Navigating Your Smile Journey: Braces vs Invisalign for Adults

Jan 9, 2024 | Adults, Aligners, Braces

Welcome to Your Smile Makeover

At True North Orthodontics, we believe in empowering you with knowledge on your journey to a better smile. Whether you’re an adult exploring orthodontic treatment for the first time or revisiting it later in life, we’ve got you covered. Let’s delve into two popular options: braces and clear aligners like Invisalign. We’ll discuss their benefits, drawbacks, and costs to help you navigate your path to a healthier, more confident smile.

Braces for Adults: Strength, Efficiency, and Reliability

Fixed braces have stood the test of time, offering a robust solution to a range of dental challenges. They’re designed for strength and durability, providing dependable results even for complex dental issues. Braces are also efficient; their consistent pressure on your teeth means that they require fewer adjustments than other options and can often achieve results fast.

At True North, rather than offering traditional braces to our patients in comprehensive orthodontic treatment, we use some of the world’s sophisticated braces technology, LightForce 3D printed custom ceramic braces. These braces offer an enormous improvement over both stock ceramic and stock metal braces. LightForce braces are  custom 3D printed to fit each individual patient’s teeth. Because this treatment is a bespoke treatment, tooth movements are more accurate and makes for a more efficient process.

Drawbacks to Braces

However, even Lightforce braces come with a few caveats. Braces are more visible than other treatments and may require additional maintenance. Whether that is due to more frequent planned visits to your orthodontist for adjustments, or the high likelihood of unplanned visits due to poking wires and broken brackets, you can expect to spend more time in your orthodontist’s chair.

Another drawback to braces is comfortability. While your mouth will eventually get used to the brackets and wires rubbing against your cheeks, braces can cause some initial mouth irritation.

Brushing and flossing are also much more time intensive with fixed braces. With the oral hygiene challenges of braces, there’s a higher likelihood of developing decalcification (“white spot lesions,” early cavities) around braces than with Invisalign.

Last but not least, braces come with certain dietary challenges. To avoid braking brackets and wires, many foods need to be avoided or eaten differently in order to avoid damage to the braces.

Invisalign for Adults: Aesthetics, Comfort, and Flexibility

Embrace the future of orthodontics with Invisalign. These nearly invisible aligners offer a discreet solution, perfect for those who value aesthetics, comfort, and convenience. They’re removable, allowing you to maintain your regular eating, drinking, brushing, and flossing routines.

Invisalign treatment involves wearing a series of clear aligner trays that gradually shift teeth into their desired positions. For the majority of our patients, Dr. Hammer recommends weekly aligner changes. Patients are required to wear their aligners for 20-22 hours daily in order for the aligners to effectively move teeth to the desired positions. Braces are always bonded to your teeth, and so the desired orthodontic forces are always present. That’s a main reason why braces are effective! In order for aligners to be equally as effective, they must be worn for at least 20 hours every day.

Custom-made to fit your mouth, Invisalign aligners prioritize comfort. Their smooth plastic design minimizes irritation to your gums and cheeks.

Investing in Your Smile: Cost Comparison

Both braces and Invisalign represent an investment in your oral health. Costs vary depending on the complexity and duration of treatment.

Treatments typically cost between $4,000 and $8,000 depending on the scope and complexity of your orthodontic treatment. You may often have multiple treatment options available to you, depending on your goals for your orthodontic treatment. Dr. Hammer may discuss both limited and comprehensive treatment options with you. She and her team will work together with you to help you achieve your smile goals in a way that works for you financially as well.

Frequently Asked Questions and Additional Things to Consider

Do I want to be able to eat whatever I want during my orthodontic treatment?

If the answer is yes, clear aligner treatment like Invisalign is the better choice. No more breaking brackets on chewing gum, saltwater taffy, or corn on the cob.

A Great Orthodontist Helps You Win Your Grin

Both Invisalign and braces are effective treatments options, but the most important choice is the Orthodontist who is building your orthodontic treatment plan. In the hands of Doctor Hammer, a board certified orthodontist with significant experience in treating patients with clear aligners like Invisalign, most orthodontic problems that can be addressed with braces can be addressed with clear aligners yielding the same great results in about the same treatment time. Of course, this varies depending on a doctor’s experience and clinical preference.

How long do most adults wear Invisalign or braces?

Dr. Hammer customizes every treatment plan based on your smile needs. Dr. Hammer will let you know when you come in for your initial consultation how long she is expecting your orthodontic treatment will take. Of course, this is just an estimate. Some things you can do to make your treatment go faster are keeping your teeth clean and healthy and be very careful to not break a bracket or lose your aligners. Every broken bracket during your treatment could potentially add one extra month to your treatment time. Please also make sure to come to your scheduled appointments. If you have to move or cancel your appointment and don’t get scheduled again for three months, you can expect your treatment to be about three months longer!

Why would someone choose braces over Invisalign?

For those that would rather not have to worry about remembering to wear their aligners, braces would be the better option. The less time you spend wearing your aligners, the less effective your treatment and the longer you will have to spend to complete your treatment. As long as the patient isn’t constantly breaking brackets, they could expect an overall shorter treatment.

Also, Individuals with more complex treatment needs may be encouraged to choose braces for their orthodontic treatment.

Conclusion: Your Journey, Your Choice

Braces and Invisalign each offer unique advantages. If you’re seeking a fixed solution for complex dental problems, braces may be your best bet. Alternatively, if comfort, flexibility, and aesthetics are key for you, Invisalign could be your ideal choice.

At True North Orthodontics, your treatment plan is unique to your smile no matter the modality you chose. Both braces and Invisalign treatments begin with a 3D intraoral scan of the patient’s teeth. Using the data from the scans, we design your new smile and bite virtually. From there, either the 3D printed braces are manufactured by LightForce and sent to our office for implementation or the aligners are manufactured by Invisalign and sent to us.

Ultimately, your personal needs, lifestyle, budget, and orthodontic problems will guide your decision. At True North, we’re here to help you make the best choice for your smile. Book a free consultation with us today to start your journey towards a healthier, more confident smile.

Dr. Christine Hammer

Dr. Christine Hammer


A Duluth native, Dr. Hammer is extremely proud to be able to create beautiful smiles in her hometown community.

She attended Holy Rosary and Marshall School here in Duluth, is a graduate of the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, and completed both her dental school education and orthodontic residency at the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry. Dr. Hammer has practiced orthodontics in Duluth since graduating residency in 2015. She completed the rigorous process of board certification through the American Board of Orthodontics, holding herself to the highest standard to be able to provide the best results to her patients.

Dr. Hammer lives in Duluth with her husband, Kyle, and their three children – Ben, Stella and Luke (and their furry Goldendoodle child, Murphy). She enjoys long distance running, days at the cabin and downhill skiing. She can’t wait to meet you and help you achieve your best smile at True North Orthodontics!