Everything you've ever wanted to know about Invisible Braces
Adult orthodontics is on the rise, thanks largely to their affordability, the speed in which teeth can now be straightened and mostly that there is a range of invisible braces that can help restore your confidence in your smile – without anyone else knowing.
Never before have there been so many different options to realign crooked teeth as more and more more dentists offer cosmetically focused, easy-to-wear system-based orthodontic treatments.
But, how do we know which choice is most suitable for our needs?
Clear braces are a simple affordable series of clear positioning trays, which gently guide teeth from their present to the desired position. There are a number of systems that offer clear orthodontic solutions.
Instead of brackets and wires, removable braces are aligners – a little like a mouthguard design – that can be conveniently removed for big occasions when you do not wish to wear them – or for eating and drinking.
Several sets are made for each patient and each set is worn for two weeks before being replaced with the next one, which means regular visits to the dentist who can keep an eye on progress.
They tick the boxes for those of us who are concerned with cleaning teeth properly or fear food getting trapped behind wires, making it easier to maintain good oral hygiene.
The discretion of these aligners has been one of the key drivers in the popularity of the treatment system with patients as they can be removed for short periods of time to allowing patients a degree of flexibility and freedom not afforded by more traditional orthodontics.
Because of the way they are designed, invisible orthodontics are very often aimed at delivering results in as little as four to six months and are therefore likely have limited objectives.
Generally, they are aimed at less complex malocclusion issues and some are focused solely on straightening the upper front teeth in the smile line.
They are not ordinarily suitable for patients who have issues with their bite or who are looking for all aspects of both upper arches to be improved. This means that invisible braces are not for everyone.
However, if it’s improved aesthetics you’re seeking, with little correction, these are definitely an option.
A beautiful smile with newly aligned teeth comes with the additional benefit of better hygiene – it’s far easier to clean your teeth when they are in a straight line!
Those patients who wear them can brush and floss their teeth normally and effectively and reduce the risk of periodontal disease.
So, what are your options?
Invisalign are clear, removable braces that are effective and virtually invisible.
The system works by repositioning teeth using a series of custom-made clear aligners that are changed every two weeks.
They’re ideally suited for easy maintenance of teeth and gums because they can be taken out before brushing and flossing and before eating.
They are also comfortable and easy to wear for those with active lifestyles because they can easily be removed for sports – Olympic cyclists Laura Kenny and husband Jason both underwent Invisalign treatment before their wedding day – and the aligners are a great option for those who may wish to remove them for important occasions or for people who have to do a lot of public speaking.
Smilelign is a UK-based alternative to metal braces, delivering the smile you have always wanted by a series of removable, virtually-invisible ‘aligners’ that use the same principles of traditional orthodontics (applying pressure to gradually move teeth).
SmileTRU is another clear aligner option; the transparent sequential positioner system offers comfort and convenience, while Damon braces work using the same principle as traditional wires and bracket braces (or train tracks) but they have clear brackets, make them more appealing from an aesthetics point of view.
ClearCorrect is suited to those who would like a less, more discreet solution to the traditional approach of visible, wired and fixed braces.
Lingual braces, meanwhile, are bonded to the back of the teeth, nicely hiding them from view. They are custom-made to fit your mouth, which helps make them efficient, effective – and, of course, less intrusive.
Incognito braces are, as the name suggests, invisible. They are custom-made to suit each individual and are typically made of cast-gold, which are then fitted to the inside surface of the teeth.
Once you’ve decided to have your teeth straightened, you should aim to choose an orthodontic or dentist with specialists who have vast experience in the field.
Once any teeth-straightening treatment is completed, your dentist or orthodontist will advise you to wear retainers to stop your new straight teeth from moving. The best advice is that retention is a lifelong commitment so if you wish your smile remains forever, you will need to accept that you will have to wear them indefinitely.
Options include custom-fitted flexible removable retainers or wire retainers that are fixed to the back of your teeth – or a combination of the two. You’ll need one that is effective, durable and may wish for something discreet, comfortable and hygienic, too.
Your dentist will be able to advise.