Invisalign vs Braces: What’s the Difference?

April 19, 2018
Jason K. Bunch, DDS, MS

In your research for the best orthodontic treatment for you or your child, you’ll likely spend time comparing Invisalign vs braces. Both options are designed to straighten your teeth, improve your smile and better your oral health, so what’s the difference between Invisalign and braces?

Ultimately, you want to make the choice that best serves your lifestyle, so the following information may help.

Invisalign vs Braces: What is the Difference?

How Braces and Invisalign Work

Here are the basic ways in which Invisalign and braces work to straighten your teeth:


Braces use constant, gentle pressure to move your teeth into their proper positions over time. The two main components of your braces include: 1) brackets on your teeth and 2) a main archwire to connect them. We first affix the brackets — clear or metal — to each tooth and then thread the wire threads through the brackets to move your teeth into ideal alignment.


Without the use of wires and brackets, Invisalign straightens your teeth with a series of clear, customized, removable aligners. Every one to two weeks, we design a new set of aligners to gradually move your teeth into proper placement. Along the way, patients enjoy the ability to easily remove the aligners for eating, brushing and flossing, without calling unwanted attention to their teeth.

How Straight Teeth Can Sustain Your Overall Health

5 Differences in Invisalign vs Braces

Now that you understand the basics, let’s dive into the details and compare the specific differences between Invisalign and braces:

1. Materials: Braces consist of metal or ceramic brackets and archwires, as well as rubber bands, whereas Invisalign consists of a BPA-free transparent plastic material.

2. Cost: In our offices, there is no cost difference between braces and Invisalign, although many other offices charge more for Invisalign than braces.

3. Follow-up Visits: When necessary, braces require that you see your orthodontist about every 6-8 weeks for follow-up visits to check on your progress and adjust wires. Invisalign consists of a series of custom-made aligners and a virtual treatment plan, which means far less check-up appointments, usually every 12 weeks.

4. Convenience: Braces can be quite difficult to maintain at times, with many food restrictions and complex cleaning routines. Patients must also follow a long list of foods to avoid with braces. On the other hand, patients can simply take out Invisalign aligners before eat any food they desire. Invisalign requires you to rinse your aligners in warm water whenever you take them out.

5. Duration: In compliant patients, there is no difference in treatment time between braces and Invisalign. In non-compliant patients, traditional braces can require slightly less time to complete treatment, since the brackets are permanently fixed to the teeth. With Invisalign, while we recommend wearing the aligners for at least 22 hours a day, patients may prolong the treatment schedule by wearing them less than we suggest.

. . .

We hope this info helps you compare Invisalign vs braces. In our experience, many people prefer Invisalign because of the lack of food restrictions, uncomfortable brackets and wires, as well as the reduced number of appointments. At the same time, many parents also select braces so that their teens do not misplace or forget to wear them. What we have found, however, is that teens who want Invisalign are often better patients than our adults! It’s really just a personal choice.

Here at Gorman and Bunch, we specialize in complex and teen cases. If you’ve ever been told you aren’t a candidate for Invisalign, we’d love to sit down with you and talk about your options between traditional braces and Invisalign.


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    thumb Pete Freeman

    review rating 5  Personal and professional, everyone always takes great care of my sensitive mouth teen! This is our first experience with needing orthodontia, when it’s time for my youngest to get braces, we’ll choose this place again in a heartbeat. From the team up front to the team in the back, everyone is so nice and yet so efficiently on task, it is quite impressive. They have reasonable pricing and are willing to help with a payment plan. Keep up the great work!!

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    review rating 5  Amazing experience all around. The staff is super friendly and Dr. Carly always makes my daughter feel comfortable with the work being done. We are thrilled with the progress we are seeing, and the customer service is always top notch.

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    thumb Stephanie

    review rating 5  This 64 year old had teeth that had begun to overlap in my adult years, which was attributed to having 4 good teeth removed as a child for "Crowded teeth". I waited to fund Invisalign until incurring no penalty for taking IRA funds, other than taxes. I was fortunate to be referred to Dr. Jason Bunch by my dentist, Dr. Jack Nicewander. Dr. Bunch and his Carmel, IN office staff see numerous children and young adults, but welcome the young at heart as well. I trust them and find them accommodating, efficient, professional and compassionate.

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    review rating 5  I love this office. The staff and Dr. Carly are great. I’m having amazing results with my program! I highly suggest it to any and everyone!

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    review rating 5  Amazing experience they all made my daughter and I feel very comfortable, all the ladies were extremely nice. Very well informed. Wouldn't go anywhere else!

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  • review rating 5  I can’t say enough great things about this office. I am legal guardian of my sister and she is going through Invisalign with them… She’s almost done and I am amazed by the results. I also go there for continued orthodontic care because orthodontic retention is for life! So glad I have such great people to care for our teeth!!!

    thumb Veronica Boyle

    review rating 5  Cannot say enough good things about this practice! I've been to Westfield and Carmel locations, both are beautiful with helpful and friendly staff. Dr Bunch is experienced, knowledgeable, and truly cares about his patients and strives to get the best results possible for each one!

    thumb Karen Caudle

    review rating 5  I just started my first week with the Invisalign. The staff has been extremely friendly and helpful through every step. Dr Carly’s initial evaluation of my case was extremely thorough and the options were explained in detail to help make an informed decision. They’ve certainly exceeded my expectation and from the looks of it, they do a great job with their younger patients as well!

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    review rating 5  Heather and Dr Carly were awesome! Friendly, informative, and professional. Office was very inviting. We had a great appointment and look forward to the next couple of years of working with them.

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    review rating 5  Love this office! Helpful, professional, and knowledgeable doctor and staff. Haven’t had 1 issue with them. They’ve got their routine down pat.

    thumb Courtney Amos

    review rating 5  We were very pleased with the staff and services at Gorman & Bunch. From the beginning, they were very friendly and made us feel comfortable with our first ortho visit. Dr. Carly was very nice and attentive. We ended up with braces for my son on the first visit and they were quick and thorough and made our experience very positive. Definitely would recommend them! They are awesome!

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