When you want to get your teeth straightened you have a few different options. The two primary ones are metal branches and Invisalign or clear aligners.  Whether you get metal braces or Invisalign, your teeth will get straighter and your bite will improve, but which is the right choice for you? 

Invisalign is now able to correct most problems that braces can, making the choice harder.

Both options are great options. When you’re considering the choice between Invisalign or braces, you’re looking at two valid ways to straighten your teeth. Depending on your lifestyle, though, one might be more appealing than the other. 

How do you choose? 

We’re here to help make your choice a little bit easier. Whether you’re planning for yourself or you’re thinking about child or teen braces, we’re going to give you all of the details that could influence your decision. 

Keep reading to learn more about the differences.


Cost is a huge factor when considering orthodontia. It’s expensive and it isn’t always covered by dental insurance (if you even have it). Nearly a quarter of Americans do not, and many of the ones who do are only covered to age 18 or 21 depending on the insurance.

While some states and programs offer free braces to children and teens, not everyone is eligible for this.

In other words, the cost is important. 

Metal Braces

Metal braces are sometimes the only option covered by insurance (when insurance is available). Even for children and teenagers, metal braces may be the only option for those trying to save money with dental insurance. 

That said, they’re also on average less expensive than Invisalign or other dental options. While the costs can be comparable, many orthodontists choose to charge less for metal braces depending on how their office works with Invisalign and the circumstances of the patient. 


Invisalign has insurance coverage sometimes. This can take thousands off of treatments, but it won’t be free and orthodontic work is always expensive.

Sometimes Invisalign is comparable or the cost is worth it for the other benefits (mentioned later). Sometimes orthodontists choose to have the same cost for both. This is a case-by-case situation. 


This is the area that has the biggest difference between the two orthodontic options. From looking at the two different choices of braces, it’s obvious that they look different and would suit different lifestyles. Here’s how we feel about it.

Metal Braces

Metal braces have evolved a lot over the years, but they’re still obvious on the teeth. Some people love this look and have incorporated it into their fashion (though it’s far safer to get the real deal, meaning your braces could be a fashion staple).

Some teens are insecure about these braces. They’re not the full-on headgear of decades past, but they still have that obvious metal look and shine. These children and teens may not realize yet that this is so common (and almost endearing). 

Some people are more comfortable with the “invisible braces” made from ceramic, but those can still have metal brackets. 

Adults don’t often have lifestyles that support metal braces. Between work headshots, family photos, and the need to make a good first impression, some of them feel insecure.


This is where Invisalign shines. While the aligners aren’t invisible, they can’t be seen from a distance. They’re perfect for photos and meeting new people. They might still be noticed from the slight lisp that they can create, but they won’t be obvious. 

Both teens and adults are happier with Invisalign due to the subtle appearance of the aligners.

One note: these aligners may still have attachments or “buttons”. Some have rubber bands. These are more obvious than the aligners but they’re less obvious than the metal braces.  

Ease of Use and Maintenance 

How easy are these orthodontic options to use? Is everyone able to maintain both, or is one going to be easier than the other? 

This depends on your lifestyle. Which works best for you or your child? 

Metal Braces

Metal braces have a few benefits when it comes to ease of use. Braces are a “set it and forget it” option until it’s time to visit the orthodontist. 

You may have to see the orthodontist every 4-6 weeks for adjustments and these adjustments can be painful. Some patients go every 8-10 weeks. 

On the other hand, children and teenagers (and some adults) aren’t known for their responsibility. With braces, you never have to worry about when and how you eat. You don’t have to worry about forgetting to put them back in after lunch or dinner. They’re in your mouth all the time until you’re released from your treatment.


You still have to visit your orthodontist when you have Invisalign. Some orthodontists choose to space the visits out if they have a reliable plan on a simple case while others want to maintain a more consistent schedule to ensure that the teeth are tracking with the aligners. 

You won’t have to have anything tightened or adjusted (aside from the occasional button or rubberband) so you can avoid some of the pain of orthodontia (though there’s always discomfort). 

Invisalign can be a bad option for adults, teens, or children who aren’t responsible enough to keep up with them. They need about 22 hours per day of wearing time and losing one can mean either switching too quickly or having to have a difficult discussion with the orthodontist depending on how ready you are to move on. 

Teenagers and children who are in school may not be able to be trusted with taking the aligners out while eating or putting them back in after their meal is over. They also have to brush their teeth in between. 

That said, many teens are responsible enough. Invisalign teen is even an option. 

If you’re the parent, you need to gauge the responsibility levels of your kid before letting them get Invisalign. 

Metal Braces or Invisalign: Which Is Right for You and Your Family? 

Dental work is expensive so you want to make the right choice the first time. Are you or your children responsible enough for Invisalign? Does your lifestyle suit the obvious metal wires of braces? 

Only you can make that decision.

If you’re interested in a consultation so that you can be more informed before you get started, visit our site and schedule a free initial exam. We want to get you and your children the smiles you deserve.