Lingual braces vs Invisalign: What is your best option?
Invisalign has become a huge competitor in the market for people wanting a relatively invisible solution to straightening their teeth. An older method, lingual braces, are hugely popular around the globe and have been a preferred method internationally for decades.
- Through direct-to-consumer marketing, Invisalign has taken the orthodontic world by storm with its clear aligner trays
- While it’s way more esthetic than traditional braces, many patients are concerned that the clear plastic and tooth-colored attachments are still noticeable to some people
- One often overlooked solution for patients who want a truly discreet and highly effective alternative to straightening their teeth is lingual or ‘hidden’ braces’
Make no mistake: I’m a big fan of Invisalign and think it’s a great solution for many patients
For those of you who don’t know much about it, Invisalign is basically a series of clear aligner trays that snap perfectly onto your teeth. You switch trays every one to two weeks as your teeth gradually straighten out and your bite improves over the course of several months to a couple years. Invisalign is removable, so it’s only working when you have the trays in. This means you’ve got to be disciplined about putting the trays back in after meals and brushing your teeth. Many patients also aren’t aware that essentially every Invisalign patient requires tooth-colored attachments on the front of their teeth to keep the trays in place and help them move more effectively. The result is a product that’s way more esthetic than traditional braces but perhaps slightly more noticeable than they imagined it would be. If attachments don’t sound all that bad and you want the convenience of being able to remove the trays when needed, Invisalign may be a great option for you!
For those of you who want something even more discreet, this is where lingual braces or ‘hidden’ braces come into play
Lingual braces are customized, digitally planned braces that go behind your teeth and are completely invisible from the front. They’ve been hugely popular in Europe and other parts of the world for decades but have gained little momentum in the States, perhaps because so few doctors are willing to offer them or because of an outdated perception that they aren’t affordable.
Lingual braces work almost exactly like traditional braces, which is to say they are highly effective at straightening your teeth and fixing your bite even in very complex cases. Before getting started with lingual orthodontics there are a few key things to be aware of. First, your tongue will hate you for about 2 weeks as it adapts to having the braces behind your teeth. You won’t get cuts on your tongue but it will feel swollen until it adapts. The other thing to be aware of is that your speech may be affected slightly as your tongue adapts to the braces. Almost every patient reports that these issues become irrelevant after about 1-2 weeks of treatment.
Lingual Braces vs Invisalign: The verdict
Both Invisalign and Lingual Braces offer patients a far more esthetic solution than traditional braces. While Invisalign wins the award for best marketing and a convenient product, lingual braces are a great option for those who want a perfect result and don’t want anyone to know they’re in the process of straightening their teeth.