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Lingual Braces vs Invisalign

Written by Dr. Chaw Su Kyi on March 15, 2024

Teeth straightening is a life-changing treatment. It is an investment in your smile and the future of your oral health. While your reasons for seeking treatment may be cosmetic, having straighter teeth can reduce the risk of decay and gum disease, improve your bite and speech, and fix painful jaw problems. 

We offer a broad range of orthodontic treatments to accommodate our wide patient base’s clinical needs, age, lifestyle, and aesthetic concerns. Depending on your situation, you may have several treatment options. 

Two of our most popular treatments are Incognito lingual braces and Invisalign. Lingual orthodontics are similar to traditional metal braces, while Invisalign are clear aligners. 

So, which treatment is best? 

In this article, we will explore both treatment options and explain how each works so you can make an informed decision about which is right for you. 

What Are Lingual Braces?

Lingual braces are a fixed orthodontic treatment. Like traditional braces, they use a wire to pull your teeth into their optimal position. The wires are held in position with brackets bonded to your teeth. 

Unlike other fixed braces, lingual braces are attached to the back of the teeth instead of the front, making them a great option for those who value discreet aesthetics. 

The force from the wire will create small tooth movements. During your treatment, we will adjust the wire’s tension at various points, helping guide your teeth into position. 

Not all orthodontists offer lingual braces as they draw on advanced knowledge and expertise.

What Can Lingual Braces Treat?

Incognito lingual braces are used to treat mild to complex cases. Using this treatment, we can fix:

  • Crooked or misaligned teeth
  • Gaps and crowding
  • Complex bite issues like overbite, underbite, crossbite, open bite, and more

The Benefits of Lingual Braces

Complete Discretion

Although you may want to straighten your teeth for cosmetic reasons, wearing braces can make you self-conscious. Lingual braces are the most discreet orthodontic treatment. 

Because your brace is attached to the back of your teeth, it is completely hidden. Your brace will remain out of sight while you eat, speak, laugh, and sing.


A fixed brace usually provides exceptional results, and lingual braces are no different. This treatment can correct minor problems, close gaps, reduce crowding, and address more complex bite alignment issues. 

Treatment Efficiency

Lingual braces are highly efficient. The fixed brackets and wires give us complete control over your treatment, allowing us to make precise tooth movements. Because fixed braces improve root movement, treatments are often quicker. 

Fixed In Place

Your lingual appliance will remain fixed to your teeth throughout your treatment. Because of this, you will not need to worry about removing or replacing it. This improves the potential for success and predictability of your treatment. 

The Disadvantages of Lingual Braces

You Brace Will Need Adjustments

Lingual braces require adjustment throughout treatment. We make gradual changes to the tension along the archwire periodically throughout your treatment. 

Although coming into the clinic and having your brace adjusted may feel inconvenient, it allows us to check on your treatment progress and make changes to your treatment plan if needed. 

You Must Consider What You Eat

Food can become trapped under your archwire or around the brackets. Additionally, certain foods may damage your braces. Although you can still enjoy most foods during your treatment, you may have to consider your braces when deciding what to eat. 

Brushing and Flossing Challenges

Due to the design and location of lingual braces, it may be difficult to keep them and the backs of your teeth clean. These challenges make maintaining your oral hygiene even more important. 

We can advise you on how to keep your brace clean if you choose this treatment. 

You May Develop a Lisp

Lingual braces are attached to the backs of your teeth facing your tongue. It can sometimes take a while to get used to wearing braces. During this time, you may find that your tongue naturally tries to avoid touching your brace, especially when speaking. 

Changing your tongue’s position can cause you to speak with a slight lisp. This is only temporary. With practice, most people find their speech returns to normal within a few days. 

Do Lingual Braces Hurt?

Comfort is a consideration for any treatment. Lingual braces should not cause too much discomfort. 

When you first have your braces, you may notice the tension along the wires. It can take a few days to get used to this feeling. You may feel slight discomfort while you become more familiar with wearing braces. If needed, you can take ibuprofen or paracetamol. 

Due to the position of your brace, you may feel the brackets against your tongue. Although they should not cause harm or discomfort, you can use orthodontic wax to improve comfort. 

How Long Will Incognito Lingual Braces Take to Work?

Every smile is unique. The position of your teeth at the start of your treatment will determine the duration. Mild cases requiring slight movements can take as few as six months. More complex adjustments can take up to two years. 

Although it may take a while to complete your treatment, you may start to see changes in your smile within the first month. Because the brace is behind your teeth, you will see the improvements clearly.

What Happens After Treatment With Lingual Braces?

Once we have achieved the treatment aims, we will remove your brace. We want to ensure the results you worked so hard for are not lost. For this reason, you will need to wear a retainer following treatment. 

Retainers are like mouthguards designed to prevent teeth from returning to their old positions. You wear your retainer every day for a specified length of time, which will decrease as your teeth fully settle. 

How Much Do Incognito Lingual Braces Cost?

Because treatment time will vary, the number of appointments and adjustments needed will vary. The cost of your treatment will depend on your case. Incognito hidden braces start from £5,000. 

Your treatment price will include appointment costs and retrainers. Finance options are available to help you manage your treatment costs. 

What Is Invisalign?

Invisalign is a clear aligner treatment. Unlike fixed lingual braces, Invisalign is easily removed. Instead of brackets and wires, Invisalign aligners are custom-made from transparent plastic designed to apply constant, gentle pressure to reposition and gradually straighten your teeth.

You will wear your aligner day and night for two weeks. After this time, we will replace your aligner. Your new aligner may look the same as the previous one but is slightly different. Every aligner moves your teeth a small amount at a time. You may have anywhere from 12 to 48 or more aligners throughout your treatment. 

What Can Invisalign Treat?

We can treat mild to moderate orthodontic issues using Invisalign. These include: 

  • Crooked teeth
  • Gaps and crowding
  • Bite alignment issues like crossbite

The Benefits of Invisalign

Clearly Subtle

Invisalign aligners are made from clear thermoplastic. Each aligner fits close to your teeth, and because of their design, few people will notice them. As aligners are removable, you can take yours out when taking photos. Just remember to replace it. 

Light and Comfortable

Invisalign is made from SmartTrack, a patented medical-grade plastic. This smooth, lightweight material quickly becomes unnoticeable in your mouth. Treatment is free from pain and discomfort. 

Completely Convenient

Your Invisalign aligner is removable. You can take it out to eat, drink, or brush your teeth, so you will not need to change what you eat or adjust your hygiene routine. 

Easy To Clean

Invisalign aligners are easy to clean. Simply wash them under running water to remove any food particles and bacteria. Keeping your aligners clean will ensure they retain their clarity while minimising the risk of tooth decay. 

Predictable Results

Every step of your Invisalign journey is calculated using the latest digital technology. Mapping out every treatment stage helps us accurately predict your progress. If you wear your aligner as instructed, you will get your perfect smile exactly as planned.

No Adjustments

You do not need to attend appointments for adjustments. Instead, we will provide you with a new aligner every two weeks. We will occasionally check up on your progress throughout your treatment. 

Useful In Many Cases

Invisalign can treat mild to moderate alignment problems. It can also fix issues like crossbite, overbite, underbite, and more. 

The Disadvantages of Invisalign

You Must Remember To Wear Your Aligner

Because aligners are removable, you may forget to replace them after eating or brushing your teeth. However, to achieve results, it is vital to wear your aligners for 22 hours every day. 

Unsuitable for Complex Cases

In more complicated cases where your teeth need to move further, Invisalign is unsuitable. Depending on your situation, we may recommend regular braces or a combination of aligners and fixed appliances. 

Temporary Speech Issues

Some people experience slight changes in their speech as they get used to wearing their aligners. This problem passes after a few days. You must wear your aligner as directed and speak normally so your tongue can get used to the appliance. 

Does Invisalign Hurt?

Invisalign is one of the most popular orthodontic treatments. This is, in part, due to its comfort. Each aligner is smooth and lightweight, so it feels good against the inside of your mouth and tongue. 

You will need to get used to wearing your aligner at first. It is normal to feel a certain amount of tension against your teeth, particularly during this time. You may notice a similar force briefly whenever you change aligners. 

Most patients get used to wearing aligners within a few days. It is important to persist with wearing your aligner as you will become more familiar with how it feels inside your mouth. 

What Happens If I Lose or Break My Aligner?

Although Invisalign is made from durable material, accidents can happen. You may break or even lose your aligner. If this happens, contact us immediately, and we will advise you on the best course of action. We may need to order a replacement for your current aligner. 

Although you should always wear your aligners in sequence and switch them as instructed, it is better to wear the previous aligner in an emergency than to go without. For this reason, it is worth keeping hold of your most recent aligner whenever you switch.

How Long Does Invisalign Take to Work?

As with all orthodontic appliances, treatment durations vary depending on the extent of your alignment. 

Other factors that affect how long Invisalign takes include lifestyle, age, and compliance with the treatment plan. 

Invisalign treatments can take 6-24 months. Because your aligner is removable, you will notice changes easily during treatment. 

What Happens After Invisalign Treatment?

Like any other orthodontic treatment, we want to maintain the results you have worked hard for. We will provide you with a retainer. You should wear this as directed until your teeth are stable in their new position. Retainer wear will decrease over time. 

How Much Does Invisalign Cost?

The cost of your treatment will depend on the severity of your case and the number of aligners needed. It will include your aligners, checkups, and retainers. Treatment using Invisalign starts at £4,000. 

Lingual Braces vs Invisalign: Which Is Right for You?

When deciding between lingual braces and Invisalign, you will have a few considerations. The most fundamental is which will yield the best results in your case. From a clinical standpoint, lingual braces are sometimes recommended. 

If both treatments are viable options for you, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Can you commit to wearing an aligner as directed?  – If you are likely to forget to replace the aligner after meals, Incognito hidden braces may suit you best. 
  • How important is it for the treatment to be discreet? – Although Invisalign aligners are virtually invisible, lingual braces offer complete discretion.
  • How important is comfort to you? Invisalign is made from a more comfortable material, which may be easier to get used to. 
  • Will you raise the standard of your oral hygiene? – With any orthodontic treatment, hygiene is more important than ever. However, keeping lingual braces clean requires more effort. 
  • Do you mind having your brace adjusted? – Lingual braces require occasional adjustments, whereas Invisalign aligners are simply replaced fortnightly. 

We are here to help you make the right decision for you. During your initial consultation, we will provide you with all the necessary information and answer your questions. 

Lingual Braces and Invisalign in West London

Lingual braces and Invisalign are both excellent treatment options with many benefits. Ultimately, you need to decide which treatment gives you the benefits that suit your lifestyle and personal needs. 

West London Orthodontics provides the highest quality teeth straightening treatments for adults, teens, and children in Chiswick, Shepherd’s Bush, and Hammersmith. The practice is led by specialist orthodontist Dr Kyi, who has considerable experience treating patients using Invisalign and lingual braces. 

Schedule a consultation today to learn more about the benefits of Invisalign aligners and Incognito hidden braces.

West London Orthodontics offers the most advanced orthodontic care for children and adults. Serving patients in Hammersmith, Shepherd's Bush, and Chiswick, Dr Kyi and her team specialise in various brace options, including Invisalign. Book a consultation today.

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