Invisalign vs. Traditional Braces: Get The Facts

Many of us remember the days when fixing crooked teeth meant having bulky, painful metal braces. Over the past several years, more patients have started opting for Invisalign®, a transparent, removable aligner system that can straighten your teeth and improve your smile without having to wear metal wires or brackets.

Although it’s more visually appealing, Invisalign isn’t for everyone. Your specific situation will determine whether you would be better served with traditional braces or Invisalign. Like anything, there are pros and cons to both treatments. Read on as Shaun Alex, DDS, at District Cosmetic Dental in Washington, DC, breaks down the differences between these treatments.

Traditional braces

Ancient Egyptians began using crude braces as early as 5,000 years ago. They used a cord made from animal skin to help correct misaligned teeth, much like traditional metal braces are used today. Luckily for us, we don’t have to worry about animal skin braces anymore.

Traditional braces consist of wires and metal or resin brackets, which are attached to the front of your teeth. Because they are individually placed, braces are better for fixing more complex dental issues, such as teeth that are higher than others. Once they’re placed on your teeth, they stay on your teeth throughout treatment.

Among the advantages of traditional braces are:

  • They work better for more complex dental issues, such as large gaps and misaligned or crooked teeth.
  • They are permanent, so you won’t lose them or forget to replace them.
  • They typically require fewer trips to your dentist for adjustments.

Metal braces also have some drawbacks, such as:

  • They are often more painful than Invisalign, especially for more severe dental cases.
  • They may discolor teeth.
  • Some foods cannot be eaten for the duration of the treatment.


Invisalign aligners are clear, removable aligners that are computer-generated to fit your specific needs. They first came on the market in 2000, and they have grown in popularity since as people have opted for a more aesthetically pleasing dental appliances.

After your dentist takes X-rays of your mouth, they create a computer-generated treatment plan. Based on this plan, a number of aligner sets are created. Every two weeks or so, you replace your aligners with a new set of slightly adjusted aligners. This process will gradually shift your teeth into their ideal position. Your Invisalign treatment can last a year or more.

Among the advantages of Invisalign are:

  • They are much more comfortable than traditional braces.
  • They are invisible.
  • Because you can remove them before eating, no foods are off-limits.
  • Appointments are simple, as no tightening of metal braces is necessary.

Invisalign also has some drawbacks, such as:

  • Because you must remove them to eat, you may lose them or forget to put them back in.
  • They are not effective for severe dental problems.

In addition to the shortened treatment time and the invisible nature of Invisalign, the cost is comparable to traditional braces. Your insurance company may also cover Invisalign in the same way it covers braces.

If you want to see if Invisalign may be the right choice for you, book an appointment online or over the phone with District Cosmetic Dental today.

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District Cosmetic Dental

Phone: (202) 659-5986 Address: 2311 M Street NW Suite #404
Washington, DC 20037

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Tuesday: 8:00 am – 3:00 pm
Wednesday: 8:00 am – 7:00 pm
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Saturday: Closed
Sunday: Closed


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