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  • Writer's pictureUlrich Orthodontics

Braces vs. Aligners

Having straight teeth offers many personal benefits: a straight smile, confidence, pain relief in the jaw, improved oral hygiene and heart health. But getting a straight, healthy smile comes with a variety of options when it comes to getting the job done. With clear aligners being all the rage, are they the answer for everyone? Or are contemporary metal braces the right choice because of their long track record of success? This isn't a one-size fits all answer. Below we've listed the pros and cons of both types of appliances to help you choose the right fit for your mouth.

Clear Aligners (also known as Invisalign)


  • Faster, shorter treatment time when worn as advised (6-18 months)

  • No foods are off limits

  • Discreet look

  • Easier to clean than traditional braces

  • Comfortable with very little pain associated with tooth movement

  • Great for simple, uncomplicated mouths


  • If you're a frequent snacker or sipper (other than water), this won't be the option for you. These appliances need to be worn at least 22 hours a day.

  • Not as sanitary as braces

  • Can discolor if not removed when eating certain types of food, or cleaned properly

  • Not effective for complex cases (for example: under-bite, overbite, open or cross bites)

  • More costly than metal braces. ($5k-$10k)

  • If not planned properly, there is a risk for damage to the teeth, gums and jaws in addition to an increased risk in heart and gum disease. (at-home aligner companies)

Contemporary Metal Braces


  • More affordable than aligners ($1800-$6k)

  • Great for effectively treating complex cases

  • Established history of success

  • Can't be lost or misplaced

  • They will work for every type of case

  • Durable to withstand eating most types of food


  • Often take longer than aligners (only when aligners are worn correctly). Typical treatment time is 12-24 months.

  • Care and maintenance is higher as oral hygiene must be prioritized

  • More care must be taken when eating, and certain foods are suggested as off limits

  • Discomfort is expected when the appliances are initially placed, and minor discomfort is expected when adjusted.

If you would like to schedule a complimentary consultation to discuss your options with our doctors and team, please feel free to call us at 530-885-8331.

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