Braces Vs Clear Aligners (e.g. Invisalign and Spark) For Teenagers: Which Is Right For Your Child?

As a parent, you want your child to have a healthy, straight smile that they can be confident showing. If your teenager needs orthodontic treatment, you may be wondering which option is best for them: traditional metal braces or clear aligners like Invisalign. 

Both options have advantages and disadvantages, so it is critical to carefully weigh them before making a decision.



When it comes to orthodontic treatment, cost is often a major consideration for families. Traditional metal braces are typically less expensive than clear aligners such as Invisalign. The cost of treatment, on the other hand, can vary depending on the severity of your child’s case and the length of their treatment.

Because of the technology, materials used and particularly the cost to have custom-made aligners made, clear aligners are generally $1,000-$2,000 more expensive than traditional metal braces. Thorndon Orthodontics provides flexible payment plans to help make the cost more manageable.



Another important factor to consider is your child’s ability to be compliant with the appliance chosen. To work predictably, clear aligners such as Spark and Invisalign require strict discipline and responsibility on the part of the patient. Aligners should be worn diligently at least 22 hours per day and replaced every 2 weeks. Treatment may take longer than expected if aligners are not worn as directed.

Braces, on the other hand, are glued to the teeth and often the wires are always working their magic. In saying this, braces also require compliance but of a different kind. With braces, extra care has to be taken to avoid hard and crunchy foods, to maintain impeccable oral hygiene and wearing elastics to ensure the best result.



Some teenagers are self-conscious about their appearance, so the appearance of braces or aligners is frequently a source of concern – this is often the case for older teenagers who may feel like many of their friends and classmates have already completed their orthodontic treatment. 

Traditional metal braces are certainly more noticeable, but many teenagers embrace them as a way to express themselves! Braces are available in a variety of colours, and some teenagers enjoy switching them to match their friends, sports teams, or holidays.

Because Invisalign and Spark aligners are clear and nearly invisible, they are a popular choice for teenagers who are self-conscious about their appearance. As they are not as noticeable as traditional or even ceramic braces, they can provide a discreet way to straighten teeth and correct bites.



Traditional metal braces can be irritating to the lips and cheeks during the adjustment period of the first few weeks. However, advances in braces design have made braces more comfortable. Brackets are smaller and less noticeable, and wires are made of materials that are gentler on teeth. In those early weeks, orthodontic wax (provided at Thorndon Orthodontics) can provide relief as the mouth gets used to having braces. 

The aligners used by Invisalign and Spark are made of a smooth, comfortable plastic that is less likely to irritate the mouth. Because each aligner exerts only a small amount of force to the teeth, the level of dental discomfort experienced by aligner patients is generally less. Some patients, however, may experience discomfort when switching to a new set of aligners or when the aligners are not properly seated.



To prevent tooth decay and gum disease, good oral hygiene is essential during orthodontic treatment. Brushing and flossing can be more difficult with traditional metal braces because brackets and wires can trap food, plaque and bacteria.

Because Invisalign and Spark aligners are removable, brushing and flossing are made easier. However, it is critical to thoroughly clean aligners to prevent unsightly and odour-causing bacteria from accumulating.

The type of bite


While the reasons above are all important considerations, your orthodontist will recommend the best appliance to correct your child’s individual bite. While both braces and aligners can be used to effectively treat a wide number of orthodontic problems, some bites are better fixed with braces while others are best treated with aligners and your orthodontist will guide you on which will get the best possible result.

Both traditional metal braces and clear aligners such as Spark and Invisalign have advantages and disadvantages for adolescent patients. When deciding which option is best for your child, keep in mind their individual needs and preferences.

If you’re still undecided, the team at Thorndon Orthodontics can offer advice and recommendations based on your child’s specific situation. We provide a variety of orthodontic treatment options, such as metal braces, Invisalign, and others, and can collaborate with you to find the best treatment plan for your child and family.


You’re sure to be blown away by the change orthodontic treatment can make to your child’s smile and thrilled with the confidence that comes with it.

Contact Thorndon Orthodontics today to set up a consultation and begin your teenager’s journey to a beautiful straight smile! 


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Contact Info
Opening hours: