Do you want to straighten your teeth? Or maybe you’re looking at options for your child? Nearly invisible braces are a popular choice since they’re less noticeable than the old-fashioned metal varieties. However, before you can identify the right braces for you, you’ll need to understand the different kinds of orthodontic appliances.
The Advantages of Nearly Invisible Braces
Nearly invisible braces can treat most the complex issues that traditional braces address, with a few additional advantages.
- Eating – there’s no need to worry about food getting stuck since you can remove most nearly invisible braces to eat.
- Comfort – no metal brackets or wires to cause discomfort.
- Safety – less chance of injury to the soft tissues of your cheeks and lips when playing contact sports.
- Convenience – not as many follow-up visits as with metal braces.
- Time saving – faster appointments
Different Kinds of Nearly Invisible Braces
There are several kinds of nearly invisible braces, which we discuss below.
1. Clear aligners such as Invisalign Braces
Clear aligners involve a series of plastic aligners, called trays. The trays work to move teeth into alignment. While the trays aren’t completely invisible, they do make use of advanced technology to ensure they’re hardly detectable.
The aligners are ideal for treating several tooth alignment problems, such as:
- Crooked teeth
- Gaps between teeth
Clear aligners like Invisalign can be used to treat almost 90% of orthodontic cases. While the trays are mildly uncomfortable at first, there is no pain involved with these nearly invisible braces.
In fact, a thesis released by Texas A&M University found that aligner treatment is more pleasant than traditional metal braces. Nearly invisible braces may also mean less (or no) pain medication is needed as you get used to your teeth shifting.
Clear aligners, such as Invisalign also minimise discomfort because there are no wires to poke and break. However, since you can remove the trays, they may require a little self-discipline and motivation to wear consistently.
As clear aligners like Invisalign are almost invisible and resistant to clouding from wear, they are easy to lose, especially if left in a glass of water. A common way aligners are lost in in disposable cups (such as on an aeroplane) or in a restaurant. If you lose your aligners, this can delay treatment. When they are not in your mouth or being cleaned, always put your aligners in their own special storage case.
How clear aligners like Invisalign are made
The aligners are made after your orthodontist scans your teeth and designs your new smile virtually on a specialised computer. The scan and digital plan is sent to a laboratory to fabricate the custom aligners. The aligners are then sent back to your orthodontic office.
The nearly invisible braces are provided in sets. How many aligners you will need for treatment will depend on your orthodontic treatment plan. You will wear your aligner sets for a certain period of time, only removing them to brush, floss, eat and drink. You can leave them in to drink cold water. With each new set of trays, your teeth adjust and realign to your dream smile. You must pay periodic visits to your orthodontist to receive your next set of trays and so that your orthodontist can evaluate your progress. At the end of treatment, you may require revision aligners just to refine your smile.
2. Ceramic Braces
Ceramic braces are also sometimes known as nearly invisible braces. They are not as discreet as clear aligners , but are less noticeable than the metal equivalent. Ceramic braces are usually not quite as efficient as traditional braces or clear aligners. They work in much the same way as traditional metal braces, but for technical reasons they usually take just a little longer to move your teeth. This is related to each bracket being just a bit larger than would be needed for metal braces. This also means the braces might tend to be felt under your lip a little more than metal braces – and noticeably more than clear aligners like Invisalign.
Due to these downsides, it is possible for you to have the braces placed on just your most visible teeth (e.g the upper teeth) and then have traditional brackets on the rest of your teeth. Similarly to the metal braces treatment, a patient cannot remove ceramic braces until treatment is complete.
Ceramic braces can be a good compromise if you know you won’t have the discipline to manage taking clear aligner trays in and out, but would still like a more discreet straightening option.
3. Inside Braces
To hide your braces from view, an orthodontist can apply the orthodontic appliance to the back of your teeth.
Whilst almost invisible, these braces have quite a few downsides including a significant additional cost. One reason for the additional cost is related to the braces taking much longer to due to technical reasons:
- The first reason is related to the fact that the braces end up bunched close together on the back side of your front teeth – especially on the bottom. This poses some problems when there isn’t much wire between each bracket.
- The second reason is due to the difficulty for your orthodontist to access and adjust the braces – you will spend more time in the clinic chair.
These braces may pose challenges, too, when it comes to speech, dental hygiene and comfort.
How Long Does Each Treatment Take?
The length of treatment for nearly invisible braces depends on your unique orthodontic situation and the kind of braces you wear. On average, a patient will wear braces for around 9 – 24 months. Traditional braces and clear aligners (e.g. Invisalign) tend to be the fastest braces option. Aligner treatment is not long, generally around 12 months. Ceramic braces are the next most efficient, and finally inside braces are usually the slowest option.
Whichever option you choose you can ensure you get their fastest by choosing an orthodontist that uses digital treatment planning – to ensure that you get from A to B in the fastest possible set of movements.
Where Can You Get Nearly Invisible Braces?
If you are considering nearly invisible braces, you can get the best advice and outcome from a specialist orthodontist.
When choosing the right braces, your orthodontist will discuss things like your lifestyle, budget, and end-goal to determine the perfect variety for your orthodontic needs. Overall, braces are a commitment to follow your dental professional’s instructions and follow good oral hygiene practices to ensure your treatment runs smoothly.
Are you a candidate for nearly invisible braces? Book an appointment at Fine Orthodontics today to discuss your needs and desires.