Lingual braces vs Invisalign®

If you’ve been looking for an inconspicuous way to straighten your teeth you’ve most likely come across Invisalign aligners during your search. Lingual braces and Invisalign are both very discreet types of orthodontic treatment, but the similarities end there.

Lingual braces are fixed to the inside of your teeth and use brackets and wires to gradually straighten your smile, whereas Invisalign uses clear, removable aligners to gently guide your teeth into position.

Both braces have their strengths – as well as some weaknesses. So to help give you a better idea about which one might be right for you, we’ve summed up the main advantages and disadvantages of both techniques:

Advantages of lingual braces

  1. Lingual braces are completely hidden. Even up close, friends and family will struggle to spot them (unless you have a habit of throwing your head back when you laugh).
  2. Lingual braces are suitable for everyone. And they’re just as effective at straightening a single tooth as they are at tackling significant dental crowding.
  3. Lingual braces give your orthodontist maximum control over the movement of your teeth, and towards the end of your treatment we can make small adjustments to give you the best final result.
  4. Because lingual braces are fixed to your teeth during your treatment, you don’t need to worry about removing them at mealtimes and potentially losing your brace.

Advantages of Invisalign®

  1. Although they’re not invisible, Invisalign aligners are still very discreet and your orthodontic treatment will for the most part go unnoticed.
  2. Because you can remove your aligners to clean your teeth, it makes it easier to keep up a good oral hygiene routine and keep your teeth sparkling clean throughout your treatment.
  3. Invisalign aligners are designed to be comfortable, and there are no metal brackets or wires to potentially irritate the inside of your mouth.
  4. If you’re a teenager there’s an Invisalign brace just for you: it features wear indicators to make sure you’re wearing your aligners for long enough each day. And it also allows for the eruption of your permanent teeth.

Disadvantages of lingual braces

  1. Lingual braces can be uncomfortable to begin with, and you may find you have a slight lisp for the first few days. Your orthodontist will be able to advise you on some tips to help combat both of these issues.
  2. Because your brace is hidden on the inside of your teeth you might be less inclined to remove stray morsels of food. Overtime this could damage your teeth and cause decay, so it’s really important to brush after every meal.
  3. Lingual braces can be more expensive than Invisalign. This can reflect the skill of your orthodontist, the cost of your appliance and the additional clinical time that is spent adjusting your brace.

Disadvantages of Invisalign®

  1. Invisalign aligners will also take some getting used to, and you might find that they feel quite tight to begin with and cause you to lisp. The more you practice speaking the quicker this will improve.
  2. Invisalign is very discreet but the aligners do cover the front of your teeth, so some eagle-eyed friends might notice that something is different.
  3. Invisalign only works while you’re wearing your aligners, and you need to keep them in for at least 22 hours each day. If you think you may end up taking them out for too long, then a removable brace might not be right for you.
  4. Sometimes, in order to move teeth in a certain direction, your orthodontist may need to attach small buttons to your teeth. While these are made of tooth-coloured composite, they can make your treatment less discreet.
  5. Invisalign aligners dictate how your teeth will move and your orthodontist won’t have the same level of control they would with a fixed brace. This sometimes makes it difficult to achieve very precise results.

Lingual braces or Invisalign, which brace is right for you?

Hopefully you’ve learnt a bit more about lingual braces and Invisalign, and now have some idea about which approach might be best for you. The next step is to book a consultation with a specialist orthodontist. Most BLOS members will offer both Invisalign and lingual braces, so they’ll be able to discuss the pros and cons of both options in more detail and give you everything you need to make an informed decision.