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What Are Invisible Braces and How Much Do They Cost

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Last Updated: September 30, 2020

Are you looking to straighten your teeth but don’t want to commit to traditional metal braces? With their brackets and wires, food restrictions, and frequent adjustment appointments, it’s understandable why you might not want to go that route. Luckily, there is another way to get your perfect smile that is becoming increasingly the preferred choice: invisible braces.

Although invisible braces have been available for a while, not everyone knows about their benefits. We’re here to help. If you want to know more, use this guide to learn all you need to know about invisible braces.

Introduction to Invisible Braces

When you choose invisible braces, sometimes called invisible aligners, for your orthodontic treatment, you get to skip the brackets and wires that come with the traditional metal braces. Instead of the metal brackets and wires, these braces use clear aligners that press over your teeth, much like a mouthguard or retainer for sports or nighttime use. You just wear your aligner at least 22 hours a day and it slowly pushes your teeth into the proper positions.

With invisible braces, you will be able to bypass the routine wire tightening adjustments that typify metal braces. To move onto the next phase of treatment, you switch to the next aligner in the sequence, which is just a bit different from the prior one. In most cases, you move onto the next aligner every two weeks, and no appointment is necessary to do so. This process continues until all your teeth are in the ideal position. With that, you’ll not only have the smile you’ve always wanted, but a healthy bite as well.

Benefits of Using Clear Aligners

Beyond providing the smile you seek, clear aligners come with tons of awesome benefits, such as:

Low-Key Appearance

Since the aligners are completely see through, they are virtually invisible to the people around you. They are less likely to make you feel self-conscious as a result, which is common with traditional braces. You can just go about your day without thinking about the aligners or worrying about a facing a barrage of questions about them.

Easier to Clean Your Teeth

The brackets for traditional braces bond straight to the surface of your tooth, and then the wires run through each one. All that hardware makes it extremely difficult to effectively brush and floss your teeth. Cavities are quite common as a result, especially if you don’t skip the sweets as recommended.

With invisible braces, you just pull the aligners out each time you need to brush and floss. Once you do that, all of your tooth surfaces are accessible with your normal toothbrush and floss. You can clean the aligners at the same time to further protect your teeth from cavity-causing bacteria.

Fewer Food Restrictions

Since it’s hard to clean around the brackets and wires, and they are easily damaged, traditional braces come with a ton of food restrictions. You can’t have anything sticky, crunchy, or too sweet, putting all your favorites on the back burner.

With invisible braces, you can pop out the aligner whenever you need to. After you eat or drink, simply rinse your mouth out with water and put the aligners back in to complete your 22 hours of wear time each day. No food restrictions necessary.

Lasting Results

Like traditional braces, clear aligners gradually move your teeth into their new position. The weeks between each aligner give your gums and other oral structures time to fully heal. At the end of the treatment period, the final healing process helps anchor your teeth in place permanently.

You will likely need to wear a retainer at night to keep your teeth from shifting back to their original position. Eventually, you may be able to go without it, but not always. The use of retainers is common after traditional braces, too, so there’s no difference there.

In order to achieve your goal of straight teeth, you have to commit to wearing the aligner as prescribed by your dentist. As long as you do that, you’re sure to get a perfect smile by the end of the treatment period.

Total Treatment Time

But how long will it take for the invisible braces to work their magic? Instead of the 12- to 24-month standard treatment time for traditional braces, clear aligners can straighten your teeth in 6 to 11 months.

However, while the numbers sound great, the total amount of time it takes will mostly depend on the starting position of your teeth and any other complicating factors. If you don’t wear your aligners as instructed, it could take longer, but since it’s so easy, that’s not likely to be a worry.

Cost Considerations for Invisible Braces

Treatment time greatly influences the cost of invisible braces, though it’s usually between $2,500 and $5,500. Overall, the price varies depending on the number of clear aligners needed, your dentist’s location and experience, and your unique oral health needs.

Dentists are happy to schedule a consultation appointment to help you understand what it might cost for invisible braces. They may need to take some x-rays and perform an exam to see the current placement of all your teeth.

With that information, they can create a treatment plan and quote out the cost. If any complications arise during treatment, which is rather rare, it may cost more than the quoted price.  

How to Get Straight Teeth with Clear Aligners

If you’re ready to get straight teeth using invisible braces, all it takes is a call to your dentist. They will help you find a convenient date and time to schedule a consultation appointment. You can ask them all the questions on your mind at that visit and see if the clear aligners are right for you. If not, they will provide other options you can consider as you start your journey toward perfecting your smile.