All About Invisible BracesPublished by Cashion Dental on April 28, 2016
Invisible braces have revolutionized the process of straightening misaligned teeth and are becoming an ever more popular choice as their track record of success grows longer, wider, and more well known. Traditional braces were once the only viable option, but today, Invisalign and other other “invisible” alternatives are making it possible to achieve a perfect smile without going months or even years with the discomfort and unsightliness of a mouth full of metal wires and brackets.
Which Dental Problems Can Invisible Braces Solve?
Invisible braces can be used in most situations where traditional metal braces are used. There are, however, a few limitations. First, invisible braces were designed primarily for older teens and adults rather than for children. It is not best to use them in mouths that still contain baby teeth. Second, there are certain dental issues that still require metal braces, though these are not at all, the majority of cases—your dentist will be able to advise you on whether you have such a condition. Some of the main problems that invisible braces can help solve include: over-bite, teeth spaced too tightly or too widely, and crooked teeth.
What Kinds of Invisible Braces Are There?
There are several different kinds of invisible braces now available on the market. We want to focus here on clear acrylic aligners like Invisalign, but first, we will briefly mention two of the “other” types of invisible braces:
- Ceramic braces: these are like metal braces except that the brackets are made of a white/clear ceramic material. They are weaker than metal and thus take longer to adjust your teeth. They are larger than metal brackets, but blend in with your teeth better. They are held in place with rubber bands or clips that need no retying, but wires must be adjusted monthly and the brackets easily stain. Ceramic braces also generally cost more than metal braces.
- “Inside” braces: this type of braces is invisible because it hides behind the back of your teeth—usually only the upper teeth but sometimes lower teeth as well. Computerized technologies are used to photograph the back of your teeth and create customized brackets that fit snugly there. Drawbacks include: higher cost, relatively few dentists who provide them, affects on speech, discomfort, and difficulty in keeping down plaque on the inside of your teeth.
Clear Aligners, such as Invisalign and ClearCorrect, gradually nudge teeth into position by exerting gentle but steady pressures at strategic points. The aligners are transparent, and many people do not even notice them on the wearer. A series of aligners is created at the beginning of treatment, and each new aligner picks up where the last one left off in the re-alignment process. All aligners are customized to each patient’s mouth and are manufactured at a lab based on 3D impressions your dentist will take during the initial visit. New aligner sets will be provided at intermediate visits if necessary, but the number of aligners needed to complete the process varies greatly based on the condition of your teeth. You may also need “revision aligners” at the end to “touch up” any details that are not yet perfected.
What Are the Benefits of Invisible Braces?
There are many benefits to correcting tooth misalignments with invisible as opposed to traditional braces. These include, but are not limited to:
- Invisible braces (clear aligners) are not easily noticed and do not cloud or stain easily.
- They are more comfortable to wear, there being no wires and metal brackets to poke at your lips, cheeks, and gums.
- This type of braces can be removed at meal times, during exercise/sports, and during brushing/flossing. They must be worn for 22 hours per day, but limit your lifestyle less and are easier to clean.
- Dental appointments are only about once every 4 to 6 weeks, making it easier on people with busy schedules.
- In the case of Invisalign Teen, you get up to 6 replacement aligners free of charge if any are lost/broken.
- Treatment time is usually shorter. It takes about 18 to 24 months to complete metal braces treatment. Invisalign often takes 15 months or less, while ClearCorrect averages 12 to 24 months. The average number of aligners needed with Invisalign is 20 to 30.
How Much Do Invisible Braces Cost?
The price of braces is highly variable since it is affected by a multitude of factors, including: difficulty/complexity of your condition, length of treatment required, geographic region, specific dental office involved, and more. Nonetheless, on average, traditional braces tend to range from $2,500 to $7,000, while invisible braces are often within the range of $3,000 to $5,000. Thus, the cost of metal vs. invisible braces is about the same overall. It may be a little more or a little less at a specific dentist’ office or for a particular case.
Keep in mind that your dentist may well offer help with financing and that your dental insurance plan will likely cover invisible braces in the same way it covers traditional braces. You will have to do some research and ask your dentist a few questions, but the main point is that invisible braces are not at all too difficult to finance as compared with metal braces.
Who Is Qualified to Provide Me With Invisible Braces?
Not all dentists are qualified to give you the invisible braces option. With Invisalign, for example, a certification process is required by the manufacturers to ensure their products are being administered only be dentists fully trained on how to handle them. At present, there are tens of thousands of general dental practitioners who have Invisalign training, along with many orthodontists. Also keep in mind that special cleansers and other “peripheral” products accompanying Invisalign can only be purchased through a dentist holding Invisalign certification.
Invisible braces have many benefits that traditional braces lack. Ask your dentist if your teeth can be treated without resort to metal wires and brackets. If your dentist doesn’t offer invisible braces, look for a dentist with the necessary training.