Why it’s important to read and learn about differences between braces and aligners

When it comes to a perfect smile with straight teeth, there are two options- braces and aligners. While both treatments fix overcrowding, protrusions, irregular spacing, and other alignment issues, they use different approaches. Let’s dig deeper to discover the differences between the two orthodontic treatments.


  • It’s essential to recognize that the total duration of your orthodontic treatment can be quite similar when you properly follow the instructions for both treatment types. Traditional braces typically involve two appointments – the bond and debond sessions, which involve applying and removing brackets.

Throughout treatment, several shorter visits are required to your orthodontist for check-ins and necessary adjustments, typically occurring every few weeks. These regular appointments are necessary because the orthodontist fine-tunes your smile as you progress through the treatment. Additional trips may be required for issues like broken brackets or wires.

  • On the other hand, Invisalign utilizes 3D iTero scans for the treatment. While the initial and final appointments may be longer, there are fewer check-in appointments throughout the treatment because aligners are delivered to you approximately every 10-14 days.

With Invisalign, emergency appointments, such as those for broken brackets, are less common as there are no brackets to break. The primary inconvenience may be the risk of misplacing or damaging an aligner when it’s not in your mouth. Depending on your stage of treatment, you’ll need to contact your orthodontist to determine if the aligner set can be replaced or if you can proceed to the next pair.


  • Since braces are a permanent orthodontic fixture, they offer limited flexibility in terms of removal. Patients are required to wear them continuously until their treatment is completed. This lack of removability can cause inconveniences for patients. For instance, braces cannot be removed for dental hygiene purposes. Additionally, you cannot take braces off during activities like sports when there’s a risk of impact. However, you can take protective measures to avoid sports injuries with braces.

On the other hand, clear aligners offer the distinct advantage of complete removability. This flexibility allows better hygiene practices, protects during sports activities, and gives the freedom to maintain regular eating habits. Nonetheless, doctors recommend wearing aligners for at least 22 hours daily to ensure treatment progresses as scheduled.


  • differences between braces and alignersTypically, braces are more visible than clear aligners, as they can be seen when a person smiles or opens their mouth. However, the visibility of traditional metal braces can vary depending on personal preferences. Braces utilize small elastics to secure the archwire. This allows younger patients to add fun using vibrant colors or patterns, turning their orthodontic care into a personalized accessory. Additionally, the appearance of braces can be toned down by using tooth-colored elastics or opting for clear or tooth-colored plastic or ceramic brackets.

In contrast, clear aligners offer a discreet orthodontic solution. The lightweight, near-invisible aligners are custom-cut in 3D to perfectly fit your teeth without covering your gums. This makes them less noticeable and ensures a comfortable fit. The unique cut also minimizes the risk of gum recession or irritation.

  • Their transparency relies on your commitment to keeping the aligners clean. Nevertheless, most patients receive a fresh set of aligners every 10-14 days, and it’s hard to get the previous set dirty enough to be noticeable before the next set of aligners arrives.

Contact Icon Dental Orthodontics today to schedule an appointment with the best orthodontists in Seattle or Everett. Our expert dentists are dedicated to providing the best orthodontic treatment, from prevention and diagnosis to treatment and beyond. Trust us to help you achieve a healthier, more beautiful smile. For consultations or bookings, call us at (206) 225-2882 for Seattle and (425) 337-2400 for Everett appointments.

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