Choosing Between Invisalign & Braces

Choosing Between Invisalign & Braces
Posted on 06/22/2018

Choosing a orthodontist and making the decision to begin orthodontic treatment is probably exciting and a bit unnerving. You likely have many questions. You may wonder what will having braces be like? Will I qualify to wear Invisalign clear aligners? How long will my treatment take? How will people react to my orthodontic treatment? What type of treatment should I choose? These are all common questions and concerns and at Lauren Cai Family Orthodontics, we’ve heard and answered them all. Dr. Cai treats all ages of patients and so understand the concerns of young adolescents, teens and adults.

Invisalign vs. Braces - What Are The Facts?

If one of your concerns is choosing between Invisalign clear aligners and traditional metal or ceramic invisible braces, we can help clear up the muddy waters. There are many things to consider when trying to make the best choice for your budget, timing and lifestyle. While Dr. Cai will discuss these options and how they might affect you, we’ve outlined the pros and cons of Invisalign vs. braces in the chart below:


Compared To


Aligners are removable, but should be worn 22 of 24 hours

Permanence of appliance

Braces are permanently affixed to your teeth during treatment time

Typical length of treatment is

6 to 18 months

Length of Treatment

Typical length of treatment is 2 years, depending on patient needs

Recommend drinking only water with aligners in; take out to eat and drink your choice of food

What I Can Eat

Recommend not eating sticky or very hard foods and not drinking sugary drinks

Soft, bendable, clear plastic aligner trays

Material used

Silver metal or ceramic (invisible) braces bands connected by wires

Best for more mild orthodontic problems such as moderate crowding or relapsed tooth movement, although new advancements have increased treatment opportunities

Type of orthodontic problems

Best for more challenging orthodontic problems such as significant over and underbites and twisted teeth

Fewer visits to your Kelso area  Invisalign orthodontist, approx. every 6 weeks to check progress and pick up any new sets of aligners

Orthodontist visits

Visit your Kelso area orthodontist monthly to change wires and tighten brackets


Use with Propel accelerated orthodontics?


Rinse and brush after meals, before putting back in; soak overnight for deeper cleaning. Bacteria may get trapped inside aligners if not cleaned.


Brush after every meal, floss at least once a day. More difficult due to bands and wires. Easier for food to get trapped, plaque to form

No installation, but mild discomfort every two weeks when new set of aligners is worn that lasts a few days.


Moderate discomfort reported during installation and for a few days after each monthly visit and braces adjustment. Mouth abrasions possible from rubbing wires/brackets.

Yes, retainer likely needed to be worn after treatment ongoing

Retention treatment

Yes, retainer likely needed to be worn after treatment ongoing

Generally more expensive than braces with an average cost of $5000, depending on individual treatment needs


Generally less expensive than Invisalign with an average cost between $1800 and $5500, depending on individual treatment needs

Wow, So How Do I Decide If Invisalign Or Braces Is Best?

Unfortunately, there’s no clear choice when comparing braces to Invisalign aligners. In some instances, after your initial first visit with Dr. Cai, she may rule out Invisalign treatment for your particular orthodontic needs. In other cases, either option may be available to you. If you are an adult or a teen who is self-conscious about how you might look with traditional braces, you may love the idea of wearing the Invisalign clear aligners. One other thing to consider that you may not think about is that while Invisalign clear aligners may have some cosmetic and food-friendly advantages over braces, you also must be self-motivated to diligently wear your aligners for 22 out of 24 hours of every day or the treatment won’t work or will be delayed. With metal or ceramic braces, the fact that they ARE permanently adhered to your teeth means they are working 24/7 to move your teeth into their correct alignment, which is ultimately what everyone wants.

H2: Let Dr. Cai Help Answer Your Questions!

Sometimes the best way to make a decision about choosing braces or Invisalign is to talk it over with an expert like Dr. Cai who knows everything about both treatment options and can discuss how they each apply to your specific situation. Give her a call at her Vancouver or Longview offices or request your first appointment using this appointment request. She will be happy to examine your teeth, jaw and mouth and recommend the best course of treatment for you. One choice is clear, your Kelso area orthodontist is ready and waiting to shape your smile into a spectacular new you.

Dr. Lauren Cai

  • Longview Office - 870 12th Ave., Longview, WA 98632 Phone: 360-425-8210 Fax: 360-577-1605
  • Vancouver Office - 15593 S.E. Mill Plain Blvd., Vancouver, WA 98684 Phone: 360-882-5090 Fax: 360-882-5121

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