Perfectly aligned teeth rejuvenate and enhance your smile. But a lot of people put off straightening their teeth to avoid wearing unattractive and visible metal braces. This can be easily solved by invisible braces which are a great alternative to traditional orthodontic treatment with metal brackets and wires.
Who can use invisible braces?
Invisible braces are recommended for older teenagers and adults for correcting orthodontic problems. They are not used in younger teenagers with baby teeth. Although invisible braces might not be suitable for certain complex teeth and jaw alignment issues, they can be used to treat a number of conditions such as crowded teeth, spaces or gaps in teeth, increased overbite or overjet and crooked teeth. Invisible braces are the perfect option for young adults and working professionals for whom esthetics is a prime concern.
The most common types of invisible braces are ceramic braces, lingual braces, and clear aligners. Each of these has its own indications and esthetic value.
They are tooth-colored brackets made of ceramic and are not easily noticeable as they blend with the color of your natural teeth. Although less conspicuous than metal braces, they are not completely hidden and are more visible than lingual braces and clear aligners. The brackets are larger than their metal counterpart and cannot be removed until the end of treatment. This can interfere with oral hygiene; eating and speech just like traditional brackets and can irritate the tissues of the mouth. The wire, which helps in tooth movement, is attached to these brackets with small rubber bands or ligatures.
‘Self-ligating’ braces are also available in ceramic braces. In self-ligating braces, clips are used instead of elastic bands to hold the wire in place. This makes brushing easier, leading to better oral hygiene as compared to metal braces. Also, precise control over the movement of teeth is ensured leading to better results. Simple and complex orthodontic problems can be corrected with these self-ligating braces.
Being weaker than metal braces, ceramic braces take a longer time to complete treatment as a more gradual and slow force needs to be applied to bring about the correction. Hence they are mostly used to correct mild to moderate issues with the front teeth where treatment is completed in a few months. Also, they are expensive as compared to metal braces. So to make treatment cost-effective a combination can be used by placing these braces only on the visible teeth and metal braces on the rest of the teeth.
Lingual braces are also known are ‘inside braces’ and are attached on the inside surfaces of your teeth which are by the tongue and the palate. Hidden from view they offer a great alternative to visible braces. Just like traditional metal braces, a bracket and wire system is used to correct teeth alignment problems. They are fixed to teeth and cannot be removed until the completion of treatment. Elastics can be used with them for faster treatment. A variety of orthodontic problems can be treated using these braces.
Cost is the downside as they are more expensive than traditional braces. A skillful orthodontist is needed to place and adjust them which adds to the expenses. They can be uncomfortable as they interfere with speech making pronouncing certain words difficult. Since they are placed by the side of your tongue, they can irritate your tongue. Being fixed, they are difficult to clean and make brushing, flossing and maintaining oral hygiene tough. Adjusting them is difficult so you might end up spending more amount of time during your visits to the orthodontist.
Various brands are available in the market for lingual braces like Incognito, iBraces, Suresmile Lingual QT, STB Light Lingual System, etc.
Clear aligners are a series of clear, removable aligners or trays that snugly fit your teeth to bring about tooth movement. This is the only removable type of orthodontic treatment and has revolutionized the way teeth are aligned. The aligners are made of a clear thermoplastic material that is extremely comfortable and brings about gradual movement of your teeth. Digital technology is used to plan your treatment virtually that makes it more accurate with predictable results. Also, you can see what your smile will look like beforehand. The aligners are fabricated using 3D technology and ensure precise control over the movement of teeth.
Each set of aligners has to be worn for 20-22 hours every day for about a period of 2 weeks; only to be replaced by the next one in the series. The total time to accomplish results depends on the complexity of the case but can vary from six months to a year and a half.
Clear aligners have a lot of benefits over traditional braces, the greatest being that they are removable. You can remove them whenever you want which is helpful especially for special occasions like birthday celebrations, weddings, convocations, etc. They are completely metal free, smooth, remarkably comfortable and don’t irritate the soft tissues of your mouth. Being made up of transparent material they are barely noticeable and the most aesthetic of all invisible braces. Brushing, flossing and keeping your mouth clean is easy as you can remove them. There are no food restrictions, unlike fixed braces. You can eat sticky, colored and crunchy food. The entire treatment is quicker and easier compared to other types of invisible braces since there is no process of attaching brackets and insertion of wires involved.
However, they are not suitable for very complex problems which are better treated with traditional braces. Also, they are more expensive than traditional braces.
There are many brands of invisible aligners out of which Invisalign is the most popular. Other brands which are less expensive but use the same technology, resources, and material and give the same results are also available.
Orthodontic treatment should be tailored according to your needs, expectations, and lifestyle. It can be a part of treating other cosmetic dental problems and smile makeover treatments. Invisible braces can completely transform your smile and your face for life. So it is a wise and important investment. There are many Orthodontists in Mumbai, India who use invisible braces to correct tooth alignment issues at an affordable cost. The cost of invisible braces will depend on the complexity of the problem as well as the type of braces that you choose. Visit your dentist or orthodontist today to get a consultation and determine if you are a candidate for invisible braces.