Dental braces are a common treatment for many conditions, both cosmetic and medical. In recent years, removable and invisible braces have become available, which use clear aligners to straighten the teeth. Are they really a suitable solution for everyone?
The biggest advantage to clear aligners is that they are not obvious. Although braces are only a temporary treatment and should lead to a vast improvement in the appearance of your teeth and your smile, many people find them unattractive and do not want anyone to know they are wearing them. Teenagers in particular can suffer self-esteem issues from wearing ordinary braces. Invisible braces can win both ways by offering long-term correction and improvement without the short-term nuisance of a wired mouth.
The fact that they are removable is also a huge advantage. They can be taken out at mealtimes, meaning that patients do not have to change their diets or restrict the kinds of food they eat. They can also be removed for tooth cleaning, which means you can carry on with your normal oral hygiene routine, and the aligners themselves will always stay clean, as they are replaced every couple of weeks.
The biggest problem with invisible braces is that they may simply not be suitable for everyone. More serious dental problems may need traditional braces to treat them; invisible braces may not be good enough.
Some dentists also do not believe they are suitable for children. Children may lack the discipline to put up with an uncomfortable situation and may simply remove the braces when they are not supposed to or forget to put them back in after meals (and it is worth remembering that some teenagers and adults may suffer from the same lack of discipline). Children can also lose or damage the braces during play. Although these aligners are removable, they are designed to be worn full time, and the treatment may not work if they are left out for too long.
Finally, invisible braces are likely to cost more than traditional braces.
If you are worried about the appearance of a metal brace on your teeth, invisible braces can provide an effective and undetectable solution. However, you should take advice from your dentist and make sure they will actually do the job required. Ceramic braces are available, which will be harder to see. Ultimately, it is the long-term effect that is most important.