Invisalign vs. Traditional Braces: Which Is Right for My Child?

Nowadays, many American families opt to invest in the straightening of their smiles through corrective orthodontic treatments like braces. This makes sense: dental alignment has the dual benefit of being aesthetically pleasing while providing a stronger foundation for oral health.

Because the oral cavity is taking its final shape during adolescence, and in order to give their child a “gift” of sorts, parents often elect these treatments during their child’s teen years. However, they are confronted with several attractive alternatives — namely, traditional braces and clear alignment trays (Invisalign). Which makes more sense? Keep reading to help you decide on the right orthodontic treatment for your kids.

Traditional Braces vs. Invisalign: Quick Breakdown

First, let’s cover the basics. As you likely know, traditional braces are stainless steel brackets and nickle-titanium archwires that are affixed to the teeth. They promote alignment by slowly and intentionally shifting teeth to the desired position. 

Invisalign, conversely, offers a starkly different but similarly purposed orthodontic treatment for kids. The Invisalign product line consists of clear trays that are custom-made to fit tightly over the teeth of the wearer. These trays elicit movement similar to traditional braces, but as this movement occurs, the trays are exchanged for new ones with slightly updated positioning.

Both traditional braces and Invisalign offer promising options for kids. Determining which is right for your child will come down to your evaluation of several key factors.

Key Considerations

As with nearly any dental or medical procedure, two of the more important considerations to make are outcome and cost. However, determining a clear leader in these categories is very tricky. Both traditional braces and Invisalign treatments boast high success rates and stellar results. Due to the nature of competitive markets, the cost of these treatments is also generally similar. Depending on the complexity of the alignment needed, these treatments typically cost $3,500-$6,000.

That being said, there are still several factors that can help determine which orthodontic treatment is best for your child. Consider these factors to help narrow down the choice.


Part of the reason Invisalign was invented was to provide a less visually invasive alignment option. True to their name, many Invisalign users complete their treatment plans without others noticing. The sleek and tight-fitting nature of the clear trays makes them all but impossible to see.

Conversely, traditional braces have a trademark upfront appearance. Some children actually prefer this, as they can customize their braces with the colors they like best.


Certain dental conditions require strong, persistent pressure to correct. For serious misalignment, traditional braces are often the better choice. Your pediatric dentist or orthodontist will be able to tell you if your child requires braces based on the severity of their case.


Similar to the appearance consideration, traditional braces and Invisalign trays differ greatly in their permanence. The metal brackets of braces will stay affixed to the front of the teeth for the entire duration of the treatment, whereas Invisalign trays can be popped out at every meal. For parents concerned that their child may lose the trays or neglect to wear them, braces offer a safeguard against this. For those looking for more flexibility, Invisalign is more attractive.


Because much of the hardware used in traditional braces stays stationary, it can create areas that are difficult to clean. The space between the crosswire and gum line can be particularly hard to reach. For parents concerned about cavity development, Invisalign may be a safer bet. Trays can be removed for brushing and flossing as normal.


Finally, due to their differing composition and size, these two treatments bode differently for athletes. For kids involved in contact sports such as football, ice hockey, rugby, lacrosse or wrestling, Invisalign is safer. Many mouthguards become more cumbersome with braces, and impact could cause brackets to become dislodged or worse: they could damage the tissue of the mouth.

Whichever treatment you select, you can rest assured that your pediatric dentist or orthodontist will define a path to successful alignment for your child. Both options have strong track records.

Brighten Your Child’s Smile at Radiance Dental

We create healthy RADIANT smiles for life. In addition to orthodontic treatments for kids, we provide general dentistry, pediatric dentistry, cosmetic dentistry, implant dentistry and teeth whitening services to make sure your whole family has healthy, happy smiles. Our dedicated staff is committed to continued education to learn the latest techniques and technologies to provide the best available care for our patients. We’re proud to provide a safe, comfortable atmosphere and the treatments our patients need to put their best smiles forward. If you are looking for a pediatric dentist or orthodontic care, we’d love to have you. Schedule an appointment or initial consultation with us today.