Invisible braces are popular among adults who want to correct their teeth without having others notice. Some opt for clear braces, others for aligners, such as Invisalign.
Clear braces work like traditional braces, except that they use ceramic brackets instead of metal ones. These match the color of your teeth, so they are not quite as apparent as traditional metal braces. The benefit of clear braces versus Invisalign is that they use arch-wires, which will align your teeth more efficiently. One significant disadvantage to clear braces is that you cannot use them on your lower teeth. Ceramic is harder than enamel and may damage your teeth.
Clear braces also can stain your teeth if you smoke, drink a lot of coffee, or eat curry often. While clear braces are less noticeable than metal ones, they are not going to be as subtle as Invisalign aligners, which are virtually impossible to detect.
Are Other Aligner Options Available?
Since Invisalign first offered an alternative to traditional braces, a few other clear aligner solutions have come onto the market. These include Clear Solutions and Smile Direct Club aligners.
Invisalign and Clear Solutions aligners follow a relatively similar procedure. You will meet with an orthodontist or dentist for a consultation. They will make an impression of your teeth, then scan it into the computer to design your customized trays. Just like Invisalign, you must switch out your Clear Solutions trays every two weeks. The main difference between the two is the material: Clear Solution uses soft plastic, while Invisalign is a product called SmartTrack.
SmartTrack is a very elastic type of plastic. After a couple of days, other aligners tend to slacken, losing their effectiveness in moving your teeth. SmartTrack’s elasticity allows it to maintain its grip on your teeth, giving you the best possible results from your aligners.
Invisalign also offers a unique feature for teenagers called a ‘compliance indicator,’ which monitors to ensure that the patient uses the aligners for the full 20-22 hours a day, as required.
Weighing the Pros and Cons
Clear Correct aligners are less expensive than Invisalign, which can cost anywhere from $4,500 to $8,000. The most affordable option for aligners is Smile Direct Club.
Smile Direct Club offers a do-it-yourself treatment that is considerably less expensive than any other aligner on the market. Patients are responsible for getting the impressions done on their teeth. They can do this at a local Smile Center, or possibly even at home. Patients will also take photos of their teeth, which they will send to Smile Direct Club.
A health specialist at Smile Direct Club reviews these impressions and sends the patient alignment trays. Patients then are responsible for monitoring their own treatments.
The American Association of Orthodontists is resistant to endorse Smile Direct Club, partly because it puts a dent in its members’ revenues. But, more important, it removes the intervention of a health professional. Smile Direct Club offers 24/7 customer service, but patients don’t receive any professional advice if a more complicated procedure is necessary.
That said, the Smile Direct Club aligners are very similar to those of Invisalign and Clear Solution, but the lack of professional intervention reduces their cost drastically. Smile Direct Club offers its treatment for a one-time payment of $1,850. If patients opt to purchase their retainers one tray at a time, they pay $85 per month, for a total price tag of $2,290 for a 24-month plan.