Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Invisalign vs Wires and Brackets

I frequently get some variation of the question "Doc, is it better to do braces or invisible braces?"

I'll briefly discuss the advantages and disadvantages with each of these options. For this blog, braces are wires/brackets and invisible braces are Invisalign aligners.

Wires and brackets


In some difficult cases, certain tooth movements are only possible with wires and brackets. Invisalign cannot work in every case.

Although the teeth are straight, the inability to maintain
 adequate hygiene has resulted in discolored and decayed teeth.
  • Unpredictable final outcome.
  • Oral hygiene is compromised.
  • Treatment time on average is 2-3 years.
  • When brackets are removed, there is often some decay or discoloration of the teeth. Also, during bracket removal, tooth structure is often inadvertently chipped off the tooth surface.
  • Food restrictions. Some foods are off limits.
  • Wires and brackets often poke the soft tissue and sore irritated areas often develop.
  • More discomfort when teeth move.



  • Final outcome is more predictable.
  • Better oral hygiene.
  • Treatment time is much faster. On average, treatment is typically about a year.
  • Invisalign aligners are nearly invisible
     and are very tolerable to wear.
  • No food restrictions.
  • Less discomfort as teeth move because of the predictable and precise movements.
  • More aesthetic.


If not compliant with wearing the aligners, then the teeth will not move to the desired position. In other words, if you don't wear them, the teeth will not move.


In conclusion, I prefer Invisalign (when feasible to treat with this modality) over wires/brackets. However, I have friends and family that prefer to have wires. I don't understand why. I think for school age kids, it may be a status symbol to have brackets. I don't get it.

Feel free to visit the Invisalign website ( for more information.

Dr. Cisneros maintains a practice in Freeburg and Columbia, IL. Both are in the Greater St Louis, MO area. For more information on a wide variety of subjects, please visit


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  2. I am sure that I have the typical teenage child that is sensitive to the idea of wearing braces. My daughter is just devastated at the idea. Do kids respond better when they are given the Invisalign option? I want my daughter to be happy and I want her to have great dental health.

  3. My daughter is at the age where she is ready to get braces. We are researching and looking into if we want to normal braces or if we want to get Invisalign. This article was very helpful and informative and after reading this article I think that my daughter will like the Invisalign because you can't see them.