How do these two different types of braces score when it comes to factors such as appearance, flexibility and hygiene?

Once upon a time, fixed braces were the only way of straightening and re-aligning your teeth. But the advent of clear removable aligners such as Invisalign has given dental patients another option and a dilemma; which braces should they plump for?

It is always best to speak to your dentist so that you can make an informed decision about whether to opt for fixed braces or Invisalign. Dentist in Putney, Ethicare is always happy to discuss treatment options with patients who are considering investing in Invisalign.

How do clear aligners and fixed braces work?

Invisalign straightens teeth without wires or brackets and uses a series of aligners which are clear and removable. The aligners are applied in sequence; one set might be worn for a fortnight before being replaced by another set.
Fixed braces utilise wires and brackets to reposition teeth into a straighter alignment. They are typically changed less often than clear braces.


Most fixed braces are noticeable at a glance – a factor which can make users self-conscious. Fixed braces are commonly worn by children and adolescents.

One of Invisalign’s big advantages is that they are almost invisible; providing a discreet look which will not draw attention to the people wearing them.


Invisalign Braces are removable during treatment – they can be taken out when eating, drinking and cleaning. It is also handy that they can be removed and checked by dentists.

The fact that they can be removed does mean that they can be lost – this is one advantage fixed braces have over their clear counterparts. Invisalign treatment also requires an element of self-discipline on the part of the user; they should be worn for 22 hours a day to be effective.

Fixed braces cannot be removed until treatment is completed – meaning that you will not be able to see what your teeth may look like during and after treatment.


Invisalign doesn’t involve metal that can irritate the teeth and gums.

This is in contrast to fixed braces which have metal wires and brackets which can cause mouth irritation.


Invisalign lets people undergoing the course of treatment brush and floss normally during treatment. It is also important to clean the aligners regularly.

Studies have actually shown that just wearing the clear aligners can be better for your dental hygiene.

Metal braces, according to the Invisalign website, can “hinder the ability to reach the entire tooth/gum area when flossing”.

Food and drink

Eating food and drink such as chewing gum and crisps can be problematic with traditional fixed braces. There is no such problem with clear aligners as they can be removed at meal times.


At London dental practice Ethicare, Invisalign courses of treatment start from £2,995.

Dr Glafcos Tombolis, who runs Ethicare, says that about “four or five people per week” come into the practice for a consultation which determines whether they are a suitable candidate for Invisalign treatment – the vast majority are.

Dr Tombolis stresses that it is vital to discuss options thoroughly with your dentist so that you can decide which course of treatment is best for you.

He said: “Invisalign Lite can be a great option as it’s cheaper than the Invisalign Full treatment which, although it treats all of the teeth in the mouth, isn’t needed by every patient.”

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