I’m trying to choose between finding an Invisalign dentist or one who does lingual braces. I’m 43 now and had braces when I was in my 20s, so my teeth aren’t too bad, but I’d like to correct the little bits that have shifted and make them even again. At the same time, I don’t want to have braces that are obvious. I’m a business professional and I don’t want to look like a teenager with a face full of metal. With the research I have done, it seems like both Invisalign and lingual braces are an option for someone with teeth like mine. Is there a benefit to using one type of orthodontics over the other?
Marjorie in Washington, DC
Based on your description, you probably are a candidate for both. People tend to turn to lingual braces when they worry that they’ll forget to change their aligners or that they’ll lose them. Lingual braces can sometimes tackle cases that Invisalign can’t, but the aligners do a very good job, even on challenging cases.
A lot of adults have trouble with lingual braces because their tongue is drawn to them. They have difficulty speaking and it can be uncomfortable. Being a professional, where it sounds like you may have to attend meetings, speak publicly and such, you can remove the aligners entirely beforehand if you prefer. You can also remove the aligners for cleaning, which is a huge benefit for oral hygiene. Some people have a lot of trouble brushing and flossing with braces, which inevitably leads to gingivitis, advanced gum disease, or decay. Some doctors also cite damage to enamel as a problem with traditional braces. The main reason this becomes a problem is when hygiene isn’t kept up.
If you really are a candidate for both options, you’ll probably prefer the versatility and speed of Invisalign, though you likely won’t have to do any kind of orthodontic treatment for long because you’ve already had it and are refining what’s already been done. Everyone’s mouth and challenges in treatment are different, so there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach with orthodontics. Start with a consultation and verify what your options are and be sure to mention that you’re open to suggestions depending on what your ultimate goals are. When deciding between these two options, though, you’ll likely be happier going through Invisalign treatment.