Invisalign vs Traditional Braces Chicago, IL

When it comes to straightening your teeth, there are more options on the market now than ever. Two of the most popular options are Invisalign® and traditional braces. While neither is definitively better than the other, both have their own set of pros and cons.

Invisalign and traditional braces are available at West Loop Smile Studio in Chicago and the surrounding area. We can help provide you with the best treatment for your unique case. Call us today at (312) 248-7416 to schedule an appointment or learn more about our services.

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      Major Differences

      When considering Invisalign and traditional braces, patients should first realize that no one treatment is better than the other. The right treatment will vary on a case-by-case basis. The first step to determining what is best for a patient is an accurate diagnosis. From then on, West Loop Smile Studio can consider the patient’s treatment process goals, the patient’s lifestyle needs, and more.

      The main distinguishing factor between Invisalign and traditional braces is visibility. Invisalign is a more discreet option, while traditional braces will remain evident in the patient’s mouth. Additionally, Invisalign trays are removable, while traditional braces will remain attached to the patient’s teeth. Consequently, patients with traditional braces may need to make some dietary changes during their treatment. In any case, both Invisalign and traditional braces will require patients to maintain a consistent oral hygiene routine and wear retainers after completion.

      “When considering Invisalign and traditional braces, patients should first realize that no one treatment is better than the other.”

      Treatment Time

      Though overall treatment time with Invisalign depends on the severity of the condition, most patients complete treatment within 10 to 24 months. However, patients with more misaligned bites or crooked teeth will likely need to wear their aligners for a more extended period. Some may also require further, smaller refinements for a few months after completing treatment. On the other hand, adults who had braces as children may complete treatment in around 10 weeks.

      Similarly, treatment time with traditional braces will depend on various factors. These include the severity of the patient’s case, the amount of room inside their mouth, and how far their teeth must travel. It is also essential to consider how healthy the patient’s teeth, gums, and supporting bone are. On average, however, braces will typically remain in place for one to three years. In both cases, patients may extend their treatment time by not following instructions closely.

      “…patients may extend their treatment time by not following instructions closely.”


      According to at least one meta-analysis, patients prefer clear aligners like Invisalign over metal braces for their discreet nature, comfort, and ease of maintaining oral hygiene. Multiple studies in the meta-analysis also found that patients tended to have a shorter treatment time with Invisalign than with traditional braces.

      However, it is crucial to note that Invisalign lacks the precision of traditional braces, making them better suited for patients with less severe orthodontic issues. While clear aligners are an overall effective means of addressing malocclusion, traditional braces can more significantly shift the teeth and jaw. At West Loop Smile Studio, we take all the necessary steps to provide our patients with the most effective, personalized treatment possible.

      “How effective are Invisalign and traditional braces?”

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      As stated by Healthline, patients should keep their Invisalign trays in their mouth for 20 to 22 hours per day. These trays should only be removed for eating, drinking anything that is not clear water, or performing their oral hygiene routines. Since Invisalign trays do not involve any wires or brackets, the treatment itself does not necessitate any dietary changes. However, patients should still brush their teeth before putting their aligners back on to prevent staining.

      On the other hand, patients will need to adjust their diets while wearing braces. This is because the brackets are sensitive to damage, and patients must take care not to cause them to separate from the tooth. Thus, it is necessary to avoid any foods that are too hard, sticky, or chewy, such as popcorn, chewing gum, hard crackers, and more. It is also essential to limit sugary foods and drinks, as the combination of sugar and saliva may lead to an excess of plaque that is hard to remove.

      “What can I eat when I have braces?”


      For many patients, one of the major selling points of Invisalign is its virtually invisible nature. Unlike traditional braces, they do not draw any attention to the teeth — making them appealing to teens, especially for senior pictures. Invisalign trays are also removable, which can come in handy for contact sports.

      While Invisalign is a more discreet option to traditional braces, traditional braces can shift the teeth and jaw more precisely. On the other hand, Invisalign allows for less demineralization and root resorption than traditional braces — making patients less prone to discoloring or tooth shortening. In any case, all orthodontic devices have the potential to close any wide gaps between the teeth, straighten crooked teeth, and align the teeth tips.

      “…all orthodontic devices have the potential to close any wide gaps between the teeth, straighten crooked teeth, and align the teeth tips.”

      Frequently Asked Questions

      Q. What is Invisalign made of?

      A. Invisalign trays are composed of a patented thermoplastic material called SmartTrack®. They are BPA-, BPS-, latex-, and gluten-free. They have also been FDA-approved for safe use.

      Q. How often will my Invisalign trays need to be changed?

      A. It depends on your specific case. However, most patients require a change every one or two weeks. West Loop Smile Studio can help you get a better idea of what to expect during a one-on-one consultation.

      Q. How often will I need to see my orthodontist while I have Invisalign?

      A. Patients with Invisalign will still need to make regular trips to the orthodontist during their treatment. These visits will typically occur once every five to six weeks. In general, patients with Invisalign will need to see the orthodontist less than patients with traditional braces.

      Q. What are traditional braces composed of?

      A. Traditional braces are composed of brackets, bands, archwires, spacers, ties, buccal tubes, and ligatures. The brackets hold the archwires that move the teeth, while the bands wrap around the tooth to anchor the brackets. West Loop Smile Studio will also fit spacers between your teeth to make room for the bands.

      Q. How often will I need to get my braces tightened?

      A. The answer varies on a case-by-case basis. However, most patients need to get their braces tightened every six weeks. Speaking to West Loop Smile Studio may give you a better idea of what to expect.

      Q. Do I still need to visit my dentist while wearing braces?

      A. Yes. It is important to be especially diligent about your oral hygiene while completing orthodontic treatment, as such routines become harder to maintain with traditional braces.

      Quality Dental Services Can Transform Your Smile

      By visiting us as soon as possible, our team can help get you the professional treatment you need. Instead of waiting around and allowing the symptoms to get worse, we can provide you with treatment options.

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      Invisalign® Terminology

      Aligner Trays
      With Invisalign® treatment, the patient will receive a series of aligner trays and swap out each one for the next one in the series every two weeks in order to gradually straighten the teeth.
      Blue Compliance Indicator (Invisalign® Teen)
      The blue compliance indicator is a small blue dot on the aligners that will fade from blue to clear in order to indicate if the patient is wearing the aligner for the proper amount of time and where the patient is in the Invisalign® process.
      ClinCheck® Software
      ClinCheck® software allows professionals to map out the straightening process the patient’s teeth will go through with Invisalign® in great detail.
      Gum Line
      The gum line is the line in the mouth where the teeth and gums meet. If a patient struggles with gum recession, then the gum tissue around the teeth may begin to wear away.
      Incisal Ridges
      Incisal ridges are the portion of the crown of the tooth that makes up the incisal portion and can be a direct cause of overbite if they are extended too far.
      iTero Element® Scanner
      An iTero Element® scanner allows professionals to create a 3D image of the patient’s teeth in minutes and predict what it will take to move the teeth into proper alignment.
      Malocclusion is the condition in which the upper and lower teeth do not meet properly when the bite is closed. Conditions of malocclusion can include overbite, underbite, crossbite and open bite; all of which are treatable with Invisalign®.
      An overbite is a type of malocclusion that occurs when the upper teeth jut out over the lower teeth, covering them and causing other issues.
      Polyurethane Resin
      Polyurethane Resin is a USP Class VI medical grade, high molecular weight compound that makes up the Invisalign® aligners.
      SmartForce Attachments
      SmartForce attachments are small attachments that professionals place on the patient’s teeth before placing aligners to help move the teeth.
      Smart Track® Material
      Smart Track® material is in Invisalign® aligners to increase comfort, improve control of movement, increases the speed of treatment and applies a gentle force to the teeth over time.
      Smile-Scan analyzes the way a patient smiles by measuring the position of the mouth and eyes before giving a score.
      Vivera® Retainers
      Vivera® retainers are a type of retainer that consists of clear plastic material and helps to maintain orthodontic corrections after a treatment.

      Call Us Today

      A beautiful smile is not just a matter of aesthetics — it can also greatly impact your oral health. Whether you need Invisalign or traditional braces, West Loop Smile Studio can help. Call us today at 312-248-7416 to schedule an appointment or learn more about our services.

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