Is Invisalign Faster than Braces?

Limestone Hills Orthodontics
November 2, 2023

Rodrigo F. Viecilli, DDS, PhD

Orthodontist Austin TX

Is Invisalign faster than braces?

Rodrigo F. Viecilli, DDS, PhD

Orthodontist Austin TX

Orthodontic treatment is a pivotal step in achieving a healthy, beautiful smile. This article aims to answer all your questions about speed with each modality, and the answers are valid for anywhere, even Austin TX. A key question most patients ask is “Invisalign vs Braces which is faster?.

Clear aligners are a type of aesthetic appliances, just like ceramic braces, but are made of plastic that completely surround the teeth in 3d and are typically independent of wires and more recommended for adults. Our advice: “Is invisalign faster than braces” is not the only question you should ask yourself when choosing between one and the other. We wrote a blog scientifically reviewing how Invisalign (clear braces aligners) works vs traditional braces and what is more effective here.

Both orthodontic care options aim to straighten teeth, correct malocclusions and enhance bite position. However, both orthodontic care and their methods vary significantly, leading to different treatment options, durations and experiences for patients.

This comprehensive guide from orthodontic doctors will have patients delve into the intricacies of each method, comparing their differences, exploring factors that affect time, payment options and providing insights into which modality might be faster.

Understanding Orthodontics and its Modalities

Orthodontics primarily focuses on aligning and straightening teeth using braces or clear trays like Invisalign. The ultimate goal isn’t just about achieving a perfect smile; it’s also about improving oral health, especially in adults in our office. Straight teeth contribute to healthier gums, improved oral hygiene, clearer speech, and better chewing functionality.

Aesthetics is a priority to adult patients as there is a stigma of metal braces being associated with teenagers, so clear braces options such as Invisalign, lingual or ceramic braces come into play.

Factors That Affect Orthodontics Time

Several factors can influence the duration of orthodontic care, regardless of whether braces or clear trays are chosen.

Complexity of the Case: Orthodontic problems vary from minor tooth misalignment to severe malocclusion. Naturally, more complex cases require a longer therapeutic period. Complexities include severe crowding or spacing, crooked teeth, large overbite or underbite, and the need for teeth extraction or surgeries to compensate for excessive crowding or camouflage jaw discrepancies.

Patient Compliance: The success and speed of orthodontic care heavily depend on patient cooperation with orthodontic care. This includes patients adhering to the doctor’s instructions, maintaining good oral hygiene, wearing appliances as the doctor instructed (especially important for clear tray users), and attending regular check-ups.

Biggest Challenge for Aligner Therapy

The biggest challenge even for the most educated Dr is the non-compliant patient that mostly misses appointments often, does not wear the aligners as prescribed, then questions the type of plan itself and the competency of the Dr. That is a universal problem, not just one here in Austin TX. These are not good candidates for clear aligner therapeutics, and we have to be clear with them and propose a switch to brackets or interruption of the process.

These are challenges of any Invisalign provider, but here at Limestone Hills Orthodontics, we only accept patients that believe in the science and trust our treatment plan. If treating yourself were a good option, companies like Smiledirectclub would not be trending into falling into bankruptcy.

We can detect patients that are not compliant and will recommend brackets or a practice that are a better fit if we can’t get you to follow the principles to take you to your best smile.

Trusting and respecting your providers recommendations and coming to your prescribed appointments is the number one factor for speeding up your finish.

Regular Dental Check-ups are ESSENTIAL: Regular appointments allow us to monitor therapeutic progress and make necessary adjustments throughout. Skipping or delaying these appointments can prolong the planned schedule and duration, especially in clear tray patients. The clear trays can deliver a variety of forces to the teeth and their response has to be determined to be in sync with the biological/genetic characteristics of the individual and pattern of wear. Wear Protocol may Change Every Visit

Wear Protocol May Change Every Visit

The doctor will examine you in every appointment and make changes to your protocol as needed. Aligner shapes getting out of sync with actual tooth movements are like a train derailing from the track. Following up with your appointment and being consistent and honest about your aligner wear is ESSENTIAL to the success and optimizing the speed of your aligner treatment. Austin invisalign is no different than Tokyo Invisalign, but the cooperation level may be different, and regular visits are essential to optimizing the invisalign system outcomes, especially in Invisalign teen for your child or kids, when the cooperation factor is even more of a question mark.

Traditional Metal Braces: An Overview

Traditional braces have been a staple in orthodontics for decades. They consist of traditional brackets, attached to the teeth, connected by an archwire. The archwire applies continuous pressure on the teeth, causing them put stresses on the blood irrigated periodontal ligament between the tooth and the bone and attract bone modeling cells to move gradually over time.

It takes a lot more time for the cells, called osteoclasts, to arrive and start working to remove bone to allow teeth to move than for them to detach from the bone and leave. This is where brackets and wires have an advantage over clear trays: they provide the opportunity to continuous stimulus, but don’t be fooled, this also needs monitoring and continuous upgrade of wire and tooth movements in different dimensions.

There are different types of appliances combined with wires: traditional brackets, ceramic brackets that blend with the tooth color, metal and coated wires, and lingual brackets that are placed on the inner surface of the teeth.

The entire process of getting appliances attached to your teeth involves several steps. First, the clinician cleans and dries your teeth with al oil free substance. Then, the teeth are etched with an acid to become more porous and develop small cylindrical long holes for the glue to penetrate.

Then, a very low viscosity bonding glue is applied to your teeth to fill those long holes, followed by a strong higher viscosity composite glue that determines the strength of the bond. It has to be cured by a special blue light, the brackets are attached.

Lack of contamination with saliva is crucial to improving the success of the procedure. Finally, the archwire is threaded through the brackets. A similar procedure is done to bond composite Invisalign attachments (accessories to make the teeth move more effectively through a better grip between the aligner and teeth).

Adjustment appointments are typically scheduled every 4 to 8 weeks. During these appointments, the orthodontist may tighten the archwire or replace worn-out o-ties (the little colored o-rings around the brackets).

These adjustments apply more pressure on the teeth, aiding their movement10. Sometimes the force of the o-ties are lot enough and the orthodontics staff will have to tie the brackets to the archwire with tiny stainless steel wires. These are standards for any orthodontist trained by a program accredited by the American Association of Orthodontists.

On average in adults and kids, in our practice people wear brackets for around 18 to 24 months. However, some cases in adults and children might require up to three years or more.

Invisalign treatment: A Modern Alternative

Invisalign is a newer, more aesthetic alternative to the dentists’ traditional brackets. The benefits of Invisalign are typically more appropriate and convenient for adults because they pay for their care and have more motivation to be compliant. This choice uses a series of transparent, custom-made clear trays to gradually shift your teeth into the dentist’ desired position.

Is Invisalign Truly Invisible Like Marketing Makes it to Be?

Unlike popular opinion, Invisalign, despite the deceitful name, is not invisible, and depends heavily in many cases on attachments made of composite that add texture to the clear trays. They may not look as invisible as you think. Invisalign patients are typically pickier about aesthetics and have sometimes an unrealistic view based on the marketing they see on the web or magazines. It is meant to sell, not to work.

Sometimes, for very mild situations, we can avoid attachments on the front teeth. An orthodontist that understands the biomechanics and physics of tooth movement more deeply may be able to make an informed decision more accurately than a dentist.

The orthodontic work process starts with a free consultation office visit, where the orthodontist and team examines your teeth and discusses your goals. If you’re a suitable candidate, the orthodontist and team takes digital scans or impressions (molds) of your teeth to create a precise 3D architectural dental plan. This plan outlines the expected movement of your teeth and the estimated treatment duration.

Unlike traditional brackets and wires, to wear braces is a fixed decision, while Invisalign trays are removable, making it easier to maintain oral hygiene and eat comfortably. However, for effective execution, the removable trays must be worn for 20-22 hours daily.

Regular check-ups occur every 6 to 12 weeks, where the orthodontist assesses progress and your bite and provides the next set of aligners, which will be more invisible unlike the older ones. The average duration of treatment with Invisalign aligners is typically shorter than traditional brackets and wires, ranging from 4 to 30 months.


Comparing Traditional Braces+Wires and Clear Aligners

While both aim to improve dental aesthetics and functionality and their differences can influence total finish time here in Austin texas just like anywhere else. Braces can be custom made by orthodontists just like Invisalign, but are more often based on averages and their individuality to your case depends on the skills of the orthodontist– that’s why most dentists don’t offer brackets and wires as an option.

Retreatment with Brackets+Wires

Some orthodontists may say “I told you so”- and if Invisalign fails for you, you may have to pay for a visit again for traditional appliances again with many orthodontists

We face that situation often in our practice and it happens because there is often not enough discussion between the patient and the doctor about all the aspects described in this article in their previous treatment in another office. 

But the good news is, if you start your orthodontics with us at Limestone Hills Orthodontics and your plan with aligners fails, we switch to you traditional brackets and wires for FREE. Yes, totally free. You already possibly paid extra and just a few metal brackets won’t break the bank for us. We’d rather see you leave happy and leave us an amazing review!

Here at Limestone Hills Orthodontics in Austin, Dr. Viecilli wants everyone to be happy with their smile, although that is no easy feat. We want every patient to meet the standards of the American Board of Orthodontists.

So, if aligners end up not working for you, we will finish you with metal brackets and wires for FREE. Isn’t that amazing? To our knowledge, no professional does that here in Austin. 

Dr. Viecilli wants to be proud of every work that goes is finished in our practice, being it for children or adults and we all work as a team to achieve that.

Patient Compliance: Austin Invisalign heavily relies on patient compliance just like anywhere else. Clear trays are great but it only works to perfect your smile with the aligners in your mouth, not in your pocket or purse, or forgotten at home.

Failing to have people wear the aligners for the recommended hours can slow down progress significantly. On the other hand, brackets are glued onto the teeth, so their success isn’t as dependent on strict patient adherence. Although leaving a smaller size archwire on for months can delay treatment as well.

Complexity of Dental Issues: The Invisalign system is ideal for correcting mild to moderate dental misalignments. However, for complex cases involving severe rotation or vertical movement of teeth, traditional bracckets and wires may be more effective.

Also, for early treatment with multiple jaw and bite issues, Invisalign Teen may not be the best option if you are looking for a fast treatment and not to attend the office for years.

Lifestyle Considerations: Traditional brackets and wires require dietary adjustments to avoid damaging the wires and brackets. Foods that are hard, sticky, or chewy are typically off-limits. Clear trays are removable, so there are no dietary restrictions, but they require discipline to ensure they’re worn enough each day20. Breakage and emergencies or irritations are more common with brackets than removable aligners if a patient is not compliant with the dietary restrictions.

Aesthetics: Some people prefer Invisalign due to its near-invisibility, and that is common in Austin TX just like anywhere else in the world. Brackets, particularly metal ones, are more noticeable, but newer versions clear brackets like our self-ligating, never staining amazing GC Orthodontics mini brackets or lingual appliances are less conspicuous21.

So, is Invisalign Faster than Braces?

Given compliance is equal, in simple cases, Invisalign works with quicker results than traditional brackets because all tooth movements in all dimensions can be obtained simultaneously. You can align teeth, close spaces and extrude or intrude them simultaneously with a tight fit between the appliance and the teeth. Brackets need a process of building up the wires, which, although may be more precise, takes more time, but is also less dependent on patient compliance since it’s a fixed appliance. Therefore, the fastest option to your new smile will depend on the specifics of your dental condition and cooperation.

What about children?

It’s important to note that while traditional brackets and wires may offer a quicker route to oral health and straight teeth in some cases, the success of orthodontic vs invisalign treatment shouldn’t be measured in speed alone. The goal is effective and safe early orthodontic treatment leading to a healthier, more beautiful smile while keeping the self-confidence of the child. If a child is being bullied, we will do our best to straighten their teeth while making them look the best. Make sure to have a team that will answer questions and make you comfortable to achieve your best smile. Here at LH Orthodontics, we consider all aspects and discuss them with you openly. The ideal patient for us has an open mind and works with us to accept the science conflict with popular opinion, and the super educated doctor is the middleman to facilitate your inner peace between those two. Dr. Viecilli has got you covered.


Choosing your option between traditional brackets and wires and clear aligners isn’t a decision to make lightly. It’s essential to choose a welcoming office with a friendly staff and an accommodating schedule that is not too busy, and an American Board of Orthodontics certified specialist with outstanding knowledge great experience for your consultation. Use your free consultation visit or virtual consultation to discuss your options with your Dr. here in Austin Texas to determine which treatment best suits your needs, lifestyle, and dental health. Schedule your appointment with an excellent professional with great experience treating both adults and kids here and LH Orthodontics by clicking here.

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You’ll love our beautifully relaxing office almost as much as you’ll love your final results. Experience just how relaxing the care of a top contender for best orthodontist in Austin can be — make a telephone call or schedule your free consultation directly on our website to get started.