Traditional Braces vs. Invisalign

Town Center Dentistry has the best Orthodontists in San Diego. Choose from braces or Invisalign.

At Town Center Dentistry, our patients often ask us whether we’d recommend traditional braces or Invisalign for orthodontic issues.  Each time, we answer in pretty much the same way: “Well, it depends.” And it does. The best choice depends on each person and his or her needs.  

Before we get into the pros and cons of traditional braces and Invisalign, let’s take a look at how each works.

Traditional braces consist of brackets that are adhered to each tooth. A thin metal wire links each bracket and exerts a light force that causes the teeth to move. Traditional braces cannot be removed except by a dental professional and require adjustment every six weeks or so.

Invisalign consists of a series of customized, transparent plastic aligner trays. Each tray is worn for approximately two weeks before it’s switched out for the next set. Each set gently guides teeth into place. The trays are removable but must be worn 22 hours a day to be effective.

If you have simple alignment issues and crooked or gapped teeth, making the choice between traditional braces or Invisalign comes down to preference. Do you prefer a removable or a non-removable option? Do you have the self-discipline to wear your Invisalign for 22 hours every day or would you prefer to avoid the temptation to “skip a day here and there”? Are you extremely self-conscious or would you be ok with visible braces?

In some cases, it’s less a matter of preference and more a matter of effectiveness. Both options will correct minor orthodontic problems, but traditional braces are more effective for those requiring complex corrections. If you have issues with back tooth bite or if you need vertical tooth movement or rotation of your cylindrical teeth, Invisalign might not be the best choice for you.  

You’ll have to schedule a consultation if you’re unsure of your specific orthodontic issues, but the chart below will give you an idea of the advantages and disadvantages of both traditional braces and Invisalign.

Traditional BracesInvisalign
VisibleTransparent (nearly invisible)
Generally less expensivegenerally more expensive
Can be used for common corrections as well as more complex issuesWorks best on simple, common corrections
Worn 24 hours a day for 2 yearsWorn 22 hours a day for 6 to 18 months, depending on need
Wires may irritate soft tissueNo discomfort from wires
Follow-up treatment may include nightly retainerFollow-up treatment may include nightly retainer
Not recommended for patients playing rough contact sports on a regular basisNot recommended for patients with back tooth bite issues or those who require vertical tooth movement or rotation of cylindrical teeth
No temptation to "skip a day"Self-discipline required
May have difficulty eating some sticky or hard foodsMust remove before eating or drinking anything but water
Regular brushing and flossingBrush after each meal to avoid staining

Still not sure which option is best for you? Give us a call at Town Center Dentistry. Whether you’re inquiring for yourself or on behalf of your child, our world-class orthodontic specialists are more than happy to discuss the options with you. Come on in to our San Diego County location for a free consultation. We trust you’ll find exactly what you’re looking for in our specialists, our services, and our staff. After all, smiles are our specialty.