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Should My Teen Get Braces or Invisalign?

As a parent, you want the best for your child, including a beautiful, healthy smile. But when it comes to orthodontic treatment, you may be wondering whether traditional braces or Invisalign is the better option for your teen.

Both braces and Invisalign can effectively straighten teeth, but they have their own unique features and benefits. In this article, we’ll explore the differences between teen braces and Invisalign and help you make an informed decision for your child’s orthodontic treatment.

The Basics of Braces and Invisalign

Before we dive into the specifics, let’s go over the basics of braces and Invisalign.

Braces for Teens

Braces are the traditional method of orthodontic treatment. They consist of metal or ceramic brackets that are bonded to the teeth and connected by wires and rubber bands. The wires are periodically tightened to gradually shift the teeth into the desired position.

Braces are typically worn for 1-3 years, depending on the severity of the misalignment. During this time, your teen will need to visit the orthodontist every 4-6 weeks for adjustments.

Invisalign for Teens

Invisalign is a newer alternative to braces that uses a series of clear, removable aligners to straighten teeth. These aligners are custom-made for each patient and are worn for 20-22 hours a day, with the patient switching to a new set of aligners every 1-2 weeks.

Invisalign treatment typically takes 6-18 months, depending on the complexity of the case. Your teen will need to visit the orthodontist every 6-8 weeks to check on their progress and receive new aligners.


One of the main concerns for teens when it comes to orthodontic treatment is appearance. Let’s take a look at how braces and Invisalign compare in this aspect.


Braces are noticeable and can sometimes be seen as a “rite of passage” for teenagers. While traditional metal braces are still the most common type, there are also ceramic braces available that are less noticeable. However, they are still more noticeable than Invisalign.


Invisalign aligners are virtually invisible, making them a popular choice for teens who are self-conscious about their appearance. They are made of clear plastic and fit snugly over the teeth, making them almost undetectable.


Another important factor to consider is the comfort of the orthodontic treatment.


Braces can cause discomfort and irritation, especially in the first few weeks of treatment. The brackets and wires can rub against the inside of the mouth, causing sores and discomfort. Additionally, the tightening of the wires can cause some discomfort as the teeth shift.


Invisalign aligners are made of smooth plastic and are custom-made to fit your teen’s teeth comfortably. While there may be some initial discomfort as they get used to wearing the aligners, it is generally less than that of braces.


Both braces and Invisalign require some maintenance to keep them clean and effective.


Braces require extra care when it comes to brushing and flossing. Food particles can easily get stuck in the brackets and wires, leading to plaque buildup and potential tooth decay. Your teen will need to brush after every meal and use special tools, such as floss threaders, to properly clean between the wires and teeth.


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Invisalign aligners are removable, making it easier to maintain good oral hygiene. Your teen can simply remove the aligners to brush and floss their teeth as they normally would. However, the aligners themselves need to be cleaned regularly with a special cleaning solution or with a toothbrush and toothpaste.


Ultimately, the most important factor to consider is the effectiveness of the treatment.


Braces are highly effective in correcting a wide range of orthodontic issues, including severe misalignment, overcrowding, and bite problems. They are also able to make more precise adjustments, making them a better option for complex cases.


Invisalign is also effective in correcting many orthodontic issues, but it may not be suitable for more severe cases. Invisalign aligners are not able to make as precise adjustments as braces, so they may not be the best option for complex cases.


Cost is often a major consideration when it comes to orthodontic treatment. Let’s take a look at how braces and Invisalign compare in terms of cost.


The cost of braces can vary depending on the type of braces and the length of treatment. On average, traditional metal braces can cost between $3,000-$7,000, while ceramic braces can cost between $4,000-$8,000.


Invisalign treatment can also vary in cost, but it is generally more expensive than braces. The average cost of Invisalign for teens is between $3,000-$8,000.

Which Is Right for My Teen?

Ultimately, the decision between braces and Invisalign will depend on your teen’s specific orthodontic needs and preferences. It’s important to consult with an orthodontist to determine the best course of treatment for your child.

However, here are some general guidelines to consider:

  • Braces may be a better option for more complex cases or for teens who are not responsible enough to wear and care for Invisalign aligners properly.
  • Invisalign may be a better option for teens who are self-conscious about their appearance or who play sports or musical instruments that may be affected by braces.
  • Invisalign may also be a better option for teens who are responsible and can commit to wearing the aligners for the recommended 20-22 hours a day.

Weigh The Pros and Cons

Both braces and Invisalign can effectively straighten teeth and improve your teen’s smile. It’s important to weigh the pros and cons of each option and consult with an orthodontist to determine the best course of treatment for your child.

With the right orthodontic treatment, your teen can achieve a beautiful, healthy smile that will last a lifetime.