girl smiling with braces

Braces vs Invisalign

Have you thought about the benefits of Braces or Invisalign? Do you want to update your smile for a confidence boost? Maybe your child needs some attention to their oral care?  Whichever the decision, having an experienced Orthodontist working beside you is important. That’s why Mateer Orthodontics is here to help; we can guide you through the different options that are available to you and make your smile the talk of the town.

Basics of Braces and Invisalign

Teen girl with Invisalign aligner in handWe currently have two treatments that you can decide between when correcting your teeth, Braces or Invisalign. Both are designed to straighten teeth over time while improving your smile and overall oral health.  Braces are the more traditional approach and have been around for quite a while now. Invisalign is a much newer treatment option, having only been widely used for the last fifteen years or so, but the system continues to increase in popularity.

So what’re the differences?

Well, traditional braces consist of metal brackets, wire and rubber bands to straighten your teeth and is slowly adjusted over time to create that perfect smile. It has advanced to the point where it is less noticeable, more comfortable and can be made to look like the color of your enamel.  However, if you’re looking to stand out from the crowd, you may choose to make them a fashion accessory and decide on different colors such as pink, blue or even neon green.

Invisalign uses X-rays, pictures, and impressions are taken to create a precise 3-D image of your teeth which is then used to customize your aligners. The clear aligner trays are made of smooth plastic and worn over the teeth, and they are switched out every 1-2 weeks for a new tray as your teeth gradually move. It has two upsides versus traditional braces which are that they are almost entirely invisible and removable.

How do they compare?


So as you may have guessed braces are not removable.  Traditional braces focus on the functionality versus the style of them, even though it can be fun to change the colors.  With that being said braces are extremely efficient at what they do. Which is to at fix complex tooth issues, and they often work faster at closing gaps and aligning teeth than Invisalign.

While treatment time will vary from patient to patient, the average with braces tends to be anywhere from 18 months to 3 years. However, with metal braces, there’s often the noticeable movement of misaligned teeth within a relatively short period. And when you start to see even the slightest improvement in your smile, you will feel a huge boost of to your self-confidence and a desire to stay the course!

Close up of clear bracesThe maintenance required for metal braces can be a little bit more involved than it is with Invisalign. The brackets and wires can be tricky, particularly where flossing is concerned, but regular, thorough dental hygiene is a must for good oral health. There are accessories available to make cleaning easier, though, like Water-Piks that can help rinse those hard to reach places or orthopedics for braces-specific flossing. Unfortunately, there are also quite a few foods you’ll need to avoid while in braces, just about anything that is too crunchy or sticky. Sadly, this means favorites like apples, popcorn, gum, and other chewy favorites will be little more than a fond memory while you’re finishing up your treatment.

Patients wearing traditional braces can expect to have followed up visits about every 4-6 weeks. At these times your orthodontist will change the bands that are attached to the brackets and may replace the wire as well. These appointments are a quick process, usually taking about half an hour to an hour.  There may be some slight soreness after each adjustment, but it should be temporary. These visits shouldn’t be missed! They’re crucial to ensure you get the very best results in the least amount of time.


There are two main benefits of Invisalign aligners, they are almost completely invisible, and that they are removable. They also tend to be more comfortable than traditional metal braces, because the aligners are made of a smooth plastic, and they won’t irritate the gums or cheeks as much as the brackets and wires do. Invisalign is an efficient method for gently moving teeth in cases that are not too complicated.

Invisalign is the least invasive treatment for straightening teeth than braces. However, it’s hard to say how long a patient will need them. The average is somewhere between 6 and 18 months, though of course, that will vary from case to case. This average is also based on the patient sticking to the recommended guidelines of wearing the aligners at least 20-22 hours every single day, throughout the entirety of treatment. Any deviation from this can add time to the process.

Young woman with clear bracesAnother decisive factor for Invisalign is that they are extremely easy to take care of and maintain. Since they are removable, you take them out before you eating and drinking, other than water. This takes away the hassle of food getting stuck in the brackets and wires of traditional braces.  This also means that keeping up with regular oral care is far easier as well, flossing and brushing your teeth with easy access.  Also cleaning the Invisalign trays is quite simple as well, you can get a cleaning system, or you can just clean them with warm water.

Like braces, if you choose Invisalign, you’ll be expected to attend follow-up visits every 4-6 weeks, but you’ll also be changing out your aligner every two weeks. This is an important part of the straightening process. The trays are custom designed to fit each patient’s unique needs and are changed every two weeks to keep up with the shift in the movement of your teeth. Skipping appointments or not changing aligners when you’re scheduled to can undo progress.

It is a close contest when comparing Invisalign and braces. For both Adults and teens, the discrete look of Invisalign, as well as the removability, can be incredibly appealing. However, it’s important to note that the success of Invisalign is highly dependent on the patient’s using the trays on a consistent basis.  If you don’t wear them as directed, they won’t work.  With the traditional braces route, you don’t have a choice of removing them and may have more success because so. It is also important to remember that if you have a complex dental issue Invisalign may not even be an option.

That is why it is important to work with an experienced practice like Mateer Orthodontics.  Our team friendly and professional, with extensive experience in both Invisalign and braces.  If you are in Suffolk County and surrounding areas Mateer Orthodontics and need help on deciding between traditional braces or Invisalign we are here to help, get in touch with us today to schedule a complimentary consultation.  Mateer Orthodontics is dedicated to making your smile one that you are proud of and that others can’t forget!

Author: Dr. Mateer