Invisible braces have become a popular option for those looking for discreet and effective orthodontic treatment for straightening teeth. They come in different types, each with unique benefits and considerations.
Our guide to Types of Invisible Braces explores the options, including clear aligners, ceramic braces, and lingual braces, and highlights the pros and cons of each. Discover which invisible braces may be the best fit for you.
What are Invisible Braces and How Do They Work?
Invisible braces are orthodontic devices designed to help straighten teeth discreetly. They include teeth straightening solutions such as clear braces, lingual braces, and clear aligners.
Clear braces are similar to traditional metal braces in that brackets and wires are used, but the material is tooth-colored rather than metal. Lingual braces are placed behind the teeth so they’re not visible when smiling, talking, or laughing. Clear aligners look like a mouthguard and are worn over the teeth, typically for up to 22 hours per day while gradually shifting teeth into their desired positions.
While invisible braces might not work for every patient’s unique dental situation, they typically offer patients the same results as conventional braces with more comfort and convenience.
Who are Invisible Braces For?
This form of braces is ideal for teens and adults who want to correct problems with overbites, underbites, crooked teeth, or gaps between teeth. Invisible braces are an effective way to get the straight smile that many people desire while allowing them to maintain a natural appearance during their course of treatment.
Types of Invisible Braces
Clear braces are also known as ceramic, invisible, or plastic braces and are made from a light-reactive material that can blend in with the natural color of one’s teeth.
Clear braces work similarly to traditional metal braces, but their clear nature makes them less visible, making it easier for people who want to remain discreet about their treatment.
The brackets that attach to each tooth use crystal-clear and tooth-colored elastics as ligatures which also help them blend into the background and make it hard for others to notice. They do not contain any metals so are more gentle on gums and cheeks than traditional metal braces.
The average time of treatment with clear braces ranges from 1-3 years depending on the severity of the case being dealt with.
Although they don’t require any special hygiene procedures, it is important to maintain good oral hygiene practices while wearing clear braces to ensure an effective treatment process with desired results.
See our article: Clear Braces on The Top and Bottom Teeth.
Lingual braces offer the opportunity to straighten your teeth without traditional metal braces. They are crafted from a special type of lightweight, durable metal alloy and are bonded to the back side of your teeth for a completely undetectable look.
Since lingual braces cannot be seen, you can go through your entire treatment without worrying about people noticing that you have braces.
Orthodontic treatment with lingual braces takes longer in preparation time and treatment typically lasts about 12-30 months depending on how much orthodontic correction is needed. After that time frame, patients can expect their teeth to noticeably shift closer together into a more uniform position and shape.
Clear aligners are a modern orthodontic treatment that offers patients a discrete and aesthetic solution to realigning their smiles. Each aligner is custom-made from a thin and clear medical grade polymer, designed to slowly move teeth into proper alignment.
Treatment times vary based on individual cases, but on average, clear aligners are worn for 12 months or less. Every two weeks, the patient progresses to a new aligner as prescribed by the orthodontist.
Moving through the series of increasingly sophisticated trays encourages the teeth to move in cycles until they reach the final position. Patients enjoy additional benefits such as easily removable aligners which allow access to brushing and flossing whereas brackets have difficulty with cleaning around them efficiently.
Most importantly, because these aligners are entirely translucent and smooth, they virtually go unnoticed which means they assist with self-confidence issues when a patient is undertaking teeth straightening treatment.
See our article: Invisible Braces – How They Work?
How Much Do They Cost?
Clear braces are a more expensive solution than traditional metal braces. Metal braces typically cost anywhere from $2000-$7000 depending on the severity of the alignment issues. Clear braces are slightly more around $3000-$8000.
Lingual braces take more time to fit and this does affect the overall cost of having them fitted. The cost for treatment can be anywhere from $6000-$13000 depending on the scope of the issue with unstraightened teeth.
Clear aligners are the cheapest option starting from around $1000 and up to $5500. There tend to be more special offers available with aligner-producing companies so it is sometimes even cheaper than this.
The cost of teeth straightening treatments depends mainly on the severity of the issue as this will increase the amount of work and appointments needed to maintain a positive conclusion to treatment. Also, some of the materials used in different products are more expensive, and when items are custom-made cost increases too.
Which Braces Work Fastest?
Clear braces, although more visually appealing than their metal counterpart, tend to take slightly longer to correct teeth issues than the more traditional metal braces. This is because metal braces can be tightened more than ceramic or plastic. On average treatment with clear braces takes around 16-18 months, but can sometimes take longer or less if the condition is minor.
Lingual braces take longer to produce than other options of braces with a production time of around 6-8 weeks. They take a similar time overall to work as traditional metal or clear braces. Despite the length of time for treatment patients will start seeing a difference in their teeth within a few months.
Aligners are the fastest option and tend to create noticeable results in mild cases within 6 months and on average in around 12 months. The speed of resolution is dependent mainly on the habits of the user and the ability to maintain adherence to the guidelines of usage set by an orthodontist.
An article by the Dental Health Society states that the complexity of the misalignment being treated will determine what type of treatment is recommended. Aligners are best for mild or moderate issues with straightening teeth, crookedness, or crowding. Traditional braces are the preferred option for more severe cases that include overbites, underbites, and crossbites.
The more severe the case the longer it will take to straighten teeth.
See our article: Quickest Way to Straighten Teeth.
Which Invisible Braces Should You Choose?
If a patient has a severe teeth straightening issue it is recommended to opt for either clear or lingual braces. Clear braces are the best option for someone who wants to start their treatment sooner as lingual braces can have a longer preparation time.
Lingual braces however do offer increased discretion to clear braces as they sit behind the teeth and are completely invisible.
Aligners are the best option for patients with mild to mid-level issues with their teeth. These are the quickest to prepare in terms of starting treatment, and the most affordable. They also offer an effective result for treatment and require much less maintenance.
Here is a selection of the best clear aligners with pros and cons.
Byte Review – Ideal for mild to moderate teeth straightening issues with a lifetime guarantee included.
NewSmile Review – Offers a cheaper pricing and monthly plan cost than other products and no down payment is required. Each purchase also receives a free whitening foam and retainer.
SmileDirectClub Review – They offer a free one-time replacement should you lose or break your aligners. You can visit one of their in-store Smile Shops if you are not able to take impressions of your mouth by yourself.
Candid Review – The most similar in design to Invisalign aligners this product includes an orthodontist being assigned to your care and to track your progress throughout the treatment.
ALIGNERCO Review – A low price with seasonal discount packages available from only $945 with no down payment on monthly payment plans.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the Most Effective Invisible Braces?
The most effective invisible braces largely depend on the severity of the issue it is being used to treat.
For very severe teeth straightening issues it is best to stick with more traditional braces such as clear braces. Lingual braces are as effective but are at an increased cost and require more maintenance and appointments.
Clear aligners are the most effective for mild teeth straightening issues and also give results in a shorter time.
Are There Different Types of Invisible Braces?
There are several types of braces but the most popular are clear braces, lingual braces, or clear aligners.
Clear braces are made of clear materials and sit on your teeth in the same way as metal braces but offer more discretion. Lingual braces sit inside your teeth so are completely invisible. Clear aligners sit over the teeth and their transparent nature makes them practically invisible to anyone else.