The short answer is ‘no’. They’re actually quite different, which makes it difficult to choose an overall winner. The right choice for you will depend very much on your individual circumstances.
Your clinician will be able to advise you on the best brace for you – the one that will give you the best result and fit in with your lifestyle and budget. If you’re suitable for both options – the choice is ultimately yours. To help you make this very important decision, we’ve summarised the pros and cons of lingual braces and Invisalign.
Lingual braces pros and cons
Lingual braces pros
- The biggest advantage of lingual braces, without a doubt, is how discreet they are. The entire brace is placed behind your teeth, so face on there are no visible wires or brackets. Lingual braces are completely hidden and virtually undetectable (unless you get very close!). Many patients complete their treatment without friends, family or colleagues ever being aware of their braces – unless they choose to tell them, of course.
- Lingual braces use fixed brackets and wires to move teeth. This gives your clinician complete control over the movement of your teeth and allows them to treat both mild and complex cases precisely. Towards the end of your treatment they will be able to make small adjustments in order to get the very best results.
- Because lingual braces are attached to your teeth during treatment, there’s no risk of losing your brace and it’s always hard at work. The temptation to remove aligners can sometimes be too much for patients and they’re not worn for the required amount of time. This can have an impact on the length of treatment and even the final result.
Lingual braces cons
- Your mouth is a sensitive place, so any type of brace is unlikely to go unnoticed, but this can be particularly true of lingual braces. Some patients experience a slight lisp after they have their brace fitted. You may also find that your lingual brace rubs against your tongue, leading to some initial soreness and discomfort. Rest assured you will quickly adapt and your clinician will be able to give you some tips on how to manage these problems.
- It’s really important to keep your teeth clean during orthodontic treatment. Brackets and wires can provide food and plaque with lots of crevices to hide in. For some, lingual braces can be more difficult to keep clean because it’s hard to see exactly where you’re brushing. We recommend using a dental mirror and allowing a little extra time. You can also use disclosing tablets to highlight any areas that you’re missing. These work by staining the plaque a bright colour so you can then brush it away.
- Lingual orthodontics requires a high level of expertise as well as specialist materials. Some lingual braces are custom-made to fit the more irregular back surfaces of the teeth. Incognito braces, for example, are manufactured in Germany using a gold alloy and each bracket is carefully crafted just for you. These factors are reflected in the price of lingual braces, which usually cost more than other ‘invisible’ alternatives such as Invisalign and clear fixed braces.
Invisalign pros and cons
- Invisalign may not be invisible but it’s certainly discreet. There’s no trace of metal and the aligners are made from a transparent material originally developed by NASA. Some patients will need Invisalign attachments, which are small buttons that we attach to your teeth in order to achieve certain movements. Rest assured these attachments are tooth-coloured and designed to blend in with your teeth. Compared to clear fixed or traditional metal braces, Invisalign is a very inconspicuous option.
- Undoubtedly Invisalign’s removable aligners are one its big benefits. Not only can you take your brace out to give your teeth a thorough brush and floss, but you can remove your aligners to enjoy all your favourite foods. There’s no need to worry about brackets getting knocked off or leftover morsels of food getting caught in your brace. You can even take your aligners out for special occasions – just make sure you’re wearing them for the recommended minimum of 20 hours a day.
- The Invisalign ClinCheck is another big advantage. Before your aligners are even made, your treatment will be carefully planned from start to finish using CAD/CAM software. We’ll be able to show you a digital representation of your teeth, so you can see their planned movement throughout your treatment. You’ll even be able to see your planned end result, which can be a great motivator.
- Invisalign really is an amazing brace, and it’s been used to straighten millions of smiles worldwide. However, it’s not suitable for every case and very complex problems such as severely rotated teeth will most likely require fixed braces. It’s always improving though, so watch this space.
- As a removable brace, there is the risk of Invisalign aligners becoming lost or even broken when they’re not being worn. You can minimise this risk by putting them straight in their protective case. If the worst does happen, get in touch with your clinician as soon as you can.
- All of your Invisalign aligners will be manufactured at the beginning of your treatment based on your digital treatment plan. Sometimes, due to various factors, your treatment can deviate slightly from its planned course. This means, in order to get the best results, you might need some additional aligners at the end of your treatment. This involves taking new impressions of your teeth and may make your treatment slightly longer than expected.
Hopefully you now have a good idea of how lingual braces and Invisalign compare. To find out more about both options, we’d be delighted to see you for a free no-obligation consultation*.