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Invisalign vs Invisible Braces

25 June 2019

Invisalign vs invisible braces. It's likely you've come across these terms before if you've researched 'teeth straightening' or 'orthodontics'.

invisible braces
invisalign teeth

We understand. It can be confusing trying to decipher the differences and pros and cons of both Invisalign and clear or invisible braces.

Before we do let’s explain what both are:

What is Invisalign?

what is invisalign Dr.Niall Vallely
Invisalign Explained By Dr. Niall Vallely Invisalign

Uses a series of clear plastic aligners (retainers) to move the teeth in a controlled manner based on computer generated guidance.

You get to see the end results before you start the process from a scan of your teeth.

Usually, small tags are applied to the teeth to aid the tooth movement. These are removed at the end of treatment.

What is Invisible (Clear) Braces?

Invisible or clear braces use clear glass like ceramic brackets to move the teeth with a wire that can be white or metal coloured. These work in the same way as the metal type brackets we are all so familiar with.

These are bonded on and removed at the end of treatment. 

With clear braces, staining is possible so certain types of food are best avoided e.g. curry. Some clear braces are self-ligating (no elastics) and stain up less.

They are however a little more expensive. View all our orthodontic prices on our orthodontics price list page.

Visit our earlier post on Types of Dental Braces for Adults to get a better understanding of the range of braces available.

The Differences Between Invisalign and Invisible Braces

Invisalign - Evelyn - before - 3dental
Invisalign - Evelyn - after - 3dental

Evelyn - (Click to enlarge)

Invisalign

Both types of braces are clear or invisible. However, Invisalign and clear braces are completely different systems.

Both are highly aesthetic and almost invisible except up close. Look at Evelyn's beautiful smile after Invisalign treatment!

Also, don't forget to check out our full range of before and after pictures in our smile gallery.

Let's break down the differences as follows:

FactorInvisalignInvisible Clear Braces
RemovabilityDesigned to be removable. You take them out when eating and brushing your teeth. But you still need to wear them most of the day and night.Bonded to the teeth and can only be removed when the braces are taken off.
Number of AdjustmentsInvisalign requires a new set of aligners every 2 weeks.Adjusted every month or so to allow the teeth to move.
Cost€ 3,500From €1,400 per single arch
Payment plans availableYesYes

Both cases can treat various types of crowding, spacing and malalignment of teeth.

Find out more about the cost of Invisalign in our post entitled: How Much Is Invisalign?

Which Treatment Am I Most Suitable For?

Invisalign vs Invisible Braces - before - 3Dental
Invisalign vs Invisible Braces - after - 3Dental

Before and After (Click to enlarge)

Invisalign
  • Mild – Both systems work well for mild misalignment and in a similar time frame. 
  • Moderate – Both work well here in moderate problems but in general the fixed clear braces work quicker and for a wider range of problems. 
  • Severe – We generally won’t use Invisalign for severe cases. We prefer the more tried and tested system of clear fixed braces, often in combination with extractions and removable appliances.
We generally won’t use Invisalign for severe cases. We prefer the more tried and tested system of clear fixed braces, often in combination with extractions and removable appliances. Dr.Paul O'Connell

Some additional questions you may have

Which system is better?

  • They both work and both can be suitable to different cases and patients. 

Does Invisalign really work?

  • Yes, it does for mild to moderate problems. Check out our smile gallery for some great before and after pictures to see for yourself!
  • We won’t use Invisalign for severe cases at 3Dental.

For more information on how Invisalign works, check out out post on Invisalign Braces.

Does Invisalign hurt more than Clear or Invisible Braces?

invisalign - Meagan Ní Chuirc - before - 3Dental
invisalign - Meagan Ní Chuirc - after - 3Dental

Meagan Ní Chuirc - (Click to enlarge)

Invisalign

Anything that puts a sustained force on a tooth is going to be uncomfortable. Teeth move by stretching the ligaments around the teeth, and as anyone who has returned to the gym after a long break knows, stretching ligaments can hurt. 

Both systems put force on the teeth, Invisalign by pushing, clear braces by pulling. The discomfort with clear braces is usually over within a week of placing the braces. 

Invisalign causes some discomfort every time a new aligner is placed. 

Every patient is different. Some find the discomfort very minor. Some say it’s very uncomfortable. At 3Dental we can advise you on how best to deal with any pain you may experience.

Conclusion

While this post is meant to give you a crash course on the major differences between Invisalign and invisible braces, you may still not know which one is best suited to you unless you are examined by your dentist. 

At 3Dental we offer free consultations to determine which treatment may be best for you. We can take you through the problems and answer any questions you may have. 

Get in touch with our Dublin, Limerick or Galway clinic and book your free consultation!

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