Ask a Dentist

Q: What is the difference between Invisalign and braces?

Young woman looking at braces and Invisalign in contemplation

A: Braces and Invisalign were designed to straighten teeth and improve your smile. In both cases, your teeth are straightened gradually into the desired position. This process can take anywhere from a few months to a few years, depending on the treatment plan in place and your commitment to the process.

We’ve outlined some key differences between braces and Invisalign:

Braces have been used since the 1700s to straighten people’s teeth. They are made from gluing metal brackets to your teeth and placing wires between them. Elastics can also be used to gradually shift the teeth into the desired positions.

Pros:

  • Effective for more complex issues
  • Less self-discipline needed for success

Cons:

  • May get pain, discomfort or sores from the brackets and wires
  • May get tooth discolouration from a more difficult hygiene regime
  • Increased difficulty in eating sticky or hard foods

To clean and maintain your braces, brush and floss regularly. It may be easier to use a specially designed brush or a water pick to get between the brackets. To make sure the treatment plan is going well, follow up appointments are held every month.

Braces are not ideal if you regularly play contact sports or other activities that can cause trauma to your mouth.

Invisalign is another method to straighten teeth and was developed in the late 1990s. A digital mould of your teeth is made to create the aligners. The aligners are designed to be invisible and removable but should be worn approximately 22 hours a day. 

Pros:

  • Food won’t get caught in the aligners
  • No discomfort from wires or brackets
  • No food restrictions
  • Invisible and removable

Cons:

  • Must remove before eating or drinking anything except water
  • Brush or rinse after each meal to avoid staining
  • Requires self-discipline and to remember to wear the aligners regularly

To clean and maintain your Invisalign aligners, use an Invisalign Cleaning System or brush and rinse in trays with lukewarm water. New aligners are used to shift your teeth gradually, so a new set is needed approximately every two weeks.

If you’re wondering which option would be good for you, book an appointment today at either of our Winnipeg clinics.