Modern technology and higher expectations for esthetics have led to the development of far less noticeable corrective appliances. Three such appliances include Invisalign®, “Clear” Braces, and Lingual Appliances. All three have their advantages and limitations.
The best known and widely used is Invisalign®. This consists of a series of plastic trays, similar to bleaching trays, that progressively adjust tooth position. These trays have the advantage of being the least noticeable (truly almost invisible) and are removable. The disadvantage is its limited ability to move teeth efficiently, thus making a given correction take longer than conventional braces, as well as inability to correct more difficult malocclusions to a quality finish. Case selection is important as only minor malocclusions in the adult dentition should be treated this way. We will advise you if you are a candidate for Invisalign® treatment at the initial exam
If you still wish an esthetic alternative but are too complex a case for Invisalign®, you have the option of “Clear” Braces. This is a fixed appliance set up that uses brackets made of tooth colored ceramic and white wires. The advantage is much less noticeable than conventional braces but can still tackle the complex cases. The disadvantage is it is a bit more expensive than metal braces and can take up to 30% longer to finish, however still a much better value than invisible plastic tray treatment as cost is lower and effectiveness is significantly higher.
A third option is growing in popularity again, but has been around for years, lingual braces. A popular name in this field is iBraces®. Basically, this is metal fixed appliances on the tongue side of the teeth. The advantages here are complete invisibility and relatively effective treatment that is comparable to conventional braces. The disadvantage is significantly higher costs, longer treatment time, and the obvious discomfort of having to feel and talk with braces on the tongue side of your teeth.
All three are possible treatment modalities that can work for properly selected patients. We as orthodontists will offer the best advice for the most appropriate option for you, as well as information regarding weighing each alternative.