Is there really such a thing as invisible braces?

For many adults, the barrier between them and their perfect smile is the desire to avoid the look of traditional metal braces. This has led to thousands of searches for invisible braces, as more and more adults aim to get the smile they’ve always dreamed about in a more discreet way.  

For those who have made their smile a priority this year, we look at the different orthodontic treatment options available and rank them based on how ‘invisible’ they are:

Ceramic braces

For many adults, the barrier between them and their perfect smile is the desire to avoid the look of traditional metal braces. This has led to thousands of searches for invisible braces, as more and more adults aim to get the smile they’ve always dreamed about in a more discreet way.  

Ceramic braces for kids

The verdict:

While they’re definitely more subtle, ceramic braces are not fully invisible. However, due to their ability to successfully perform complex tooth movements, they’re the perfect middle ground for those in need of extensive treatment who want to avoid the look of metal braces. Generally, ceramic braces will be the most cost-effective of the ‘invisible’ alternatives.

Clear aligner treatment

In recent years, the popularity of clear aligner treatments such as 3M Clarity®, Spark® and Invisalign® has led to an increase in the number of adults seeking corrective orthodontic treatment. Using a series of removable clear plastic trays to gently guide the teeth into their new position, your treatment can be hard to spot with the added bonus of being able to take them out for any important photo opportunities.

Is there really such a thing as invisible braces?

The verdict:

When clear aligners are properly cleaned and cared for, they can be practically invisible when worn. However, due to the fact that the aligners are not fixed to the teeth, their success relies on the patient consistently wearing them. As a result, this form of treatment may not be suitable for all people, particularly if complex tooth movements are required, or if the patient doesn’t feel they will be able to comply with the wearing instructions. 

Despite being removable, this type of treatment still carries risks if administered incorrectly or by somebody with inadequate training. Therefore, its crucially important to see a registered specialist orthodontist for clear aligner treatment as they have the expertise to ensure safe and proper care throughout the course of your treatment. 

Lingual braces

This orthodontic treatment option is braces that are fitted along the inside of your teeth and therefore are completely invisible. Their close proximity to your tongue means that speech may be more difficult initially than other forms of appliances, but as with any orthodontic appliance, it just takes a little bit of time to adjust. 

Due to the difficulty of reaching the braces for placement and tightening, lingual braces are often the most expensive orthodontic treatment option. 

The verdict:

If you’re thinking about invisible braces, the main test will be your smile. Thanks to the fact that they’re fitted along the inside of your teeth, lingual braces are only truly invisible appliance when you smile. However, you may be able to catch a glimpse of them when your mouth is open.

Do invisible braces take longer? 

No, invisible braces don’t necessarily take longer than traditional metal braces. It is important to realise that the duration of your treatment is not dictated by the type of appliance your orthodontist uses, rather the severity of the misalignment that needs to be treated and the expertise of the practitioner providing the treatment. 

If you only have minor tooth adjustments that need to be corrected, a short course of clear aligner treatment could be suitable. However, if you have a severe malocclusion and jaw misalignment, then you may require a longer 24-month treatment plan using a fixed orthodontic appliance (which may be metal or ceramic). Your individual treatment plan will be customised for you by your orthodontist. 

Are invisible braces more expensive? 

No, invisible braces are not necessarily more expensive. But there are a lot of variables at play when it comes to the cost. There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to orthodontic treatment – and there shouldn’t be.  

While the cost of your treatment does vary depending on the type of appliance used (a short course of clear aligner treatment may be potentially cheaper, while lingual braces are one of the more expensive options because they’re 100% custom made for your mouth), other factors such as the duration of your treatment, your ability to follow the treatment plan and care for your appliance, and operational costs. These can all affect the cost of your treatment. 

So which type of invisible braces are right for you?

Ultimately, the best orthodontic option for your smile will depend on a number of factors including your budget and the types of movements that need to be achieved. Depending on your individual case, your orthodontist may strongly recommend one particular course of treatment or may present you with a variety of options to choose between.

Your orthodontist’s main concern will be the health of your teeth and will recommend the option that will offer the best results in the safest and most effective manner. To truly understand the best treatment option for your smile, it is best to make an appointment with your specialist orthodontist. Use our tool to find an orthodontist near you – no referral is needed.

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