SuperKids team

Invisalign vs. Braces: Which is Right for You?

Having misaligned teeth is very common. In fact, up to 93 percent of all children and adolescents have crooked teeth, also known as malocclusion. For some, the teeth are only slightly misaligned and don’t pose a problem. For others, though, crooked teeth cause a significant cosmetic or dental health issue. 

Making the decision to get braces is usually the easy part – simply look in the mirror and smile: if you don’t like what you see because of misaligned teeth, you may want to have your teeth straightened. The hard part might be deciding between traditional braces and Invisalign clear aligners.

Conventional wire-and-bracket braces and Invisalign are both great ways to get the smile you have always dreamed of. Both approaches are scientifically-proven effective at straightening teeth, but there are several differences between them. These differences can make a big difference in your journey towards a winning smile. 

Research can make this decision easier, as can speaking with a pediatric dentist. Learning how teeth straightening works is a great start.

How Does Teeth Straightening Work with Invisalign vs. Braces?

Orthodontic devices, such as braces and Invisalign, work by putting constant pressure on one or more teeth. This pressure moves the tooth or teeth towards a predetermined position on your jaw. 

Soft tissue, known as periodontal ligaments, surrounds your teeth and jawbone to hold your teeth in place. The periodontal ligaments are slightly elastic, so under pressure from braces or Invisalign, the tissue can stretch and compress a little bit to allow teeth to move. Bone then grows on the opposite side of the tooth to hold it in place. In other words, when braces or Invisalign moves a tooth to the right, the periodontal ligament on the right side of the tooth compresses and new bone forms on the left to fill the gap.

About Braces and Invisalign


Made of metal, braces feature brackets and wires, also known as arch wires. Your orthodontist attaches the metal brackets firmly to your teeth. Strung through the brackets, the wires create tension that pulls the teeth in the desired direction. Rubber bands, also known as elastic ligatures, keep the arch wires in the right spot within the brackets; they also help provide the tension that moves your teeth.

Several types of braces are available today. The differences between these braces are mostly cosmetic. Ceramic braces use tooth-colored brackets that make braces less noticeable, for example, and sublingual braces are affixed to the backside of your teeth. Both still use metal wires and rubber bands attached to the brackets to move your teeth. 

Invisalign aligner trays

Invisalign uses clear plastic aligners that are nearly invisible and comfortable to wear. Our dentist customizes the aligners for each patient we see. We use advanced technology to make a 3D scan of your mouth, and use this scan to create customized aligners and to make a map of the treatment plant. We send the information to an Invisalign lab, where a technician makes your aligner trays.

You’ll receive a new set of aligners once every two weeks or as directed by your pediatric dentist. Every set of aligners builds on the progress made by the previous aligner tray until your teeth are in the desired position. Each aligner moves your tooth or group of teeth 0.25 to 0.33 millimeters, which is around one one-hundredth of an inch. While this might not seem like much movement, it can have a dramatic effect. 

The Advantages of Invisalign

Invisalign offers a number of advantages over braces.

Invisalign trays are nearly invisible

Perhaps the greatest benefit of Invisalign is that the trays are virtually invisible. Kids – and especially teenagers – are often self-conscious about their appearance and don’t want anyone to see that they are having their teeth straightened. Because they are clear, Invisalign trays are almost unnoticeable. 

No restrictions on food or activities

Invisalign trays are removable, so you can take them out to eat, drink, or engage in sports or other activities. 

Makes oral hygiene easy

Simply remove your Invisalign trays to brush and floss your teeth as you normally do. 

Fewer office visits

While we are always glad to see you, we understand that coming to the dentist’s office can be inconvenient. Fortunately, you don’t need to come in for adjustments like you do with braces. 


Moving teeth can cause discomfort, whether you wear braces or use Invisalign. Discomfort is temporary, and is the result of stretching the periodontal ligaments that hold your teeth in place. 

Conventional braces cause discomfort in other ways. It hurts when your lips or cheeks brush against the metal wires and brackets, for example. Because they are made from smooth plastic that never pokes sensitive tissue in your mouth, Invisalign trays are more comfortable. 

Invisalign Disadvantages

There are some disadvantages to using Invisalign, of course. For most patients, the disadvantages are easy to overcome and are greatly outweighed by the benefits. 

Invisalign requires discipline

Being able to remove your aligners is an advantage when it comes to eating and brushing your teeth, but it can be a disadvantage for someone who forgets to put their aligner back in. For best results, you will need to wear your Invisalign for 22 hours a day or longer. 

Removing and replacing your aligners can be inconvenient

Taking your aligners out discreetly can be challenging when you are in public. What’s more, you’ll need to rinse your aligners before putting them back in your mouth, as the aligners can hold food particles and bacteria against the surface of your teeth. 

The Advantages of Braces

Braces present a number of advantages. For many patients, braces are the best choice for teeth straightening. 

Suitable for even the most severe malocclusions 

Traditional braces can effectively straighten teeth, in the worst cases of malocclusion. 

Can achieve the perfect result

For some patients, especially those with severely crooked teeth, braces can achieve a better result. Braces can impart more pressure on teeth, so they do a better job of moving teeth into the desired position.

Faster treatment time

Braces may provide faster results than Invisalign. A speedy treatment is often better for impatient teenagers. 

Braces Disadvantages

As with Invisalign, treatment with braces may have drawbacks. 

Cosmetic appearance of braces

Some teenagers don’t like the “metal mouth” look of traditional braces. 

Oral hygiene is more complicated

Brushing and flossing around the brackets and wires can be challenging. Improperly cleaned teeth can lead to plaque buildup, though, which can lead to tooth decay and even white stains after having your braces removed. 

Diet and eating

Certain foods and beverages can damage your braces. Hard or sticky foods can break the arch wire or dislodge a bracket from a tooth, for example. 

Comparing Braces and Invisalign Cost

When making the decision between Invisalign vs. braces, many patients or their parents consider cost – after all, straightening your teeth is a significant life-changer. You may be surprised to learn that the cost of Invisalign is similar to that of traditional braces. 

Invisalign costs anywhere between $1,800 to $9,500 per treatment, according to GoodRx. The average cost for a teenager is $3,000. The cost of braces can cost up to $7,000.

Where Can I Get Invisalign in Washington DC?

SuperKids Pediatric Dentistry offers Invisalign near you – we also offer braces near you. 

For more information about the differences between Invisalign and braces contact SuperKids Pediatric Dentistry – Orthodontics. Our pediatric dentist in Washington DC offers a wide variety of smile services for kids, including teeth cleaning, tooth colored fillings, gum disease treatment, and more.

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We are excited to announce the GRAND OPENING of our fifth Superkids office in Mt Vernon, VA. Accepting new patients starting January 16th, 2023!

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