Invisible Braces Guide

Whereas at one time wearing braces was something that was noticed by everyone, these days Invisible braces mean that only you might know you are wearing them..

The best known kind of Invisible braces are called Invisalign. Developed ten years ago by Align technology they are a totally different kind of orthodontic sytem to traditional braces.

Invisalign are not only clear braces, they are also removable. Created from a mold of the patient's own teeth they are a series of aligners that move the teeth from their starting position to a more desirable position where teeth are correctly aligned.

The name Invisalign is derived from a combination of the words "Invisible" and "align"

Invisible Braces Poll...

Are Invisible Braces (Invisalign) Really Invisible?

  • I don't know. I've never seen anyone wearing them
  • No! I have seen them and I don't think they're invisible
  • Yes! I have seen them and I think they are invisible braces
See results without voting

Invisible Braces Being Worn

A patient wearing Invisible Braces
A patient wearing Invisible Braces

How Do Invisible Braces Work?

Invisible braces (or Invisalign) works by very gradually moving a patients teeth into place. This is done by using a series of clear plastic trays or "aligners". Each one is slightly different to the one before and moves the teeth a tiny bit closer to its final aligned position.

The first stage in getting Invisalign is to have molds taken. This is done by the Invisalign provider, either an Invisalign dentist or orthodontist. A rubber like substance is used to create a perfect mold of the patients starting teeth position.

This mold is then sent away to Align who scan the mold and make a computer 3D model of the patient's teeth. The computer then creates a simulation of how the teeth should move to become perfectly aligned. This simulation (known as a clincheck) is then used to create a series of aligners.

The number of aligners varies between different patients, some taking only a few weeks to complete treatment, some taking up to a number of years for extremely complex cases. The average treatment time is only one year.

Invisalign are worn for 22 hours a day, being removed only for eating and brushing. Failure to wear Invisalign for the specified number of hours a day can mean that they do not work as expected so patient compliance is very important.

Invisalign Clincheck Video

Invisible Braces Comparison.

Invisible braces vs Metal braces
Invisible braces vs Metal braces

Are Invisible Braces REALLY Invisible?

Although Invisalign are known as invisible braces I think that a more accurate term might be "almost invisible braces"

In my experience, Invisalign are genuinely clear, but are not 100% invisible as they do make teeth look just a little shinier than usual. If you look at the picture above of a new Invisalign patient wearing their braces you can see that the teeth are just a bit more shiny than natural teeth.

Another reason that Invisalign are not completely invisible is because of attachments or buttons. These are small blobs of tooth colored substance that are attached to some of the teeth to help to give the aligners more grip when they are doing very complex movements. Not every patient requires attachments but most do.

One thing that is certain though is that invisible braces are substantially less noticeable than even the clear type of conventional braces.

How Much Do Invisible Braces Cost?

Invisible Braces on average cost about the same as traditional braces.

Invisible braces prices vary according to several factors. These include your location (how expensive the dentists costs are, and how much competition there is), your dentist or orthodontist's experience with Invisalign, the complexity of your case and what your Invisalign package includes.

On average Invisalign cost around $5000US, BUT this varies enormously by where you are in the world. In New York for instance, Invisible braces cost far more than this on average. In the UK they generally costs slightly less.

However, when choosing which dentist or orthodontist to get your Invisalign through, you should remember that Invisalign outcome is determined by your orthodontist, not by Invisalign themselves. This means that you should not select your provider on the basis of cost alone.

Want To Whiten Your Teeth At Home? What Orthodontist Use

Invisible Braces For Adults

Although there is a system known as Invisalign Teen, many of the patients for invisible braces are actually adults. This is because they fit far better into an adults lifestyle than traditional braces.

One reason is because they are removable, which means they can be removed for an important date or meeting. The other is simply that from a social distance they are vitually undetectable.

The other great thing about Invisalign is that it is PAIN FREE. Whilst there may be slight pressure on the teeth when a new aligner is worn, there is not any actual pain. This is unlike traditional braces which can cause sores and pain throughout the mouth.

Many patients who would not otherwise have considered orthodontics (including myself!) love Invisalign for all of these reasons.

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