Person wearing Invisalign aligner and person wearing traditional braces

Invisalign Aligners or Traditional Braces? Find Out Which is Best For You. 

You’ve finally decide to take the plunge and straighten your teeth. But will Invisalign aligners or traditional braces give you the best experience and result? Don’t worry, at Coatbridge Family Dental Care we’re here to help. Read on to find out all the facts about both to help you to make your decision.

If you’d like to read a patient’s experience of Invisalign check out Gillian Cowie’s guest blog.

What are traditional braces?


Traditional braces in the 2020’s haven’t changed all that much from the ones I wore as a child 30 years ago. Orthodontists still bond metal brackets a to your teeth, with a wire which passes through them. Your orthodontist changes the wire every 4 weeks or so, moving your teeth into their new positions.


I can still remember the day my dentist told me I needed braces, way back in 1992. At the time it was pretty straightforward. He referred me to the NHS orthodontist at the local hospital and after a year or so on the waiting list I duly turned up for my fitting. At the end of my hour-long appointment I left with a pretty uncomfortable mouth full of metal!


There was no mention of tooth-coloured braces, invisible braces or Invisalign ­– in the 90’s metal ‘train track’ braces were a teenager’s badge of honour. If you were lucky you could pick the colour of the elastic rings that held the wire onto your brackets. But in all honesty all that really did was make you look like you had bits of food stuck between your teeth!

Making traditional braces look better


In the late 80’s, orthodontic companies started developing ceramic brackets, which are nowadays much more readily available. Ceramic brackets are tooth-coloured or clear, and in combination with tooth-coloured wires, this means you can have traditional braces which are much more discreet when you smile. The brackets and wire blend in with the colour of your teeth.


For children, there also seems have been a move towards renaming traditional braces, ‘Coloured braces’, to increase their appeal. And there are numerous Tiktok videos explaining which colour of rings you should wear to make your teeth look whiter and which ones to avoid if you don’t want your teeth to look yellow. When I did my training in orthodontics in Glasgow, the kids were less concerned about what they looked like and more concerned about which football team they supported. We went through a lot of blue and green elastic rings!

Women with traditional metal braces
Tooth-coloured braces
Coloured braces
Woman inserting Invisalign Aligner

What is Invisalign?


Invisalign works by straightening your teeth using a series of clear aligners. These fit over your teeth, a little bit like a mouthguard, but are thinner and much more comfortable.


The Invisalign aligners are almost invisible, contain no metal and are made from a smooth, BPA-free Smart Track material. Smart Track is non-irritant, comfortable to wear and makes the aligners easy to put in and take out.


Invisalign use 3D scans of your mouth to print a series of aligners that fit your mouth exactly. These aligners will move your teeth gradually into their new positions to create your new smile. This is how Invisalign can straighten your smile.

Is Invisalign more expensive than traditional braces?


Interestingly, the cost of Invisalign and traditional braces for adults is very similar.


Traditional braces are available for free on the NHS for some children under the age of 18. Back in the day, all children were entitled to free braces but over time the NHS has become much stricter about how bad your teeth have to be for them to pay for it. We find many of our patients are young adults who didn’t meet the criteria for free NHS braces as children but now that they’re older really want to do something to improve their smile.


Traditional braces for adults are usually priced between £2500 and £3500, with the more discreet ceramic/clear brackets increasing the price by about £500 to £750. For children metal braces are around £1800, with ceramic/clear brackets an additional £200.


At Coatbridge Family Dental Care we offer two Invisalign options:

Invisalign Go

Cost: £2705

Monthly Payment: £112.72

This includes 14 aligners to treat moderate cases of spacing and crowding.


Dental Monitoring Personal Scanner (find out more about this later)

Three sets of genuine Invisalign Vivera Retainers

Free Teeth whitening included

Invisalign Go Plus

Cost: £3205

Monthly Payment: £133.56

This includes an unlimited amount of aligners to treat complex cases of crowding, spacing and uneven smiles.


Dental Monitoring Personal Scanner (find out more about this later)

Three sets of genuine Invisalign Vivera Retainers

Free Teeth whitening included

Which is faster: Invisalign or traditional braces?


Invisalign Go and Go Plus are faster than traditional braces. Our patients love the fact we can straighten their teeth in as little as four months.


Traditional braces, whether metal or tooth coloured, usually take much longer, between one to two years.


Invisalign Go and Go Plus are quicker as they focus on the appearance of your front teeth. This is good if you are keen to improve the way your smile looks with minimal treatment time.


Traditional braces will move all of your teeth, ensuring they are fully aligned and correcting your bite at the back, as well as the front of your mouth.


Although you can take out your Invisalign aligners, it is important that you wear them for as long as possible every day, ideally for 20-22 hours a day. This will make sure your treatment takes the least amount of time. Wearing them for less time than this means that treatment will take longer.


Because you can’t remove traditional braces, there is no risk that treatment time will be increased because you are not wearing them.

Which gives the best results: Invisalign or traditional braces?


Both invisalign and traditional braces give fantastic results and our patients are always delighted with their new smiles.


If you’re looking for a straight smile in as short a time as possible, then Invisalign will give you the best result.


If your bite or the position of your teeth is more complex then it may be that traditional braces will give you a better outcome.


Because Invisalign uses digital software to plan your treatment, you can see what your end result will look like before you start treatment. This means that with Invisalign you can be confident the end result is exactly the smile you’re looking for.


Here’s some of our favourite Invisalign smiles.

Before and after Invisalign
Invisalign before and after
Invisalign before and after
Invisalign before and after
Invisalign before and after
Patient finishing invisalign
Patient after Invisalign
Invisalign bride

Which looks better: Invisalign or traditional braces?


Invisalign is the most discreet way of straightening your teeth on the market. It’s ideal for self-conscious teenagers and adults who don’t want everyone to know they are having treatment.


Having said that, developments in ceramic braces mean that if you do need more complex treatment, you now have the option of your braces being metal free and their appearance being less obvious than in the past .

Which is more comfortable to wear?


Whichever way you move teeth, there can be a little discomfort involved.


With Invisalign there tends to be less pressure on the teeth. Invisalign aligners are also smooth and well-fitting and without the rough edges and wires that can sometimes be uncomfortable with traditional braces.

Which is easier to clean?


Because you can remove your Invisalign aligners, it is easier to brush and floss your teeth than when you are wearing traditional braces. You do need to clean your aligners  separately, however, and it is important that your teeth are cleaned before you put your aligners in, particularly after eating.


With traditional braces, although brushing and flossing can be more time-consuming, because the braces are not removed there’s no need to clean them separately.


With any tooth straightening treatment it is vital that you keep your teeth as clean as possible, this will ensure your teeth are not damaged by the treatment and your gums stay healthy.

Cleaning traditional braces with interdental brush
Foods to avoid with traditional braces

Can I eat with them in?


Traditional braces are fixed onto your teeth, so they are not removed at all. This means that you can eat with them in. You will find, however, that there are some foods, particularly hard or sticky foods (like the ones pictured opposite), you will need to avoid to prevent damage to your brace.


Invisalign aligners are worn for 20-22 hours a day and should be removed for eating and drinking. This means that you are free to eat whatever you want.

You do, however have to remember to brush your teeth before you put your aligners back in.

Do I have to go to the dentist all the time?


Because your Invisalign aligners are digitally designed, most of the orthodontist work happens before you start your treatment, this means that your visits to the dentist are less frequent and shorter than with traditional braces.


At Coatbridge Family Dental Care we’ve also invested in brand new digital artificial intelligence tech from Dental Monitoring. This allows us to remotely monitor your Invisalign treatment, meaning less visits to the practice for you.

Patient using dental monitoring, remote monitoring for invisalign
Dental monitoring scanbox

Will I have to wear retainers?


No matter how you have your teeth straightened, keeping your new smile is really important. Your dentist will make you a set of retainers to wear to keep your teeth in their new positions.

For our Invisalign patients we provide three sets of genuine Invisalign Vivera retainers which will keep your smile exactly how you like it. By giving you three this means you have one to use, one for spare and one for your toilet bag!

Invisalign aligners vs traditional braces. The verdict


Both Invisalign aligners and traditional braces can successfully straighten your teeth and improve your smile, chewing and speech. Straightening your teeth can also make your teeth easier to clean, reducing gum disease and tooth decay.


Weighing up the pros and cons we’ve explained here and discussing your options with your dentist will help you to decide which treatment will best suit you.


If you’d like to find out more and discuss all the options available call our team on 01234 421103 or contact us to arrange a free consultation.




Invisalign vs Traditional Braces? Which is Best For You

“The result is nothing but amazing and I feel so much happier and confident when I smile and speak to people.”


Invisalign Patient


Blog post written on 28th February 2022

(Please note prices and information are correct at time of publishing and may be subject to change. Please contact us on 01236 421103 or for the most up-to-date pricing and information)