Are Braces or Invisalign Better for My Smile?

When you begin considering the idea of orthodontic treatment, you might find yourself with an entire laundry list of questions about the process, including “Are braces or Invisalign better for my smile?”. You’re not alone! Choosing to straighten your smile is a big decision, and you should have as much information as possible about everything treatment involves. Here at Kottemann Orthodontics, we’re committed to helping you explore every option available to you and creating a personalized plan based on your unique needs and goals! 

The first step in the process is scheduling a free initial consultation with one of our offices, conveniently located in Chaska, Maple Grove, Orono, and Plymouth. During your first visit, you’ll have the chance to talk to one of our expert orthodontists about everything related to your treatment, including: 

  • How orthodontic treatment will change your smile
  • Which treatments would be a good fit for your needs
  • What payment options are available to you
  • What differences exist between popular treatments like metal braces and clear aligners

We’ll be focusing on that last point right here. Traditional metal braces and Invisalign clear aligners are the two treatment options we tend to use the most, so we’ll be taking a look at the pros and cons of each! Having this information will help you decide which treatment option would be the best fit for your smile. Keep reading below to learn more! 

The basics of orthodontic treatment

Braces and aligners work in much the same way – they both apply gentle force to the teeth, moving them into straighter positions over time. This aligns your teeth and jaws, improves the appearance of your smile, and gives your oral health a boost. Traditional braces have been used in some form for hundreds of years, so they have a well-known reputation for successfully correcting a variety of orthodontic issues. 

While removable trays have been used in the past as post-treatment retainers, Invisalign is a newer addition to the world of orthodontics. Over the last twenty years, this innovative system has gained enormous popularity with teens and adults as an alternative to metal braces. 


So, what’s the difference?

Braces and Invisalign are both excellent options for anyone who wants to achieve a more beautiful smile, but there are some important differences between them to consider before choosing which option would be the best for you.

Metal braces 

You could say that traditional metal braces put a bit more emphasis on function over style, but they’re an incredibly effective option for correcting a wide range of orthodontic issues. They’re especially useful for more severe or complex cases. Every case is different and everyone responds to braces in their own way, so treatment time will vary. However, on average, most people can expect to spend anywhere from 15-24 months in braces. 

Braces can come with a bit of a learning curve in the beginning. There are certain foods that you’ll need to avoid during treatment since crunchy and chewy foods can wreak havoc on the brackets and wires. You’ll also need to make some slight adjustments to your dental hygiene routine. It can be tricky learning to navigate around braces, particularly where flossing is concerned, but this is an essential part of treatment at Kottemann Orthodontics. 

Fortunately, there are a variety of accessories available to make maintaining your dental routine easier! Water piks help rinse hard-to-reach places while ortho-picks simplify flossing for you. It may seem a little overwhelming at first, but don’t worry—these precautions will become part of your daily routine before you know it. 

Invisalign clear aligners

There are two primary reasons why Invisalign aligners have become the most popular alternative to braces in recent years. They’re nearly invisible, giving patients a truly discreet way to straighten their smile, and they’re removable, too! The smooth SmartTrack material is smooth and tends to be more comfortable than traditional braces. When worn as directed by your orthodontist, Invisalign aligners can be just as efficient as braces at correcting many of the most common orthodontic issues. 

Just like braces, the total treatment time for Invisalign patients will vary from case to case, but unlike braces, the average is usually anywhere 9-18 months. The number of aligners needed will depend on your needs, how compliant you are with the guidelines, and how your teeth respond to treatment.  

Since Invisalign aligners are removable, they’re extremely easy to maintain. They’re designed to be taken out before eating or drinking anything other than water and should also be removed before brushing and flossing. Since you don’t have your aligners in during mealtimes, there are no food restrictions. You can continue eating all your favorite snacks as long as you’re careful about brushing and flossing afterward. This makes eating and caring for your teeth a much easier and less frustrating process!  

You’ll be expected to attend follow-up visits with Drs. Kottemann or Dr. Holt, just like a patient wearing braces. Aligners must be worn for 20-22 hours each day and switched out every 1-2 weeks in order to be successful. Because they’re custom-designed to fit each patient’s unique needs, these frequent changes are necessary in order to keep up with the shifting of the teeth. Skipping appointments or missing scheduled aligner changes can quickly undo any progress you’ve made.


Find the best fit for your smile with Kottemann Orthodontics

When comparing traditional braces and Invisalign clear aligners, it’s a pretty close call! The good news is, our orthodontic experts will only recommend the treatment they feel is best for your specific smile. Our customized treatment plans are built around your unique needs, lifestyle, and goals, so you can achieve a smile that looks and feels great in the shortest amount of time possible!

If you’re ready to find the best treatment for your smile, get in touch today to schedule a free consultation at one of our four conveniently located Minnesota offices. Our team is dedicated to keeping your mouth healthy and aligned for a lifetime of beautiful smiles!