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Invisalign vs Braces

Updated: Nov 27, 2023

Braces and Invisalign® are both orthodontic treatments used to straighten teeth and correct bite issues.

Invisalign® vs Braces
Invisalign® vs Braces

Choosing between clear aligners like Invisalign® and braces can be daunting. You want to choose the best option for your lifestyle and appearance, but at the same time, get the job done correctly.

Comparing the pros and cons of braces vs Invisalign aligners is not only about whether you prefer Invisalign aligners. Invisalign may not always be the best option for some treatments. This is why getting advice from your Orthodontist is essential. Moreover, in some situations, Invisalign vs braces cost may differ. So, do the research and ask your orthodontist questions, then make the decision that’s right for you.

Braces to Invisalign – how do they compare?

Both clear aligners and metal braces aim to straighten your teeth over a period of time. This helps to improve your oral health and your smile. Metal braces have an established history of successful treatment. Clear aligners or “Invisalign braces” are a newer option, developed and refined over the last two decades. Invisalign was the first brand of digitally customised clear aligners and are the most popular. There are now many aligner options available for orthodontists to choose from. Similarly, there are various braces manufacturers too.

Braces have metal brackets that attach to the teeth. These brackets attach to wires. You can get transparent braces that are clear (ceramic braces) or lingual braces (behind the teeth). On the other hand, Invisalign is almost invisible, being made of a smooth, clear plastic. This is placed over the teeth and removed for eating up to 2 hours per day.

As for the decision between Invisalign or braces, we will look the pros and cons of each. We will also address the Invisalign vs braces cost.

Invisalign braces
Invisalign® braces

Invisalign® Advantages

  • Aligners like Invisalign® are discreet because the aligners are made of a clear plastic. Since Invisalign® is less noticeable than braces, many adults and teens choose Invisalign®. Acquaintances probably won’t notice you’re having orthodontic treatment. And, you probably won’t have people asking about your braces.

  • You can eat what you like – for best results, you should wear the aligners 22 hours a day, removing the aligners for eating. So, you can continue to enjoy the foods you always have.

  • Aligner treatment is more hygienic as they are easier to keep clean than braces. You can remove the aligners to brush your teeth and clean the aligners and pop them back in your mouth. It is easier to maintain good oral hygiene with aligner treatment rather than metal braces, clear braces or lingual braces.

  • Aligners are more convenient too. You change your aligners every one to two weeks. And, at Fine Orthodontics, we can review your progress via an app on your Smartphone. That means you don’t need to visit as often for adjustments.

  • Comfort – there may be a certain amount of discomfort with tooth movement with braces. The smooth plastic surface of aligners makes them more comfortable to wear. Unlike braces, aligners usually do not cause discomfort on the inside of the mouth, cheeks or tongue.

  • A thesis released by Texas A&M University found that aligner treatment is more pleasant than traditional metal braces.

What are the Disadvantages of Invisalign®?

  • Self-discipline. While the main advantage of Invisalign® is that you can take the aligners out. It can be a disadvantage if you’re not disciplined in putting them back in.

  • Attachments: Some may find the Invisalign® attachments are a disadvantage. However the attachments are usually much smaller than traditional braces, and can usually be translucent.

  • Are braces cheaper than Invisalign®? Invisalign® Cost can be higher than Braces Cost at many practices. At Fine Orthodontics there is little difference in the cost for Invisalign® and the cost of braces. So, the cost of Invisalign® does not need to be an issue.

Braces vs invisalign
Woman with fixed braces

Braces Advantages

  • Braces are glued to the teeth, so there’s no temptation to remove them or forget to put them back in.

  • Braces have options – they are not limited to just the conventional metal brackets and wires. You can now have the choice of ceramic braces for top teeth (braces that are clear or translucent), so the braces are less noticeable.

  • Coloured braces or even gold braces are available on request to give you the special look you want.

Feel free to Book an assessment at Fine Orthodontics to explore your options. Alternatively, check out our transformations at before and after photos.

Braces Disadvantages

  • Even clear braces are still more noticeable than aligners like Invisalign®. Inside or lingual braces are significantly more uncomfortable to the tongue. They also affect speech more than other types of treatment.

  • Braces for teeth require a higher level of maintenance. It is much more difficult to clean teeth when braces are attached to them.

  • Care needs to be taken not to “break” the braces. If this happens there are significant delays as well as inconvenience.

  • More frequent visits to the orthodontist are needed when you wear braces. As the teeth align, stiffer wires will be placed.

  • Wires and brackets more commonly result in some irritation to the cheeks.

  • As the presence of wires and brackets can make it a little harder to clean, if care is not taken there can also be discolouration or even decay.

  • More care when eating is needed – it’s harder to eat certain types of food as you risk damaging the braces. Extremely hard or sticky foods as these foods can cause the arch wire to break or a tooth bracket to come off. Once this happens, the braces will stop working or even regress until you have the breakage repaired. Multiple breakages often increase your time in braces.

Invisalign vs braces
Invisalign® and Braces Similarities

Invisalign® and Braces Similarities

  • Both techniques may result in a small degree of discomfort as the teeth begin to move.

  • Some treatments are more efficiently done with braces, and others with Invisalign®.

  • Both Braces and Invisalign® treatment require retainers once your treatment is complete.

  • Check with an experienced orthodontist, who works with both systems. This is the best way for you to get individualised advice and fair comparison of both systems.

Making the Right Decision for your Treatment

There’s a lot to consider when you are weighing up orthodontic treatment options. Many like the benefits of Invisalign®. However, if the idea of removing your aligners to eat and drink sounds a nuisance, then teeth braces may be better for you.

But if you do want the ability to remove them for eating and special functions, Invisalign® might just be the virtually invisible braces you are looking for.

We hope that this post has shed some light on Invisalign® vs braces – the pros and cons of each.

Dr Martin Fine has been creating smiles with braces in Sydney for over 30 years. He is also an experienced Invisalign® specialist orthodontist. He has been using Invisalign® in Sydney since 2000. You can be sure he will be able to help with your decision. Either way, you will get a great smile.

Invisalign vs Braces (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q: Which is faster braces or Invisalign®?

A: For some patients, Invisalign® will be faster than braces. In others braces will be. It depends upon your case type and orthodontic problem. Dr Martin Fine will help guide you at your consultation.

Q: Which is better braces or Invisalign®?

A: That is an interesting question. With either braces or Invisalign®, the quality of the treatment is dependent upon the expertise of the clinician, rather than the system itself. A good orthodontist will be able to get good results with either. Having said that, certain cases are best treated with aligners, and others with braces.

Q: Do orthodontists prefer braces or Invisalign®?

A: Some orthodontists are not comfortable with Invisalign®, while others prefer it. It really depends on their experience and style of practice.

Q: Are braces more painful than Invisalign®?

A: Both clear aligners and braces put pressure on the teeth which can cause some discomfort. As adjustments are smaller but more regular with Invisalign® (with the set being changed every 2 weeks or so), patients who have experienced both braces and Invisalign® tend to comment that the pressure is less noticeable with Invisalign®. Furthermore braces tend to scratch the inside of lips and cheeks. This is generally less of an issue with Invisalign®.

Q: Can I switch from Invisalign® to braces?

A: Braces are a different process to Invisalign®, so switching between the two really means a restart in a sense; at Fine Orthodontics we have a path through which that can be arranged.

Q: What is the success rate of Invisalign®?

A: Invisalign® can be as successful as braces - however it relies more heavily on patient compliance than braces.

Q: How does the Invisalign® vs braces cost compare?

A: The cost of braces vs Invisalign® varies between providers. At Fine Orthodontics, we are aware that the cost difference for Invisalign® vs braces makes it harder to make the decision that’s best for you. So, at Fine Orthodontics we keep these costs very similar. Now you can choose the treatment you prefer without costs getting in the way. We also have options (where possible) for limited treatment only. These plans are shorter and are less costly to only address a small concern.

Find out about our flexible payment plans.

Feel free to Book an assessment to find out the treatment suited best to you. Alternatively, check out our before and after photos to see the amazing transformations.

*If orthodontic X-rays are required, a fee of $180 applies. See Terms and Conditions. Treatment may not be suitable for you.

These Products are not available for purchase by the general public. They are however available to Fine Orthodontics patients. Always read the label and follow the instructions for use.

Fine Orthodontics has been a Sydney Invisalign® provider for more than 20 years. Feel free to Book an assessment to find out the treatment suited best to you. Alternatively, check out our before and after photos to see the amazing transformations.


Find out more about Invisalign®:



Specialist Orthodontist Input by Dr Martin Fine BDS, MSc, MSc

Dr Martin Fine

Dr Martin Fine

Specialist Orthodontist Dr Martin Fine, BDS, MSc (Orthodontics), is based in Sydney's Eastern Suburbs. With over 30 years' experience in private practice, Dr Fine has expertise working with a wide variety of orthodontic appliances, including braces and Invisalign. He has presented at orthodontic conferences globally, and has taught postgraduate orthodontic students at the University of Sydney. Dr Fine is a member of both the AAO (American Association of Orthodontists) and the ASO (Australian Society of Orthodontists), and is a former president of the Alpha-Omega Dental Society's Sydney Chapter.  In the past, Dr Fine's research has been featured in the Angle Orthodontist journal. Dr Fine is committed to providing outstanding patient care using the latest and most effective techniques. Most recently, Dr Fine has developed and introduced the innovative FineLine clear aligner system, which has been specifically developed to meet the needs of patients at Fine Orthodontics.

Written by Danielle Long, writer

Danielle Long

Danielle Long.png

Danielle Long is a writer at Fine Orthodontics. She holds graduate qualifications in English and Education and is an integral part of the team at Fine Orthodontics. Danielle Long has been assisting in the orthodontic care process at Fine Orthodontics for over fifteen years, working closely with the team to provide exceptional patient support, communication and coordination of treatment plans. As a writer and an orthodontic treatment coordinator, Danielle Long's primary responsibilities include facilitating exceptional patient education and communication, ensuring seamless coordination of treatment plans, and providing support to the clinical orthodontic team at Fine Orthodontics.

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