How noticeable is Invisalign®?
Will people be able to tell that you're wearing your aligners?
One of the things that patients really like about the Invisalign® system is that their teeth are straightened using hard-to-see transparent aligners instead of a set of brackets and wires (like with traditional braces).
But even with this advantage, there can be some aspects of having Invisalign® treatment (or treatment with the similar aligner products ClearCorrect® or Simpli 5®) that may be a giveaway that something is going on with your teeth.
Why people may be able to tell that you're wearing invisible dental braces.
Here's a list of points that explain why wearing Invisalign® braces may not be quite as "invisible" as you'd expect. (Be sure to check out all of the pictures on this page for examples.)
- The look of your aligners may tip people off. - Yes, Invisalign® aligners are made out of clear plastic. But that, in itself, may be what betrays the fact that you're wearing them.
- Wearing your aligners may affect some of your everyday activities. - While you're having your Invisalign® treatment, there'll be some changes in the way you do certain things. And if something's different about you, other people may notice.
- Not all of the parts of the Invisalign® system are invisible. - It's only the aligners that are see-through clear. Invisalign® "attachments", and "buttons" and elastics, are not.
I) The way that your aligners look can be a tip-off that you have Invisalign®.
Although Invisalign® aligners are unquestionably less obvious than other types of dental braces, wearing them can't be expected to be totally undetectable. Here's why.
a) Invisalign® aligners are made out of shiny plastic.
The slick plastic surface of an Invisalign® aligner can make your teeth look extra shiny. This shouldn't be much of an issue most of the time. But it may be especially noticeable when you're standing in direct sunlight or in front of really bright lights.
b) The halo effect.
When you have your Invisalign® aligners in, your teeth are essentially plastic-wrapped. And the thickness of this plastic, or any fit discrepancies between the aligner and your teeth, can create a "halo" affect.
c) The edge of your aligners may show.
If you're lucky, the edges of your aligners will lie hidden under your lips, maybe even when you smile. But this isn't always the case.
If you have a relatively high lip or smile line (a "skin grin"), or if your aligners have a design where they just cover over most but not all of each tooth, other people may notice that you're wearing your aligners.
d) Some portions of an aligner may accumulate debris.
If you have very large tooth gaps, these wide, empty spans in your aligners may trap debris or foamy saliva.
Distance does matter.
Of course, the importance of all of the factors mentioned above will probably just depend upon how close the person looking at you happens to be.
If they're three feet or more away, your Invisalign® braces probably won't be detected.
II) Wearing Invisalign® can affect some of your daily activites.
Although people may not notice that you have aligners in your mouth, the way they can affect some of your normal everyday activities might give them a hint, or even make it quite obvious, that they're in there. Here're some examples:
- Your aligners may affect the way that you talk. - Anything new or foreign in your mouth can affect your speech. This includes Invisalign® aligners.
Related content: Will Invisalign® affect the way that you talk?
- People may see you remove your aligners. - Invisalign® aligners should be taken out when you eat and drink. And since treatment usually lasts many months, or longer, it's easy to assume that sooner or later you'll have to remove them in front of other people.Related content: Should you drink beverages while wearing Invisalign®? Can you eat with Invisalign®?
III) Not all of the parts of the Invisalign® system are invisible.
Only Invisalign® aligners are see-through clear, the "attachments" and "buttons" that are sometimes used with them are not. And if your case requires them, they may be a tip-off to others that you are having orthodontic treatment.
- Attachments - "Attachments" are small lumps of dental bonding that are placed on teeth to help direct an aligner's forces. Depending on where they need to be placed, they may be quite visible.
Related content: Invisalign® Attachments - Details and pictures.
- Buttons - "Buttons" are anchor points for elastic bands. Your buttons themselves probably won't be as much of an issue for you as the (quite visible) elastic bands that are hooked on them.Related content: Invisalign® Buttons and elastic bands - Details and pictures.
- Buttons - "Buttons" are anchor points for elastic bands. Your buttons themselves probably won't be as much of an issue for you as the (quite visible) elastic bands that are hooked on them.
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- People may see you remove your aligners. - Invisalign® aligners should be taken out when you eat and drink. And since treatment usually lasts many months, or longer, it's easy to assume that sooner or later you'll have to remove them in front of other people.