Invisalign Teen vs Traditional Braces: Which is Right for Your Child?

 Asad A | May 21, 2024

When you first notice that your child's permanent teeth are growing crooked, your first thought might be about getting them braces. People have been trying to improve their smiles for a long time, and orthodontic braces have been around in some form since the late 1800s.

Almost everyone knows someone who wore braces as a kid, and it's no surprise—they work well. But you probably also know that there have been significant advancements in orthodontics, giving you and your child more choices. You may have heard of Invisalign and Invisalign Teen as alternatives to braces, but you might not be sure how they compare to each other.

Let us explore Invisalign Teen vs Traditional Braces: Which is Right for Your Child? But first, let us explain why you need Invisalign Teen or Traditional Braces.

Need for Invisalign Teen and Traditional Braces

Today, teens continue to have a strong association with orthodontics, even as more adults seek smile-straightening treatments. Experts suggest that children start visiting orthodontists at age 7. By this time, orthodontists can observe the eruption of permanent teeth and identify early alignment issues such as:

  • Crowding
  • Tooth gaps
  • Overbite
  • Underbite
  • Crossbite

During these early visits, orthodontists can also provide treatments to prevent misalignments, making future orthodontic care with Invisalign or braces simpler. While each patient's needs are unique, most kids get braces between ages 10 and 14, depending on their dental development and treatment requirements.

When your child is finally ready for treatment, they have a decision to make: Invisalign vs braces? Today, both Invisalign's clear aligners and traditional braces are good options for teens. Recent advancements in technology allow orthodontists to use Invisalign or braces effectively, even for severe cases.

Invisalign Teen vs Traditional Braces: Choosing the Right Option for Teens

When your teenager is getting ready for orthodontic treatment, they might be weighing the pros and cons of Invisalign versus braces.

Just a few years back, Invisalign wasn't widely available for teens with more severe alignment issues. It was mainly used for minor problems like slight crowding or minor bite concerns. 

However, thanks to advancements in orthodontic techniques like those used by orthodontists, Invisalign can now effectively address mild, moderate, and even severe alignment issues that were traditionally treated with braces. This means that the decision between Invisalign and braces often comes down to what suits your teen's lifestyle best.

Invisalign Treatment

While Invisalign and braces target similar dental issues, they use distinct approaches. Invisalign involves a clear aligner system where patients wear custom-made, transparent aligners for 12 to 24 months to gradually shift teeth into proper alignment.

Typically, Invisalign treatment comprises 20-30 sets of aligners, with patients switching to a new set every few weeks as treatment advances. Invisalign aligners offer the following advantages:

  • Removability at any time
  • Comfortable to wear
  • Aesthetically discreet


Braces operate by using brackets and wires to shift teeth gradually. At the start of the treatment, brackets are bonded to your child’s teeth and connected by a metal archwire. Over a span of 12-24 months, the orthodontist adjusts the wire regularly during appointments. This adjustment applies pressure to move teeth in specific directions, ultimately achieving a well-aligned smile.

Invisalign Teen vs Traditional Braces: Key Factors To Consider

As mentioned earlier, while both orthodontic treatments achieve similar results, choosing between Invisalign and braces will impact your child's lifestyle and daily routine differently. Below are the key factors to consider when deciding between the two options: food choices, aesthetics, and personal responsibilities.

Before visiting the orthodontist with your teen, we recommend discussing these factors together and preparing any questions to ask during your consultation.


Aspect Invisalign Braces
Food Limitations No limitations Restrictions on sticky, hard foods and biting foods like apples or corn
Aesthetic Differences Clear aligner trays are hardly noticeable Visible brackets and wires affect the smile's appearance
Daily Responsibilities Wear aligners 20-22 hours daily; remove them for eating and oral care Brush up to 5 times a day, floss nightly, and use interproximal brushes and mouthwash for oral hygiene


Cost of Invisalign Teen vs Traditional Braces

When deciding between Invisalign and traditional braces, one of the main things to consider is cost. Which option is more affordable? Typically, traditional braces are cheaper, although this isn't always the case.

Invisalign aligners are custom-made for each person using advanced 3-D technology, which adds to the overall cost. On the other hand, braces are designed to be straightforward for orthodontists to adjust without needing extra lab work, unlike Invisalign.

If your budget is a major factor, traditional braces may be the better choice. The average cost of braces ranges from $3,000 to $7,000, while Invisalign can cost between $4,000 and $8,000. Keep in mind these are rough estimates and can vary.

Invisalign Teen vs Traditional Braces: Which Treatment Is Faster?

Determining the speed of treatment between clear aligners and braces is complex because it largely depends on the extent of correction needed. Braces require an average treatment duration of 12 to 36 months, with some complex cases taking even longer to achieve optimal results.

It's important to note that clear aligners may not be suitable for severe orthodontic issues. In such cases, braces often offer faster treatment times. However, advancements in clear aligner technology have improved their effectiveness in handling challenging orthodontic problems, making the choice more nuanced.

Braces are worn continuously throughout the treatment, whereas Invisalign trays are worn for approximately 22 hours daily. It's crucial for teens undergoing Invisalign treatment to adhere diligently to wearing their aligners as instructed. 

In general, the speed of treatment is not the primary factor when choosing between metal braces and Invisalign. Your child's orthodontist can provide a more accurate estimate of the treatment duration based on their specific orthodontic needs.


Invisalign and braces are currently the top choices for orthodontic treatments. Thanks to technological advancements, orthodontists can effectively utilize both options to address mild to severe alignment issues. Therefore, the decision between Invisalign Teen vs Traditional braces often revolves around selecting the best treatment method for the patient's lifestyle.

Is Your Teenager Ready For Orthodontic Treatment?

Contact Invisalign Toronto today to schedule a consultation. New patients can call us at (647) 931-2983 while existing callers can reach us at (416) 551-4401.


How do I know if my child is a candidate for Invisalign Teen?

A consultation with an orthodontist can determine if Invisalign Teen or traditional braces are suitable based on your child's specific dental needs.

Are traditional braces more affordable than Invisalign Teen?

Generally, traditional braces are more cost-effective, but the final cost depends on the complexity of treatment and provider fees.

Do Invisalign aligners require more maintenance than traditional braces?

Both options require regular care, but Invisalign aligners should be worn for at least 22 hours a day and removed for eating and oral hygiene.

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