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News & Blog

By Dr. Jo Hansen, DDS, MS
Smile Doctors Braces - Harrisonville, MO



When it comes to orthodontics, there are a few great options for achieving that “perfect” smile! During your FREE initial consultation at Smile Doctors, we review and discuss your treatment options as well as discuss your lifestyle and personal preferences and make recommendations on the most effective treatment method based on what you desire out of treatment. Most of the time, treatment offered will be Braces or Invisalign®. The question then becomes, “Is one “better” than the other?” Great question! Braces vs. Invisalign® – what’s the difference? 


Invisalign® consists of a series of plastic retainers (they look similar to bleaching trays or a clear retainer) that are digitally designed and orthodontist-customized for your teeth. These “aligners”, as they’re called, come in numbered packages and are provided to you in multiple packages. Generally, the aligners are worn full time for one week at a time, and then you progress to the next numbered aligner. Also, as part of your treatment, you may have customized “attachments” (little tooth-colored bumps) placed on several teeth to achieve the desired movements. Rubber bands (elastics) are also sometimes prescribed with Invisalign®.  

“Braces” consist of metal (and sometimes ceramic) brackets that are placed semi-permanently to each tooth. A wire is then inserted and attached to the brackets to achieve the tooth movements needed.  Periodically, the wires and brackets may be changed, as needed, to further move the teeth toward their ideal position. Rubber bands (elastics) are often worn to adjust and detail the bite.  

So now that you know what they both *are*, let’s compare braces vs. Invisalign®! 

When it comes to Invisalign®, it offers many advantages over traditional braces: 

  • Many adults and teens find it to be more comfortable 
  • Offers more gentle movements of the teeth 
  • You can eat all your favorite foods without concerns of breakage 
  • Depending on the malocclusion and desired outcomes some treatments can be faster and requiring fewer appointments 
  • Great for those that play sports or musical instruments 
  • Removable trays make brushing/flossing a breeze 
  • Can correct both simple & complex tooth movements 
  • Covered by orthodontic insurance 
  • Improved self-esteem 

Of course, like anything, Invisalign® does have its disadvantages: 

  • Responsibility is on the patient to wear aligners as prescribed in order to achieve desired tooth movement 
  • Must keep track of and not lose or damage aligners 
  • Lack of proper use can prolong treatment time and affect final treatment results 
  • Speaking may be altered while you adjust to wearing the aligners 

Of course, as you can see, the pros easily outweigh the cons when it comes to Invisalign® treatment. But don’t make your decision just yet! Let’s take a look and explore the advantages and disadvantages of traditional braces: 


  • Orthodontic brackets are cemented on teeth, which is the ultimate “plus” factor for braces – very little responsibility; just a “wake up and go” treatment method  
  • Can treat some orthodontic problems more efficiently 
  • The semi-perminancy leads to very predictable tooth movements 
  • For many patients the esthetics or the braces and colors are a rite of passage 
  • Covered by orthodontic insurance 
  • Improved self-esteem 

And to be fair, braces do have their disadvantages: 

  • Based on your type of malocclusion can require appointments at the orthodontist 
  • Need to avoid hard/sticky foods to prevent breakage 
  • Brushing/flossing need more attention 
  • Increased risk of decalcification/white marks on the teeth with improper hygiene 

So naturally, when it comes to braces vs. Invisalign®, we can see that both have good and not-so-good aspects when it comes to overall treatment and hygiene. However, you can’t make the decision on the pros and cons alone as there is an additional factor that is important to consider: lifestyle. 

If you are an active young person or adult, whether that is through playing sports or speaking in front of the public, Invisalign® may be your best choice. Additionally, Invisalign® could be ideal for someone that may be slightly more self-conscious and doesn’t want to draw attention to their treatment.  

On the other hand, if you’re the type of person who consistently “misplaces” their cell phone, keys, or wallet, braces are likely the right choice for you! And some people enjoy the status symbol braces and colors bring. 

Regardless of the choice you make to get your teeth straight, while improving your smile you will also improve your self-confidence and overall dental health. At Smile Doctors, we are here to help you achieve the beautiful smile and self-confidence you deserve while making sure you Smile Happy all along the way! Book your FREE consultation online or call your nearest office today to schedule the beginning of your journey. 

Dr. Jo Hanson is a licensed orthodontist who practices out of our Lee's Summit, MO and Harrisonville, MO locations. To learn more about Dr. Hansen and the amazing care she provides her patients, check out our Lee's Summit, MO location page.

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