How would you like to look in the mirror and see straight teeth and a smile you, well… can’t help but smile about?
But wait. Who wants to deal with the hassle (read: ugliness) and discomfort of traditional metal braces? The good news is you don’t have to. We now have the option of invisible braces. I know, it sounds too good to be true. But they’re an actual thing. Thank you, dental gods!
Heard of Invisalign, but want to know more? Or perhaps you just know that traditional braces aren’t for you. Here’s a look at the alternative to metal braces, so you can work out which teeth-straightening option is right for you.
What exactly are invisible braces?
You may also hear them called clear aligners, colourless braces, or by a brand name—like Invisalign. Nonetheless, they’re a popular choice for people wanting to straighten their teeth.
Clear aligners address a range of issues from crooked, crowded teeth to an uneven bite and gaps. And, because they’re virtually invisible, you don’t have to worry about turning up to work or social events with a not-so-flattering set of metal braces. Now that is something to smile about!
With invisible braces you can straighten your teeth without metal, wires, and brackets. The treatment involves a series of clear aligners. The aligners are designed to gently, but effectively, move the teeth a little at a time. Because the movements are small, there’s very little discomfort.
Wondering what aligners are? Aligners are plastic moulds that are custom made to fit your teeth. Like a small mouthguard! The snug fit also means you’ll hardly feel them, and others will barely notice them.
Clear aligners are designed to gently, but effectively, move the teeth a little at a time. Because the movements are small, there’s very little discomfort.
How long does the treatment take?
Because everyone’s teeth and smiles are different, so too is the length of treatment. The more aligners you need, the longer the treatment time. But as a rough guide, treatment can take between 6 months to 36 months.
Teeth that need minor changes will require fewer aligners, making the process much faster. Of course, treatment time also depends on whether you’re a rule breaker!
Invisible braces need to be worn for at least 20-22 hours a day for best results. And each aligner is intended to be worn for 1-2 weeks before moving onto the next. Take a 3-day-vacay from wearing your aligner and you won’t get that gorgeous straight smile you dream of.
For aligners to effectively work the only time they should (ideally) be removed is when you’re eating or drinking, cleaning your teeth, or cleaning your aligners.
Do clear aligners work for everyone?
Your suitability for clear braces will depend on how far your teeth need to move for a straighter smile. While traditional orthodontics may be needed for people with complex misalignment, invisible braces can be used for people with:
- Crowded teeth
- Large gaps between their teeth
- An overbite
- An underbite or crossbite
Invisible braces suit most adults and teens. Yet, they may not be the best option for children with baby teeth remaining, or young teens who have a more complex orthodontic problem.
Choosing the less noticeable aligner option might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s important to weigh up the pros and cons of Invisalign vs traditional braces.
Invisible braces vs traditional braces: the pros and cons
Traditional metal braces and invisible braces are both orthodontic treatments designed to straighten teeth and correct misalignment issues. Choosing the less noticeable option might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s important to weigh up the pros and cons of each. Let’s dive in.
Advantages of invisible braces
Aesthetics. Clear aligners, like Invisalign, are less noticeable, making them a good option for people who wish to straighten their teeth discreetly.
Removable. You have the freedom to take them out to eat, drink and socialise.
Comfort. Aligners are made from a soft plastic, more like rubber, so there’s little discomfort.
Easy teeth cleaning. Because aligners are removable, keeping your oral hygiene in check is easy.
Disadvantages of invisible braces
May not suit all issues. Invisible braces won’t be suitable in every case. Particularly for more complex orthodontic issues.
You need discipline. It may be tempting to take out your aligner—just because you can! But this will affect the end result.
Attachments. Some Invisalign braces need attachments to help the aligner hold and move the teeth. These are similar in colour to your teeth, but they can look like you’re wearing clear braces rather than aligners.
Inconvenience of removal. Clear aligners should be removed when eating and drinking (unless it’s water). If you’re out in public this can be a nuisance. You should also brush your teeth before replacing your aligner. If you skip this, you may put yourself at increased risk of cavities.
Advantages of traditional braces
Suitable for complex cases. Braces use anchors and wires to pull the teeth into place. This makes them a good choice for teeth that need a lot of movement to achieve your dream smile.
Choice. We now have the option of ceramic braces, which are clear and are less noticeable. There are also lingual braces. These attach to the inside of the teeth, making them invisible when you smile.
Braces are fixed. Because braces are glued to the teeth, there’s not the temptation to keep taking them out.
Disadvantages of traditional braces
Discomfort. Wires and brackets can irritate the cheeks causing mouth sores. Each time braces are tightened it puts increased pressure on the teeth and this can be painful.
Aesthetics. Many people are put off by the metal and wires of traditional braces. Even clear braces are more noticeable than invisible aligners.
Regular consultations. Part and parcel of wearing braces is having your progress regularly checked and the braces adjusted. This means frequent trips to the orthodontist.
Care when teeth cleaning. Brushing and cleaning around teeth is trickier with braces. More time is needed to properly clean the teeth and avoid a build-up of plaque and increased risk of decay.
Want to find out if invisible braces will help you achieve the beautiful, straight smile of your dreams? The best way to do this is to visit your dentist or orthodontist.
What’s the cost of invisible braces?
Let’s face it, when weighing up the pros and cons of any dental treatment, cost plays a key role.
Invisible braces cost on average between $3,500 – $8,000. This is a guide, as there are a few factors that can influence cost, including:
- The complexity of your case
- Treatment time
- Your choice of dentist
Want to find out if invisible braces will help you achieve the beautiful, straight smile of your dreams? The best way to do this is to visit your dentist or orthodontist. You can discuss your desired outcome and they’ll tell you which option will suit your individual needs.