Braces are often the best solution to crooked teeth, but unfortunately, some adults are put off by their appearance. Negative associations with train tracks and awkward teens have done little to help.
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For some, it may come as a welcome surprise to learn that metal braces aren’t your only option. Orthodontists can now transform smiles using a choice of understated teeth straightening treatments.
Here are some of the most popular invisible braces available right now.
Invisalign is a clear aligner system. It looks – and feels – very different to traditional fixed braces. It works using a series of clear, removable aligners, which should be worn for 20–22 hours every day.
Your treatment will start with a digital scan of your teeth, which your orthodontist will use to plan your treatment. You’ll get to approve a 3D video showing you how your teeth will move and how long your treatment will take.
You’ll need to wear each set of aligners for 1–2 weeks to reposition your teeth little by little. You can take your aligners out to eat and drink and clean your teeth.
Invisalign is very discreet – your aligners will be virtually invisible and custom-made to closely fit your teeth and follow your gumline.
Other brands of clear aligners are available, but results can vary, so do your research.
Clear ceramic braces are a discreet version of metal braces. They work the same way: small brackets are attached to your teeth and controlled using a thin metal wire.
The key difference is the brackets are made from translucent ceramic instead of metal. This helps them to blend in with your teeth, whatever their shade.
Ceramic braces aren’t as inconspicuous as Invisalign but still a stealthy alternative to metal.
Ceramic braces are popular amongst teens and adults. Some people prefer fixed braces to removable aligners because they can’t go missing, and you don’t need to think about taking them in and out to eat and drink.
Like metal braces, ceramic braces are very precise and suitable for a wide range of cases.
Lingual braces also fix to your teeth. However, they subtly attach behind your teeth, hidden from sight.
Incognito lingual braces feature custom-made gold brackets that are designed to fit each tooth. From the front, you wouldn’t know that you’re wearing a brace. They’re incredibly discreet and virtually undetectable.
Lingual braces require special expertise, so they’re less readily available than Invisalign and ceramic braces and can be more expensive. Your appointments with your orthodontist might also take a bit longer.
Because of their location, lingual braces can be more uncomfortable when they’re first fitted. They might rub your tongue, and your teeth might ache as they start to straighten.
Eventually, you will get used to wearing braces behind your teeth, and you’ll quickly start to see results.
Whichever brace you choose, you’ll need to wear retainers indefinitely to keep your teeth straight afterwards. Luckily, these are invisible, too.
Your orthodontist will provide you with either clear retainers, fixed retainers or both.
Clear retainers fit over your teeth like a mouthguard (or Invisalign) to hold them straight. Fixed retainers are thin metal wires that are cemented behind your front teeth.
Both types of retainers will quickly become part of your daily routine, and they’re more than worth the effort to maintain your new smile.