When you want a less obvious look for your orthodontic treatment, you’ve come to the right place. Our Grand Rapids, MI, orthodontists offer both lingual braces and Invisalign® clear aligners for patients to choose from. Both allow you to go about your treatment in a more subtle way but don’t compromise on effectiveness.
But which one is right for you? Here are a few similarities and differences between the two options so you can make an informed decision.
There’s a greater chance you’ve heard of Invisalign aligners before you’ve heard of lingual braces. However, this doesn’t mean that lingual braces couldn’t also appeal to someone in search of an understated look while straightening their teeth. It all depends on what you’re comfortable with and willing to commit to for a period of time.
Lingual braces look like metal braces but instead of placing the brackets and wires on the fronts of your teeth, Dr. Miller will adhere them to the backs or “lingual” side. In other words, you won’t be able to see them if you smile in the mirror, but they’ll be there! Custom brackets are also designed before placement so they fit the unique shape of your teeth.
Invisalign doesn’t involve any metal components whatsoever and consists of a series of clear top and bottom trays that fit over your teeth much like a retainer. Unlike lingual braces, the aligners are removable but must also stay in place for at least 22 hours a day. If you choose this option, you need to remain committed to the process and wear your aligner sets as instructed.
For cases of minor misalignment, the lingual braces process and Invisalign treatment are similar in terms of results and speed. If your dental needs are more severe, Dr. Miller will have to reassess and possibly pick another form of treatment for you.
Neither lingual braces or Invisalign aligners are going to stand out as much as traditional braces. One is completely clear and the other is not front-facing. However, despite clear aligners being exactly that, clear, they are still slightly more visible than their lingual opponent.
That’s because lingual braces are completely hidden with no wires or brackets showing. It doesn’t matter if you’re eating, smiling, or talking. They’ll stay obscured by your teeth and will be harder to spot by your friends or family. Invisalign, on the other hand, are difficult to see from a distance but up close, they are detectable especially if Dr. Miller bonds tooth-colored buttons to your teeth in order to help the trays snap into place.
Lingual braces may be slightly ahead in the appearance competition, but they fall to second place when it comes to general comfort during treatment. Of course, lingual braces will take some getting used to and can still become more enjoyable to wear over time.
What tips the scales in Invisalign’s favor is the way lingual braces subject the tongue to friction and wire poking. Clear aligners have no wires or brackets that pose that risk although they do exert pressure on teeth to influence their movement. While there is going to be soreness any time you start orthodontic treatment, the discomfort associated with Invisalign is more short-lived.
Daily brushing and flossing are also going to be easier with Invisalign, though you will need to be sure to care for each aligner or risk staining. Much like with regular braces, lingual braces require special attention as food can become stuck underneath components.
Due to lingual braces being more specialized and requiring custom brackets, they are more expensive overall compared to Invisalign aligners. For teen patients, Invisalign costs between $3,000 and $7,000 whereas it can go up to $9,000 for adults. Lingual braces are likely to range from $6,000 to $13,000 depending on the patient’s needs.
It is more difficult to fit the lingual brackets onto the inside of each tooth versus the outside. This translates to a more time-intensive process which can be reflected in the cost. We do offer flexible payment plans at Miller Orthodontics that work with your budget. Just let us know your situation and we’ll do our best to make it easier for you.
No matter what you choose, our orthodontists in Grand Rapids, MI, will work to make sure you end up with a beautiful smile in the end. Call Miller Orthodontics today at (616) 803-8938 to request an appointment and learn more about what form of orthodontic treatment works for you.