patient experience and crafts treatment plans that perfectly fit the unique needs of each individual. If you’re ready to begin your orthodontic journey, call Beverly Hills Orthodontics today to schedule a consultation and discover which treatment is right for you!