Best Invisible Braces

Updated July 2020
Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
Bottom Line
Pros
Cons
Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

10 Models Considered
6 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
292 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best invisible braces

Last Updated July 2020

Flash a winning smile, and nearly 60% of Americans will immediately regard you as successful. Not everyone is born with perfectly straight teeth, however. Braces for straightening teeth have been around for centuries. Perhaps you or someone you know endured months of discomfort and middle-school taunting while wearing metal braces. Today, there are other options, including invisible braces.

Compared to metal braces, invisible braces are a less painful option that produces the same results. Lots of foods get stuck in metal braces, but if you choose invisible braces, you can still eat popcorn, crunch hard pretzels, enjoy fruit leather, bite into corn on the cob, and chew gum.

In this article, we break down the essentials, such as how invisible braces work, what they cost, and how to wear them. We also offer some useful tips to help you have the best experience with your treatment and spotlight some of the best invisible braces on the market. If you're ready to make an even better first impression than you already do, keep reading.

Although invisible braces have become quite popular in the past few years, the treatment option has been available for over two decades.

Key considerations

How they work

Although the treatment for every individual will vary slightly, there are four basic elements that remain the same. When purchasing invisible braces (also called aligners) you have an initial consultation, develop a treatment plan with your orthodontist, wear the invisible braces as instructed, and engage in regular checkups with your care provider.

Consultation: The first step in purchasing invisible braces is determining if they will work for you. Often, you’re required to visit an orthodontist's office to have an in-person consultation. Alternatively, you can visit a website and answer a few brief questions to determine if you’re a candidate for invisible braces.

Treatment plan: First, an accurate 3D representation of your bite is created. At an in-person visit, you may receive a high-definition scan that creates a virtual 3D model of your mouth. Alternatively, your orthodontist may take an impression that is used to make a physical mold of your bite. If you’re receiving remote care, you would receive the materials needed to make the impression of your bite. Using the mold, a personalized treatment plan is devised and a number of progressive invisible braces are created and delivered to you. You then have either an in-person or remote fitting session to make sure everything is as it should be.

Treatment: Now that you have the invisible braces, it’s up to you to wear them no fewer than 22 hours each day. Properly caring for your teeth and your invisible braces is vital to achieving a timely and successful result.

Checkups: In order to make sure that your treatment is proceeding according to plan, patients have regular checkups with their orthodontist. Again, depending on your choice of invisible braces, these either happen at an office or online.

DID YOU KNOW?

Because individuals have limited time to remove invisible braces for eating and cleaning, one side effect of this type of treatment can be weight loss.

Features

Success with invisible braces depends on a number of elements. The following are the key factors to keep in mind when considering this type of treatment.

In-person visits

If you desire an initial in-person consultation as well as follow-up visits, you'll need to look for a treatment plan that offers this as an option. If you prefer the convenience of not needing to leave your home for care, look for invisible braces that offer this as an option.

Mold vs. scan

Most treatment plans for invisible braces involve taking a physical mold of your bite. This can be done in the comfort of your home or in an office, depending on your preference. If you'd like a high-tech, 3D scan of your mouth, you need to find an orthodontist with the necessary equipment.

Materials

The key terminology to look for when purchasing invisible braces is "FDA-approved."  This means that the Food and Drug Administration has determined that the benefits of using this particular brand of invisible braces outweighs any known risks. Additionally, you want to search for invisible braces that are BPA-, BPS-, latex-, and gluten-free.

Comfort

When you get your invisible braces, they should be relatively thin and provide a snug fit. There should be no discomfort from the material, which means the plastic shouldn't cut into your gums. However, you may experience mild discomfort from the pressure exerted on your teeth by the invisible braces. This is normal and to be expected.

Wear indicators

Since success with this product depends on compliance, some invisible braces feature wear indicators that allow you to see if you’re wearing them long enough each day.

Obviously, invisible braces aren't truly invisible, but they are clear, which makes them less noticeable or, as some like to say, "virtually invisible."

Invisible braces prices

While there are a number of factors, such as insurance, that contribute to what you end up paying out of pocket for invisible braces, it’s possible to provide some general parameters as well as the two ways that payments can be made.

Installments: For individuals who desire to use an installment plan, a deposit of between $200 and $400 is usually required. After that, the payments can range from $75 to $100 per month, typically for a period of 24 months.

Single payment: Alternatively, you can save a few hundred dollars by paying for the entire treatment up front. In general, this payment method costs about $1,900. If you find a service that is considerably more, make sure you’re benefiting in some way from that higher cost.

If you have dental insurance, the two questions to ask are 1) Does my dental plan cover adult orthodontia? and 2) Are invisible braces a covered orthodontia expense? Regardless of coverage with your dental insurer, those with a flexible spending account (FSA) can check with their plan to see if invisible braces can be considered for reimbursement.

EXPERT TIP

Use soap and cool water to clean your invisible braces, never toothpaste or hot water.


Staff  | BestReviews

Tips

Compared to wearing metal braces, aligning your teeth using invisible braces is remarkably easy. However, it’s important to remember that you must still be diligent about your care. The following are a few tips to help you have the best, most pleasant, and shortest experience possible.

  • Wear your aligners. In order for invisible braces to work, they must be worn a minimum of 22 hours every day. Falling short of that goal may extend your treatment period.
  • Remove your aligners before eating or drinking. Your invisible braces are not designed to be worn while chewing. Also, drinking may stain your invisible braces. You must remove your aligners whenever you drink anything except water.
  • Clean your teeth. Whether you have an entire meal or a single bite of chocolate or a swig of milk, you must thoroughly clean your teeth before putting your aligners back on. If you don't, your risk of tooth decay may increase substantially.
  • Clean your invisible braces regularly. Just as important as properly cleaning your teeth is properly cleaning your invisible braces.
  • Be patient. Some invisible braces may need to be worn for 36 months or more, depending on your alignment needs.
  • Keep track of the time you wear your aligners. Removing your invisible braces to eat and brush your teeth can easily take 30 minutes. If you add a snack or two to that total, you may have already exceeded your braces-off time limit for the day. Keep close track of precisely how long you wear your braces each day.
  • Wear the retainer. No matter what type of braces you use for alignment, if you fail to wear a retainer at night after the treatment has concluded, your alignment problem may return.
In most instances, individuals overcome any speech difficulties that may arise from wearing aligners within a few days.

FAQ

Q. Are invisible braces the right choice for me?
A.
Typically, invisible braces work best for mild to moderate treatment. In some instances, invisible braces might be a viable option for more severe cases. Besides straightening your teeth, invisible braces have been shown to help relax and reprogram the muscles in your jaw, which can help reduce teeth grinding (bruxism), as well as reduce jaw, face, and neck pain. The first step in getting invisible braces, however, is a consultation to determine if this is the best course of treatment for your particular needs.
 

Q. Are invisible braces painful?
A.
Roughly a third of the individuals who wear invisible braces say that there is no discomfort during the treatment. Half of users experience mild discomfort, which typically only occurs for a few days after using a new set of aligners. Any pain or discomfort that is felt during treatment tends to happen when the pressure on the teeth is greatest and they begin to shift.
 

Q. How long will it take for my treatment to work?
A.
There are many factors that ultimately determine the length of time needed for treatment, and it differs from individual to individual. In general, the more severe the problem, the longer an individual will need to wear invisible braces. Additionally, noncompliance (removing the braces for longer than 2 hours total over a 24-hour period) will extend the treatment time. The average length of time required to correct most alignment issues is between 12 and 36 months.

The team that worked on this review
  • Allen
    Allen
    Writer
  • Bronwyn
    Bronwyn
    Editor
  • Ciera
    Ciera
    Digital Content Producer
  • Jennifer
    Jennifer
    Writer
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer

BestReviews wants to be better. Please take our 3-minute survey,
and give us feedback about your visit today.

Take Survey