Are you thinking about getting your teeth straightened with braces? The good news is that you won’t have to wear those metal braces anymore. Today, different types of invisible braces are available that can straighten your teeth without being noticeable. So, how many types of invisible braces are there, and which type suits you best? Before we discuss, let us learn what invisible braces are how they work.
What are Invisible Braces?
Invisible braces refer to any orthodontic system that is less conspicuous in comparison to the conventional metal braces. Invisible braces include any fixed braces that are either made from tooth-colored materials or removable systems that can be used for straightening teeth without affecting your smile and facial esthetics.
What are Different Types of Invisible Braces?
Invisible, or clear braces come in various types, sizes, and shapes so that you can choose one that best suits your budget and dental needs. Invisible braces include:
- Clear Braces
Just like the traditional braces, clear braces use brackets that remain fixed to your teeth. The wires and brackets are made from tooth-colored ceramic or clear materials, which make them less conspicuous whenever you speak or smile.
Unlike the metal braces that can be used for treating even the most complex orthodontic problems, dentists use clear braces as a short-term orthodontic treatment option, mainly to fix the cosmetic defects in the front teeth that affect your smile. Ceramic or clear braces normally take an average of 6-8 months to achieve the desired cosmetic results.
Despite their obvious esthetic advantages, clear braces do have some drawbacks. Not only are they more expensive than the conventional braces, but they also cannot be used for treating complex, bite-related orthodontic problems. Clear braces also tend to get stained easily – hence, they require optimal oral hygiene maintenance to prevent discoloration.
- Clear Aligners
These are removable aligners, similar to the mouthguards that are designed from a clear material. As a result, clear aligners are not visible to other people while you’re wearing them. Your dentist will provide you with a set of numbered aligners – you will be asked to wear each set of aligners for at least 22 hours each day for about 14 days, and then you should move to the next set of the aligners. The clear aligner company will design your aligners in a way that each set gradually moves your teeth towards the desired position and angulation. Once the desired results have been achieved, your dentist or orthodontist will then give you removable or fixed retainers, which are appliances that your teeth do not move back to their previous position after your treatment has been completed.
The clear aligners have two main advantages over the traditional metal braces – they are removable. Therefore, you can eat all your favorite foods without any restrictions. Secondly, they are virtually invisible; therefore, they will not affect your facial and esthetics and smile. Besides, they offer more convenience and comfort in comparison to the fixed braces.
Like the ceramic and clear braces, Invisalign aligners are not suitable for treating complex orthodontic problems. However, aligner companies have now developed special attachments that have enhanced the capability of the removable aligner systems. Another drawback of the removable aligners is their higher cost of treatment in comparison to the conventional metal braces.
Although technically not clear braces, but lingual braces are also not conspicuous like the metal braces. This is because the lingual braces are attached to the inner or the lingual (pertaining to the tongue) surfaces of your teeth. Hence, they are not visible when you smile or speak.
The lingual braces have a similar design as the conventional braces; they are attached to the teeth with an adhesive and contain a wire that passes through specially designed slots in the brackets. These wires generate forces which move the teeth in the desired direction.
Apart from their inconspicuousness, the lingual braces also have some drawbacks. The lingual braces can only be used for treating mild to moderate orthodontic problems. They also cause discomfort and sometimes injury to the tongue and cheek. As a result, many patients cannot tolerate them. Finally, not all dentists are trained in offering treatment with lingual braces.
Gone are the days when metal braces were the only option, and people had to decide whether to fix their teeth while wearing those unaesthetic braces or avoiding treatment altogether. Times have changed now. There are multiple invisible orthodontic treatment options available nowadays for you to choose from. But how to decide which is best for you? your dentist is the best person who can guide you regarding an option that is suitable for you while considering your dental needs, esthetics aspirations, and of course, your budget.