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Invisalign vs Braces | Greater Washington Dentistry


Do you know that it is rare to have a perfectly straight natural smile? Chances are, most of the people you see with perfectly straight teeth have had orthodontic treatment at one point or another in their lives. However, just because you were not born with a million-dollar Hollywood smile doesn’t mean that you cannot have one.

At Greater Washington Dentistry, Dr. Shohreh Sharif offers various treatments for crooked or misaligned teeth, including braces and Invisalign. If you are looking to straighten your teeth, here is some information that can help you determine the right treatment for yourself.

Let’s find out:


Braces can be effective when it comes to fixing complex orthodontics issues like severe overcrowding, misalignment, and rotations, as well as multiple dental and facial issues that need correction. Braces exert a strong force on your teeth to shift them into the correct place, thanks to their linked anchors and arch wires. They are the most powerful treatment method for moving your teeth and fix a variety of orthodontic problems.

Invisalign, on the other hand, is more often recommended for people with mild orthodontic conditions, such as slight overcrowding and malocclusion ( a misalignment condition that can prevent property chewing and biting), small gaps between teeth and overbites, underbites, and crossbites. They may also be recommended for people who have had orthodontic treatment years before but are now experiencing a slight relapse.


The biggest difference between braces and Invisalign is in their appearance. Invisalign uses clear aligner trays that are made of tough but supple plastic. These trays are virtually invisible so people cannot easily notice them, increasing your self-confidence.

On the other hand, braces are made of metal arch wires and brackets and colorful bands. Choosing colored bands to wear with your braces is fun; however, some people may not be comfortable with how noticeable braces are, which may prevent them from getting the necessary orthodontic treatment. Fortunately, there is more than one type of braces.

At Greater Washington Dentistry, Dr. Shohreh Sharif offers ceramic braces and self-litigating braces as well.

Ceramic braces use a similar technology as traditional braces, but instead of using metal brackets, they use tooth-colored brackets that match the color of your teeth and make your braces less noticeable. However, since brackets are clear or white, if you consume highly-pigmented food like coffee, cola, tea, and red wine, they may stain them, reducing the aesthetics of your smile.


Getting a straight and even smile may not be the most comfortable experience. Whether you use Invisalign or braces, the force exerted on your teeth may increase sensitivity and result in pain. When it comes to braces, you may also need to endure the discomfort of the brackets and wires against your inner lip and cheeks. However, we may recommend some methods that can help reduce discomfort.

Invisalign trays, on the other hand, are made of plastic and do not cause discomfort to the inner tissues of your mouth. The clear trays may feel slightly bulky and make speaking different at first; however, over time, you will get used to them.


The brackets on your braces are permanently bonded to your teeth. This means that they cannot be removed at home and you are required to wear them 24/7. This not just results in more convenience since you do not have to take them out and replace them in the mouth, but they also allow your teeth to keep moving all the time.

Invisalign treatment uses clear aligners that are removable. These trays must be worn 20 to 22 hours a day but need to be taken out during meal times. It is possible that you may forget to put them on after a meal or may be tempted to remove them for a longer period of time than recommended. If you spend more than two to four hours a day without your clear trays, your treatment may not be as effective and it will take longer for your teeth to move to the correct place.


Both braces and Invisalign have their share of benefits and drawbacks when it comes to convenience. Braces are convenient since they stay put on your teeth and you do not have to take them out for eating or cleaning. On the other hand, they do prevent you from eating sticky or hard food since those can sometimes pull the brackets off your teeth or snap your wire.

Invisalign can be taken out of the mouth and people love them because the treatment allows them to eat all sorts of food. However, keep in mind that since these trays are clear, they can easily be misplaced and become very difficult to find. That is why we advise that you keep your aligners in a safe place when not using them.

Oral Hygiene

Cleaning your braces can be quite tricky. Many patients have difficulty navigating the brackets and wires to access the nook and crannies on their teeth. If you are unable to brush and floss your teeth thoroughly, it can result in the buildup of plaque, which can lead to yellowing teeth, cavities, and gum disease. At Greater Washington Dentistry, Dr. Sharif and her team will give you the proper instructions on how to brush and floss your teeth correctly when wearing braces.

If you are undergoing Invisalign treatment, however, there is no difference in cleaning. You can simply remove the trays and brush and floss your teeth like normal. Keep in mind, though, that you will also need to brush your aligners with a soft-bristled brush to remove plaque and food debris from it.

Follow-Up Appointments

Whether you are undergoing braces or Invisalign treatment, you will need to visit regularly. For braces, you will typically need to come every month so that we can tighten your wires and check the progress of your teeth.

With Invisalign, we will provide you with a series of trays to replace every two weeks to ensure proper movement of your teeth. You will still have checkups every six weeks so that we can ensure the treatment is going as planned.

Treatment Duration

This depends on the condition of your teeth. Most people have braces anywhere between one and three years. With Invisalign, people who previously had braces and have a minor relapse may need to wear them for as little as 10 weeks. Typically, though, the treatment can last for six months to two years.

Invisalign vs Braces: Which is Better?

Some people believe that one of these orthodontics treatments is better than the other; however, that’s not quite correct. Both Invisalign and braces come with a huge number of benefits for the patient and they both are recommended for different orthodontic issues. At Greater Washington Dentistry, Dr. Sharif will first evaluate the condition of your teeth and then determine the most effective treatment for you.

There is nothing wrong with a few quirks in your smile. They lend your personality and can make your smile more distinctive. However, if your teeth are reducing your self-esteem or are negatively impacting your oral health, don’t hesitate to get orthodontic treatment from us. Schedule an appointment today by visiting the Greater Washington Dentistry website or calling us at (703) 992-9222 or (703) 429-2473.