Invisible braces in general offer a number of benefits, says Payam C. Ataii, D.M.D., a dentist at Laser Dental Center in Laguna Hills, California. Aligners have been proven to be a faster and significantly more efficient way to straighten your teeth when compared to traditional braces, with an average treatment time of four to eight months, Ataii says.
Another benefit of invisible braces is improved oral hygiene. “With braces, some may find it difficult to do something as simple as brushing their teeth effectively. Clear aligners give you the ability to take them off, brush and floss your teeth and put them right back in when you’re done,” says Ataii.
Because they’re removable, invisible braces offer more flexibility when it comes to food choices as well—your diet isn’t limited by hard, chewy or brittle foods, says Patricia J. Panucci D.M.D., a dentist and owner of Beach Braces in Manhattan Beach, California.
Perhaps the biggest benefit of at-home teeth aligners is their convenience, offering an improved smile right from the comfort of home, Panucci adds. “For those worried about their appearance with metal braces, clear aligners allow you to go through your smile journey most discreetly.”
The Potential Risks of Invisible Braces
The ease of at-home invisible braces can make this type of treatment appealing. However, it’s important to visit your dentist or orthodontist in person prior to and during your treatment with at-home aligners to help identify any underlying issues, such as cavities and gum issues, which can be exacerbated by the lack of oxygen and bacterial build up created when wearing teeth aligners, says Busch.
Other drawbacks include wearing aligners for the amount of time prescribed by your doctor, adds Panucci. “As I tell my patients, ‘The aligners only work when they are in your mouth.’” Additionally, not everyone is a good candidate for clear aligners, she adds, and recommends meeting with an expert before beginning treatment to ensure aligners are the best fit for your personal needs.
The best candidates for at-home invisible braces are people with mild crowding who need small adjustments, according to Busch. People with a discrepancy in jaw position or issues with tissue support (bone and gingiva) shouldn’t use aligners, as they can’t correct these conditions. In these cases, orthodontic treatment needs to be carefully prescribed and administered by a dental professional.