Are Braces or Invisalign Better for My Smile?

Choosing to straighten your smile and improve your oral health is a big decision, and you should have all the information you need before you begin your orthodontic journey. Many people ask “Are braces or Invisalign better for my smile?” That’s why Alba Orthodontics offers free consultations to patients of all ages throughout Mechanicsburg and the surrounding area! When you schedule an evaluation with us, you’ll have the opportunity to discuss any concerns you have with our doctors

Our expert team will also be happy to answer any questions you have about the treatment process. You can expect us to cover a range of important topics during this initial visit, including:  

  • how orthodontic treatment can benefit your smile
  • which treatment options will be the best fit for your needs and goals
  • any payment options that are available to you

You’ll also learn more about the differences between our most popular treatments: traditional braces and Invisalign clear aligners. Since these tend to be the two options we use most often, it can be helpful to understand as much as you can about both! But first, let’s go over the basics of orthodontic treatment. 

The basics of braces and clear aligners 

While they may look very different, braces and clear aligners work very similarly. Each treatment is designed to move the teeth into more optimal positions by applying gentle force to them over time. This aligns the teeth and jaws, improving the appearance and function of your smile. Both treatments are excellent options for anyone hoping to achieve a healthier smile, but there are some important differences between them! 

Damon metal braces

Traditional braces have been around for quite a while and they have a well-established history of successfully correcting a wide range of orthodontic issues. At Alba Orthodontics, we use Damon self-ligating braces which eliminate the need for pesky bands. Metal brackets are attached to the teeth, then held together by a slide mechanism that reduces the friction placed on the teeth. This gives modern braces an improved appearance as well as being more comfortable than previous versions! Alba Orthodontics offers different types of braces to fit every patient’s specific needs, including modern metal braces and clear braces. 

Braces are what we call a fixed orthodontic appliance, which simply means they cannot be removed without your orthodontist. These are especially effective at treating more serious or complex issues. The total will vary from case to case when it comes to treatment times, but the average with braces tends to be anywhere from 18-30 months. 

Maintaining traditional braces can come with a bit of a learning curve in the beginning. Learning to navigate brushing and flossing with all those brackets and wires can take some practice, but it will become just another part of your daily routine in no time with a little patience and perseverance! There are a variety of accessories available to make oral hygiene easier while a patient is in braces, like water piks to help rinse hard-to-reach places or ortho picks for braces-specific flossing. 

Food restrictions are a part of this maintenance, as well—you will need to avoid anything that can damage your braces throughout the treatment process. This includes anything crunchy or sticky, which means snacks like raw apples and carrots, certain kinds of candy, and popcorn are off the menu until your orthodontic treatment is complete. 

Patients in traditional braces can expect follow-up visits about every 8 weeks. After we ensure everything is progressing according to the treatment plan, Dr. Fred or Dr. Jeff will make any necessary adjustments. These appointments are generally pretty fast—most last no more than an hour. 

These visits are an essential part of treatment and help ensure that you achieve the best results in the least amount of time possible.  


Invisalign clear aligners

Invisalign is the most popular alternative to traditional braces here at Alba Orthodontics. Instead of brackets and wires, the system uses a series of removable clear aligners to straighten smiles. These customized trays are made of smooth high-performance plastic and they are designed to fit snugly but comfortably over your teeth. This material won’t irritate the gums or cheeks the way braces sometimes can, and most patients adjust to them quickly. 

The Invisalign system is less invasive than traditional braces, but the treatment time will still depend on how each patient reacts to treatment. The average tends to be between 12-18 months, although it can take more or less time depending on the case. With Invisalign, the treatment time will also depend on patient compliance. Those wearing the removable clear aligners must keep them in for at least 20-22 hours every day and switch them out for the next in the series every 1-2 weeks as recommended by your orthodontist. Failure to do so can lead to a longer treatment time and less optimal results.

Since Invisalign aligners are removable, they are extremely easy to maintain. They’re designed to be taken out before eating and drinking anything other than water, so you’ll never need to worry about food getting stuck in between the brackets and wires (a leading cause of bacteria and decay.) Aligners are also removed before brushing and flossing, which makes dental hygiene a quicker process. This removability also means there are no food restrictions when you choose Invisalign!

Like braces patients, those in Invisalign will be scheduled for regular follow-ups with our team around every 12 weeks. Skipping appointments or missing scheduled aligner changes can quickly undo any progress made in treatment, so it’s important to keep up with these visits.


Find the best fit for you with Alba Orthodontics

While traditional braces and Invisalign aligners each have their list of pros and cons, both can be excellent options if you’re looking to improve your oral health and achieve a beautifully aligned smile. 

By working with our experienced orthodontists, Dr. Fred and Dr. Jeff, you are sure to find the best treatment option for your smile. If you’re ready to explore everything orthodontics has to offer you, contact us today to schedule your FREE consultation with our expert team in Mechanicsburg. We’re committed to finding the most effective solution to perfect your smile, keep your mouth healthy, and looking good for a lifetime!