Should you get braces or Invisalign®?

When you think about achieving a straight, healthier smile, you almost certainly immediately think of traditional braces. However, with advances in orthodontic technologies over the years, traditional metal braces, while still widely popular, are no longer the only option on the table when it comes to straightening teeth. Now there are a variety of choices to suit many different lifestyles — including ceramic and lingual braces, and even Invisalign treatment. However, it can be a tough choice to decide which type of orthodontic treatment is right for you or your family, especially when considering early orthodontic treatment, as well. The first step to deciding, however, is understanding how each treatment works.


Traditionally, braces consist of a series of metal brackets that have been affixed to the fronts of teeth, to which metal wires are then attached to. Under the close care of your trusted children’s orthodontist, the wire is gradually tightened, moving teeth into their desired locations. The length of a braces treatment is heavily dependent on the severity of orthodontic issues, however typical treatments last anywhere from 1.5 to 3 years.

Though still extremely popular, metal braces are not without some drawbacks. Metal braces are susceptible to damage when eating and chewing, so hard, crunchy, tough, and sticky foods must be forgone for the duration of treatment to avoid damaging the brackets or wires. The presence of these brackets and wires can also make routine dental hygiene more difficult, creating more hard-to-reach areas. But, with the help of dental instruments like interdental brushes and a little extra attention to detail, a healthy, beautiful smile is easily achieved.

Aside from traditional metal braces, there are other forms of braces treatments available:

Ceramic braces

Ceramic braces are very similar to traditional metal braces, however, instead of metal, they are made of a clear, ceramic material. This allows for a more discreet orthodontic treatment. However, the bands around brackets may discolor between orthodontic visits, and ceramic braces are still susceptible to all the same factors as metal braces.

Self-ligating braces

A newer approach to the traditional bracket-and-wire style braces, self-ligating braces use a “sliding door” method which allows the wire to slide back and forth through the bracket. This leads to less friction, meaning improved comfort for the patient. Best of all, self-ligating braces typically require fewer adjustments and a shorter treatment time than typical braces. However, unlike more traditional forms of braces, self-ligating braces do not allow for discreet treatment and are often more expensive.


An ever more popular form of treatment, Invisalign consists of a series of clear aligner trays made of smooth plastic. These trays are created by taking an initial mold of the patient’s mouth and using Invisalign technology, a series of trays are created for both top and bottom rows of teeth. Each set of aligners is worn for roughly two weeks for at least 22 hours a day, before switching to the next set of trays in the series. As the trays are switched out, the patient’s teeth are gradually shifted into their desired alignment.

Unlike other forms of braces, Invisalign requires no brackets or wires, so the smooth plastic finish allows for a much more comfortable treatment that is nearly invisible — and because Invisalign is removed during eating and brushing, patients don’t have to sacrifice their favorite foods, and oral hygiene remains as easy as ever. One of the few drawbacks to Invisalign, however, is that it is typically more costly than other forms of orthodontic treatment.

Speak to your trusted children’s orthodontist

Each form of orthodontic treatment comes with its own set of pros and cons, however, it is ultimately up to you and your orthodontist to decide which treatment best suits your family’s lifestyle. If you’re struggling to decide which orthodontic treatment may be right for your child, or you’re unsure whether early orthodontic treatment is necessary, you should speak with a trusted children’s orthodontist. Charlottesville’s local orthodontics provider, Charlottesville Orthodontics, has an excellent team of doctors and staff who excel in helping parents through their child’s orthodontic treatment.

Schedule an appointment with a children’s orthodontist in Charlottesville today

Whether you’re seeking early orthodontic treatment for your child, or considering perfecting your own smile, the team at Charlottesville Orthodontics can help. Our knowledgeable doctors and friendly, welcoming staff have a variety of treatments available, from early orthodontics treatment to adult treatment, meaning we’re sure to find the right fit for you and your family. To learn more or to schedule an appointment, please contact us today, or simply fill out an appointment request form. We look forward to hearing from you!