Braces vs invisalign

Unsure which brace system will be the best for your orthodontic condition? See how two favourites compare below.

Metal Braces or Invisalign: What’s The Difference?

9 million patients have experienced the benefits of Invisalign. The Gentle Dental has been almost awarded the highest accreditation that Invisalign certifies (Platinum Providers).

This makes us part of a rare, select few orthodontists who have treated the most Invisalign cases in Europe.


Invisalign: The facts

If you already don’t know what Invisalign is, as the name suggests, it is invisible aligners that are shaped like mouthguards.

Made from a flexible and clear acrylic material that makes the straightening process discreet and almost unnoticeable, Invisalign offers patients faster treatment times at no huge extra cost.

They can correct the most minor to the most complex orthodontic issues for those who feel self-conscious about the look of their smile.

How does Invisalign treatment work?

  • SmartTrack material aligners that apply the right amount of pressure on the tooth
  • Comfortable and removable (gradually but powerfully moves teeth in 12 months)

Your orthodontist will provide you with your own set of aligners to be worn in their numbered stages as your teeth gradually realign and shift.

The stages and shape of your aligner will be custom-made to match your current mouth shape and move the teeth into their correct, more appealing positions.

You will wear each set of aligners for around 22 hours a day, for two weeks, before moving on to the next stage.

There are many types of Invisalign treatment targeted to individuals of different ages. These include Invisalign First (for children aged 6-10), Invisalign Teen (for ages 11-17), and Invisalign Full or Go for those 18+.

expert invis dentist

Quick contact


Traditional braces: What are they and how do they work?

  • Can take up to 24 months
  • Requires a retainer to be worn after treatment
  • Available on the NHS, but costs are similar to Invisalign privately

Traditional metal braces are fixed metal straightening appliances that are attached to the teeth to realign their position.

Brackets are fixed onto each tooth, and a wire passes through these brackets and is attached using rubber ties.

The wire applies force to the teeth and forces them to move, and then it is tightened incrementally over some time as the teeth become straighter.

Once the teeth are in their final desired position, the braces are removed, and your orthodontist will provide you with retainers to be worn at night to ensure the teeth remain in their new position for the long term.

Patients who qualify

An Invisalign aligner can help correct the following:

Crooked teeth, overbite, underbite, crossbite, overcrowding and gappy smiles.

See more treatable cases.

If your teeth are significantly misaligned, then it might be true that traditional braces with brackets, wires, and bands might be a more effective option for long-lasting straighter teeth.

However, this will be all explained and advised to you during your consultation and assessment.

Invisalign has advanced massively since its launch in 1998 and is able to correct a wide variety of oral health concerns and class II classifications.

invisalign platinum providers

Should I choose traditional braces or Invisalign?

Whether you choose fixed braces or Invisalign will depend on several factors; however, the main thing to consider is how severe your alignment problems are.

While Invisalign is perfect for minor and complex alignment issues, if you have major overcrowding or a significant malocclusion, metal braces may be a more practical option to ensure long-lasting results, or perhaps even surgery.

Here at Gentle Dental, Dr Rifai will guide you through your orthodontic treatment and will be able to advise you on the best option for your teeth and mouth.

itero scanner

How much does Invisalign cost?

Get an interest-free loan in under 5 minutes

It only takes 2 minutes to apply and you’ll get an answer immediately – applying for a loan has never been easier.

0% finance is available for many treatments up to £30,000. Credit decisions will be subject to individual circumstances. You must be over 18 and earn an income to apply.

Advantages & limitations of Invisalign 

  • Almost invisible for discreet and comfortable wearing 
  • They can be removed to eat, drink and brush (no forbidden foods)
  • They are removable which makes oral hygiene easier
  • Removing them also allows you to clean the retainers effectively
  • They are suitable for sport


  • Invisalign cannot move upwards or downwards
  • Cannot close gaps larger than 6mm
  • Losing the aligners or forgetting to put them on
welcome to our practice in surrey

Maintenance, oral health and aftercare

When it comes to metal braces, maintaining your oral hygiene is not always straightforward, as small food particles and plaque can build up around the brackets and wires.

Because the brackets are stuck to the teeth, cleaning these away can be tricky, and if not maintained properly during brace treatment, your teeth are at risk of developing cavities and even gum disease.

On the other hand, Invisalign retainers are removable, so can be taken out while you clean and floss your teeth, and you can clean them daily too to avoid bacteria build-up.

Comfort, ease, and predictability

Patients with metal braces often experience dull pain or discomfort, especially when tightening wires.

This can make the process tedious and painful.

They might also experience soreness and irritation on the insides of their cheeks and gums as the wires rub against them.

Invisalign aligners cause very minimal discomfort at all, if any, as they are smooth and essentially feel like your normal teeth when worn.

On top of this, Invisalign aligners are specifically designed for your mouth using advanced 3D imaging technology. 

And, it is this technology that allows patients to see what the end result will look like, providing better predictability and taking the guesswork out of your orthodontic treatment.

invisalign surrey
welcome to the gentle dental

Maintenance, oral health and aftercare

When it comes to metal braces, maintaining your oral hygiene is not always straightforward, as small food particles and plaque can build up around the brackets and wires.

Because the brackets are stuck to the teeth, cleaning these away can be tricky, and if not maintained properly during brace treatment, your teeth are at risk of developing cavities and even gum disease.

On the other hand, Invisalign retainers are removable, so can be taken out while you clean and floss your teeth, and you can clean them daily too to avoid bacteria build-up.

Start your Invis journey today

Duration of treatment:

Most mild cases of misalignment can be treated from three months, with more complex cases taking up to 12 months. When it comes to traditional braces, the more severe cases can take up to two years from start to finish.

Invisalign treatment is shorter, lasting typically between 6 and 18 months.

If you would like to learn more about Invisalign and see if this teeth-straightening method is right for you, we offer free consultation appointments with dentists at our Surrey based practice in East Molesey KT8 0SP.

Here, we can answer all of your questions and concerns. As well as identifying which orthodontic treatment and a payment plan are most fitting for you.

To find out how we can help you feel better about your teeth and smile today, contact us on 020 8224 7562.

What are the alternative options available?

Although at The Gentle Dental we are highly invested in the success rate and effectiveness of the Invisalign system, there are (like every teeth straightening system) some downsides to consider.

Some issues people have reported with the Invisalign system are the hassle of having to clean the aligners after drinking things like coffee, but again, this just promotes better oral hygiene for the sake of a few minutes.

Some slight discomfort can also be experienced when changing to new aligners (which happens around every 2 weeks).

Although these are minor inconveniences for the results of a new and improved, straight smile, if Invisalign doesn’t appeal to you then there are some alternative options available:

Ceramic bracesCeramic braces are the same size and shape as metal braces. What makes them a more popular option is that they have tooth-coloured or clear brackets that make them less visible against teeth.

Incognito bracesLingual braces involve attaching the orthodontic brackets on the inner sides of the teeth.

Inman alignerThe aligner provides a solution for patients with minor alignment and crowding issues, allowing them to realign their smiles in as little as 6 to 16 weeks.

Six month smiles: Works for all teeth and is a system of white wires and brackets, so again it is more discreet than traditional stainless steel and suitable for patients who desire a less obvious brace

Dawn SwansonDawn Swanson
10:27 24 Nov 22
I have been with the Gentle Dental Practice for 8 years, the care and service I have received has always been 5 star. I have recently used their new hygienist Nicky who is great. Looking for a new dentist just contact their very friendly and proffessional team.
George HorseyGeorge Horsey
18:54 15 Nov 22
Dental Impant Surgery:I had my dental implants fitted recently and I am extremely happy with the outcome. Ali and the team have done an amazing job since I lost my 2 front teeth over 6 years ago. I had to wait for the surgery for a long time due to my age and the issues surrounding having implants at a young age.I finally had the surgery 12 weeks ago and had my two new crowns fitted last week. They look absolutely amazing and the whole procedure was way less painful than I ever thought it would be.I would highly recommend getting your implants done at the Gentle Dental Practice, you won't regret it!A massive thank you to everyone at the practice!
Deeban SkandalingamDeeban Skandalingam
12:06 03 Nov 22
Fantastic work on my teeth and I would highly recommend! My teeth turned out better than I had even hoped for. If you are in need of any dental work, you would be doing a great disservice if you didn't speak to this practice first. The staff were extremely friendly, there were text updates and all in all an excellent service from start to finish. If you haven't guessed already, I am thoroughly pleased with The Gentle Dentle. Thank you!
Pippa HarveyPippa Harvey
14:54 26 Oct 22
Like many people, I have an immense fear of dentistry, and dentists, due to previous experiences.I had two broken teeth and one that had been treated incorrectly by an NHS dentist. I had been in daily pain for about 18 months, and had been put on a 6 month waiting list by my NHS dentist.I called gentle dental to explain my problem and they offered me a same day appointment. They were kind, compassionate, understanding, patient and validating. I’m not sure anybody ever feels completely comfortable in the chair, but It’s the closest I’ve ever come!The work needed was carried out, all of the staff were kind and welcoming, and it showed me that the dentist doesn’t have to be a dreaded place!Thank you so, so much gentle dental! I will definitely be returning.
Tilesh PTilesh P
15:45 14 Sep 22
Dental Implants - 3 New Teeth - June 2022I had the most professional and pain free experience when getting my new tooth implants at Gentle Dental. Honestly I put it off for some many years because I just didn't want to go through the pain. But my experience was totally the opposite. Ali and the wonderful girls were there every step of the way. All my questions got answered and I was reassured everything would work out well. And it did. I was worried for no reason.I did think about going abroad to have it done but when you consider the risk factor, time and professional standards - it made no sense to me. I have known Ali for a long time and knew I would be in the best hands and if there were any issues these would could be resolved easily.If you are thinking of having dental implants at Gentle - don't waste any more time. Just book and get it done.Was it painful ? No, uncomfortable for a few days, yes for sure.I just wish I had it done sooner. Thanks guys, love my new teeth 🙂
Edward CrameEdward Crame
13:43 04 Dec 21
Very happy with all aspects of the work they have done. Very clean, professional and well run business.
Lynn HuddartLynn Huddart
12:43 24 Nov 21
Dr Ali Rifai was professional and I am very pleased with the outcome of my Invisalign's. I have been with this practice for many years and would highly recommend. The staff are very friendly and nothing is an issue.
Jonathan PlumbJonathan Plumb
11:52 24 Nov 21
Can't thank this practice enough for all their help. I don't post reviews very often, so when I do, it's because an impression has been left! Dr Ali saw me at short notice to help fix a broken tooth. The nurse (I think her name was Danni) was so helpful and kind, as were the rest of the team. Thank you for being there for me in my hour of need (the same day i asked for an appointment!)
Eva AugustEva August
07:11 06 Nov 21
I’m so happy to find this practice. I suffer from anxiety and high sensitivity to pain. It was very stressful for me going to dentist after years of fear. The team not only make me calm and welcome but I FELL ASLEEP during treatment with Dr Marshall ! So understanding and caring. Thank you!
Marc NevittMarc Nevitt
11:35 11 Oct 21
I have been using this dentist for well over a decade and can honestly say my teeth would be in a far worse situation if wasn’t for the Gentle Dental practice.My most recent visit was for a filling .. barely felt the injection!I would highly recommend this dentist to anyone, but especially if you’re teeth require a high level of care like mine.
Emma BrauerEmma Brauer
08:44 04 Aug 21
This place was recommended to me by family and for a nervous patient the best experience. The reception welcome is cheerful and friendly, beautifully modern area with hot drinks and water on offer.I needed implants, crowns and bridges followed by whitening, so lots of appointments. My dentist Mr Ali Rafai was superb from start to finish, so professional and personable. Throughout the whole process I was cared for wonderfully plus lots of laughs along the way. The constant care during appointments was very comforting, no rushing, and I knew I my needs were Mr Rafai's priority. Plus check up call the next day without fail to make sure everything was going well.Absolutely deserves five stars!
Alan SamuelAlan Samuel
13:30 14 Jul 21
Fantastic experience with Ali. It took 18 months including bone grafting, removing and replacing failed dental implants, invisaline for my bottom teeth which were all over the place and some veneers but now I'm delighted with the outcome.Ali was always very clear about how this wasn't an overnight solution in an honest and forthright manner which gave me confidence that he would deliver results.I was offered several overnight solutions from other dentists locally at a fraction of the cost but when I see how much effort and detail that went into my plan, I know i made the right choice.
Kurt JohnsonKurt Johnson
17:48 14 May 21
I have got no complaints about this Dental Practice. They were all very friendly and accommodating and always professional.My dental treatment was also really good, everything went according to plan and the results are great!I am VERY happy with the outcome and would recommend them anytime!
Available to Chat whatsappimage