Can you use invisible aligners instead of metal braces?

Invisalign Luton is a clear aligner based system and is one of the most subtle forms of orthodontic treatment. Braces have a long history of excellent use in clinics, with more than 100 years of straightening teeth. Who knows how many tens of thousands of patients owe their smiles to the humble traditional brace! But, due to the stigma associated with them and how tricky they can be to clean and maintain, it is a common question; would a clear aligner be appropriate for me, can my teeth be straightened without a metal brace?

What are they?

Clear aligners are transparent plastic trays that are worn over the teeth in much the same way as the gum shield. They are far thinner and lighter than a brace, which is in no small part due to the way the treatment is carried out. When using aligners, a whole series of them have to be used in the correct sequence, each aligner only has a duty cycle of about 2 weeks, during which they slowly push the teeth into a new position. They can only achieve small movements with each aligner, then they are exchanged for the next aligner which will continue the progression of the teeth until they are in their final positions. When using a traditional metal brace they are fitted at the beginning of treatment and only removed at the conclusion, meaning that they have to deal with more wear and tear for around 6 months to 3 years.

woman wearing invisalign

Clear aligners can be removed at any time making them far easier to wash and maintain. You are recommended to remove aligners during eating and there are few considerations when it comes to different types of food. This is different to braces, where any form of toffee or granular food can easily become trapped under the archwire or between the brackets. The limitation of the clear aligner is one of materials; it is not as rigid or robust as a metal brace. This limits the peak amount of force it can apply on teeth; it is not considered effective at altering the position of molars and is far better on the front teeth than at the back. It also cannot be used for changes in arch width. This is why the guidance and oversight of a competent dentist or orthodontist is required to make full use of clear aligners, ensuring that patients use the treatment options that would be effective, not just alluring.

That said, there are an awful lot of different kinds of clear aligners. Some of which are suitable at rotating teeth, correcting over and underbites and even crossbites. Even clinically important overcrowding or gapping can be rectified, as well as all aesthetic concerns about the front teeth.

Every case is unique and you won’t really be able to find out if a clear aligner treatment is suitable for you without getting guidance from your local dentist. So, for more information about clear aligners or orthodontics in general, it is advised to seek the advice of your local dentist or orthodontics team.

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