Are Braces or Invisalign Better for My Smile?

Orthodontic treatment is an investment of your time and finances, and we want you to have all the information you need to make the best choice for your oral health. Patients often wonder “Are braces or Invisalign better for my smile?” That’s why Foley Orthodontics is proud to offer free consultations to anyone interested in improving their smile! When you schedule a visit with our Cary, NC office, our expert team will listen to any concerns you have and cover a wide range of important orthodontic topics. These include:

  • how our expert team can transform your smile
  • any available payment options
  • which treatment option will be the best fit for your needs

Dr. Foley offers a wide range of affordable treatments for every budget and any age. Traditional braces and Invisalign clear aligners are the ones we use most often, so it can be helpful to understand the basics of both when you’re exploring your options. To see how they stack up against each other, keep reading below!


Traditional metal braces have been around for hundreds of years in one form or another. They have a long track record of successfully correcting a variety of orthodontic issues from simple to complex. When braces are placed, Dr. Foley will affix small brackets to the front surface of the teeth. These work together with a flexible wire and tiny rubber bands to move your teeth into the desired positions over time.

Traditional metal braces

Traditional braces tend to be the most cost-effective option and are particularly effective at treating more serious issues. While the total treatment time will always vary from case to case, the average patient generally spends anywhere from 18-22 months in braces. This could be longer or shorter for you, of course, depending on your unique smile needs!

Clear braces

Sometimes referred to as clear bracestooth-colored braces, or aesthetic bracesceramic braces function in much the same way metal braces do, with the added benefit of semi-translucent or tooth-colored ceramic brackets. While ceramic braces are about the same size and shape as metal braces, they’re better able to blend in with a patient’s natural smile for a more subtle straightening option.

Lingual braces

InBrace lingual braces are a great option for patients who want a more subtle way to straighten their smiles. Since the brackets are placed on the back of the teeth, they’re completely unnoticeable! These braces are 100% customized to each patient, so they can straighten teeth quickly and efficiently.

Whatever types of braces you choose can come with a bit of a learning curve, especially when it comes to your oral hygiene routine. It can take time to learn how to brush and floss effectively around the brackets and wires. However, it’ll become second nature with a little patience and practice! There are also a variety of accessories designed to make oral hygiene easier for braces patients, like water piks to help rinse hard-to-reach places and ortho picks for braces-specific flossing.

Food restrictions may not be fun, but they are an important part of maintaining your smile while you’re in braces. That means avoiding anything that can damage them, including crunchy or sticky snacks like raw apples, popcorn, chips, and certain kinds of candy. While this can be frustrating at times, it will all be worth it once your braces come off and you see your beautiful new smile for the first time!

Patients in traditional braces can expect follow-up visits in our office every 6-8 weeks or so. Dr. Foley will use this time to ensure everything is progressing as it should be and change the bands attached to the brackets. He may choose to replace the wire during these visits as well. These adjustment appointments generally last an hour or less, but they’re an essential part of the treatment process, and missing them can slow progress down and may affect the final results.

Invisalign clear aligners

Invisalign is currently the most popular alternative to traditional braces and it isn’t hard to see why! Since the aligners are both clear and removable, there are no brackets and wires to adjust to, giving patients an extra measure of freedom and flexibility. These customized trays are made of Invisalign’s SmartTrack material, a smooth plastic that is designed to be comfortable, durable, and nearly invisible.

Invisalign clear aligners are less invasive than traditional braces. They’re customized to fit over each patient’s teeth, which guarantees a snug fit that won’t irritate the gums or cheeks the way braces sometimes can. Treatment time with Invisalign is still dependent on your specific needs, but the average is often slightly shorter than braces at around 12-18 months.

Treatment time also depends on how compliant a patient is—the aligners need to be worn for at least 20-22 hours each day throughout the treatment process to ensure they work correctly. They also need to be switched out for the next in the series every 1-2 weeks to keep up with the movements your teeth are making.

Because 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 there are no food restrictions. Aligners are also removed before brushing and flossing, which makes dental hygiene a much quicker process.

Invisalign patients can also expect regular follow-ups with Dr. Foley. Skipping these appointments or missing scheduled aligner changes can quickly undo any progress made in treatment, so it’s important to prioritize them.

Find the best treatment for your smile with Foley Orthodontics

Braces and Invisalign aligners are our most popular treatments for a reason! They’re both capable of producing exceptional results for patients of all ages. But you won’t have to decide which one to choose all on your own!

Dr. Foley will only ever recommend the treatment he believes will be the best fit for your specific needs. His customized treatment plans are built around your unique smile, lifestyle, and goals. This approach guarantees a beautifully aligned smile that feels as good as it looks!

Are you ready to explore the treatment options Foley Orthodontics has available for a stronger, healthier smile? Get in touch today to schedule your FREE consultation with Dr. Foley in our Cary office and take the first step towards the confident smile you deserve!