Child using Invisalign aligner, showing best orthodontic treatment for kids.

Braces Vs Invisalign for Kids: Which is Better?

The Efficiency Of Braces Vs Invisalign For Kids

Schaumburg Dentistry understands that choosing between braces and Invisalign for kids can be a challenging decision. Both options offer unique benefits and considerations, and our goal is to help you make an informed choice. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the mechanics of braces and Invisalign, comparing their effectiveness, costs, and impact on lifestyle. We aim to provide clarity on which treatment might be best suited for your child’s needs. For personalized advice, feel free to reach out to our expert team at (847) 985-8100. Your child’s perfect smile starts with the right information and support.

How Braces Work For Kids

Braces are a traditional and effective way to correct dental issues in children. Understanding how they function can help you decide if they are the right choice for your child. Orthodontic braces are designed to gradually align teeth, correct bite issues, and improve overall dental health. They work through the application of continuous pressure over a period of time, which slowly moves teeth in a specific direction. As the teeth move, the bone changes shape to accommodate their new position.

• Traditional Metal Braces


Metal braces consist of brackets, wires, and bands that work together to align teeth. They apply consistent pressure to move teeth into the correct position. This method has been used for decades and is known for its reliability. Children usually wear braces for about 18 to 24 months, but this can vary depending on the complexity of the case. The brackets are bonded to the front of each tooth, and an archwire is threaded through them. The orthodontist periodically adjusts the wire to continue the process of tooth movement.


Modern metal braces are smaller and more comfortable than those used in the past. They are made from high-grade stainless steel and are highly durable. Some kids might feel self-conscious about the appearance of metal braces, but many have embraced them as a rite of passage. There are also options for colored bands, allowing kids to personalize their braces.

• Maintenance And Care

Proper maintenance of braces is crucial. Regular brushing and flossing around the brackets help prevent plaque buildup and tooth decay. It’s also essential to avoid hard and sticky foods that can damage the braces. If a bracket breaks or a wire becomes loose, immediate dental care is necessary to ensure continued progress. Brushing after every meal is recommended, and using a special orthodontic toothbrush can make cleaning around brackets easier.


Flossing can be challenging with braces, but tools like floss threaders or water flossers can help. Regular dental check-ups are important to monitor progress and address any issues. Kids need to learn to take care of their braces to avoid prolonging the treatment time. Encouraging them to maintain good oral hygiene habits is vital for the success of the treatment.

little boy on his dental checkup
Invisalign for Kids

Understanding Invisalign For Kids

Invisalign is a modern alternative to traditional braces. It uses clear aligners to straighten teeth and is gaining popularity among children and teens. Invisalign offers a discreet and comfortable way to achieve a beautiful smile without the need for metal brackets and wires. The aligners are made from a clear, flexible plastic that is custom-fitted to the patient’s teeth.

• Invisalign For Kids/Teens

Invisalign for kids/teens involves a series of clear, removable aligners custom-made for each patient. These aligners gradually shift teeth into the desired position without the need for brackets and wires. The process starts with a digital scan of the teeth, followed by the creation of personalized aligners. Patients typically switch to a new set of aligners every one to two weeks. This method allows for precise control over the movement of teeth.


The aligners are virtually invisible, making them an attractive option for kids who are concerned about their appearance. They are also removable, which means kids can take them out to eat, brush, and floss. This feature makes maintaining good oral hygiene much easier compared to traditional braces. Invisalign aligners need to be worn for 20 to 22 hours a day to be effective, so it requires discipline and responsibility from the patient.

• Daily Care Tips

Caring for Invisalign aligners is straightforward. Remove the aligners before eating or drinking anything other than water to prevent staining and damage. Clean the aligners with a soft toothbrush and lukewarm water daily. Ensuring the aligners are worn for the recommended 20-22 hours a day is crucial for effective treatment. Aligners can be cleaned using special cleaning crystals or a gentle antibacterial soap.


Parents should ensure that their children follow these guidelines to avoid delays in treatment. The aligners should be stored in their case when not in use to prevent loss or damage. Regular dental check-ups are necessary to monitor progress and receive new sets of aligners. It’s also important to avoid chewing gum or eating sticky foods while wearing aligners, as this can damage them.

Comparing Effectiveness: Invisalign Vs Braces

Both braces and Invisalign are effective, but their efficiency can vary based on individual needs and circumstances. Understanding the strengths and limitations of each option can help in making an informed decision.

• Treatment Efficiency

Braces often produce faster results in cases of severe misalignment or complex dental issues. They provide constant pressure on the teeth, making them a robust option for significant corrections. Invisalign, on the other hand, is effective for mild to moderate cases and offers a more comfortable and aesthetic experience. The choice between the two often depends on the specific dental issues and patient preferences.


Braces are generally fixed and work around the clock, which can speed up the treatment process for more complex dental issues. Invisalign aligners are effective but may take longer for more complicated cases. Consistency in wearing the aligners is key to achieving the best results. Orthodontists will assess the individual needs of each patient to recommend the most appropriate treatment.

• Complexity Of Cases

Braces are generally better suited for complex dental problems, such as significant overcrowding or severe bite issues. Invisalign is ideal for less complicated cases, where the primary concern is minor to moderate tooth movement. Consulting with an orthodontist will help determine which option is best suited for your child’s needs.


In cases where teeth need to be rotated or moved vertically, braces may be the preferred option. They provide more control over the movement of teeth in complex scenarios. Invisalign is suitable for correcting issues like gaps, mild crowding, and simple bite irregularities. It’s important to have a thorough consultation to understand the specific needs and to determine the most effective treatment plan.

A young woman smiling and holding an Invisalign retainer, highlighting the cost of Invisalign at Schaumburg Dentistry
What Determines The Cost of Invisalign?

Cost And Insurance Considerations

Understanding the financial aspects of braces and Invisalign can help in making an informed decision. The cost of orthodontic treatment can be a significant investment, so it’s important to consider all factors.

• Cost Comparison

The cost of braces typically ranges from $3,000 to $7,000, depending on the complexity of the case and the duration of treatment. Invisalign tends to be slightly more expensive, with costs ranging from $4,000 to $8,000. It’s important to get a detailed cost estimate from your orthodontist to understand what’s included in the treatment plan.


Many orthodontists offer payment plans to make treatment more affordable. These plans can spread the cost over several months or years, easing the financial burden. Additionally, some practices may offer discounts for paying in full upfront or for multiple family members undergoing treatment simultaneously.

• Insurance Coverage

Many dental insurance plans cover a portion of the cost for both braces and Invisalign. Coverage can vary significantly, so it’s essential to review your policy details. Some plans may cover traditional braces more comprehensively, while others might offer similar benefits for Invisalign. Checking with your insurance provider will provide clarity on the available coverage options.


It’s also worthwhile to ask your orthodontist’s office about any insurance coordination services they offer. They can often help navigate insurance claims and ensure you maximize your benefits. Understanding the extent of your insurance coverage can significantly impact your decision, making orthodontic treatment more accessible.

Impact On Lifestyle

The choice between braces and Invisalign can significantly affect your child’s daily life and comfort. Considering lifestyle factors is important to ensure a smooth treatment experience.

• Comfort And Convenience

Braces, while effective, can cause discomfort, especially after adjustments. They also require regular visits to the orthodontist for tightening. Invisalign aligners are more comfortable and less intrusive. They are removable, making it easier to eat and maintain oral hygiene. This convenience makes Invisalign a popular choice for active kids and teens.


Kids with braces may experience soreness and irritation from the brackets and wires, especially during the initial adjustment period. Wax can be used to cover sharp areas and alleviate discomfort. Invisalign aligners are smooth and less likely to cause irritation. They also offer the flexibility to continue playing sports and musical instruments without the interference of braces.

• Dietary Restrictions

Braces come with several dietary restrictions to prevent damage to the brackets and wires. Hard, sticky, and chewy foods should be avoided. With Invisalign, there are no such restrictions since the aligners are removed during meals. This flexibility allows children to enjoy their favorite foods without worrying about damaging their orthodontic appliances.


For kids with braces, avoiding foods like popcorn, nuts, hard candies, and chewing gum is essential. These foods can break brackets or bend wires, leading to additional orthodontic visits and extended treatment time. Invisalign users can continue to eat their preferred foods but should maintain good oral hygiene to keep aligners clean and clear.

Making the Best Choice for Your Child's Orthodontic Treatment

Choosing between braces and Invisalign is a significant decision that depends on various factors, including the severity of dental issues, lifestyle preferences, and financial considerations. By understanding the differences and consulting with a qualified orthodontist, you can make the best choice for your child’s dental health. This informed approach will ensure that your child achieves a healthy, beautiful smile in the most suitable and comfortable way.


Your child’s oral health and self-esteem depend on your decision regarding the most appropriate orthodontic treatment. Schaumburg Dentistry is committed to providing exceptional care and guidance, whether you opt for braces or Invisalign. We invite you to read our FAQs and reviews to learn more about our services and hear from satisfied patients. Serving the Schaumburg and surrounding areas, our experienced team is ready to assist you in making the best decision for your child’s smile. Call us today at (847) 985-8100 to schedule a consultation and take the first step towards a healthier, happier smile.

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