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Can You Switch From Braces to Invisalign? How to and Costs

Contributors:  

Are you currently unhappy with your orthodontic treatment and wondering if you can switch your braces to Invisalign aligners? You may not have been aware of all the options open to you, or maybe you didn’t realise how much fixed metal braces would disagree with you.

Either way, you probably want to know if you can switch to the Invisalign system, and how to do it. 

braces to Invisalign

This article will discuss if it's possible to change to Invisalign mid-braces treatment, and answer the following questions: 

  • Can you change to the Invisalign system from braces?
  • Why switch from braces to Invisalign?
  • When might you not be able to change treatments? 
  • How do you switch to the Invisalign system? 

There are a lot of different options out there if you're looking to straighten your teeth and it can be overwhelming.

However, it may not be too late, especially if fixed braces really don’t agree with you. Keep reading to learn if you may be eligible to switch from braces to Invisalign aligners and how to do it. 

Can you switch from braces to Invisalign?

Yes, it is possible to switch from braces to Invisalign, but it depends heavily on your individual orthodontic case. Not everyone is eligible for treatment with Invisalign, regardless of whether they already have braces or not. 

There is a quick way to find out if you’re eligible for treatment by taking Invisalign’s online Smile Assessment. Just fill in a few details and find out in minutes if you’re a candidate. However, if you already have braces, then it’s recommended you speak to an Invisalign doctor in person so that they can properly assess your teeth and bite. 

Why get Invisalign aligners? 

Invisalign aligners are clear plastic aligners that use pressure to gradually align your teeth and smile. They are a popular alternative to fixed metal braces because they are much less noticeable when worn. They're also more comfortable and have the added bonus of being removable. 

Although you have to wear Invisalign aligners for 20-22 hours per day for them to work properly, you can take them out to eat, drink (anything besides water) and clean your teeth aligners. Cleaning your teeth with braces on can be time-consuming and fiddly, so it’s a huge benefit to be able to remove your aligners for brushing and flossing. 

These aligners are made from SmartTrack material, which was specifically designed for Invisalign aligners. This technology has taken eight years to create and has significantly improved the comfort of the aligners when worn.

Fixed braces can be painful, cause discomfort, and scratch the inside of your cheeks and gums. In comparison, Invisalign aligners are much more comfortable. 

And, instead of having uncomfortable braces adjustments with a dentist every few weeks, you simply change to a new set of aligners. So while you still have in-person appointments with an Invisalign provider, they are much less painful than braces appointments! 

If you already know you want to switch to Invisalign treatment from metal braces, speak to an Invisalign provider to see if switching is suitable for you. Simply search for a provider near you and book an appointment today

Why switch from braces to Invisalign? 

So, you’ve heard the main reasons why you should get the Invisalign system, but if you’ve already begun your treatment with fixed braces, why switch? Well, there are a few reasons people may want to change from braces to Invisalign aligners, including: 

can I switch to Invisalign from metal braces
Your oral hygiene routine takes a lot longer with fixed braces
  • Self-conscious of appearance 
  • Oral hygiene routines take much longer 
  • Dietary restrictions 
  • Teeth demineralisation 
  • Pain and discomfort from metal brackets and wires 
  • Uncomfortable braces adjustment appointments 

Appearance

Fixed braces, especially metal braces, are otherwise known as ‘train tracks’ for a reason. They are very obvious when worn, and although you can make them look better with colourful bands, some people feel very self-conscious when wearing them. 

Invisalign aligners are much less noticeable than braces, even clear or tooth coloured braces. The fact that they are removable means that for meetings or photographs you can remove them for a short period of time if you want to feel more confident. 

Oral hygiene routine 

Traditional braces are very fiddly to clean and they can take much longer to clean than a regular oral hygiene routine. This is because you need to use special tools to get under the wires and around the brackets. 

Invisalign aligners are very simple to clean and cleaning them thoroughly barely adds any extra time to your normal brushing and flossing routine. 

Switching to aligners
It will be a while before you can eat apples again with fixed braces

Dietary restrictions

Wearing traditional fixed braces means that you may not be able to eat certain foods including: 

  • Hard foods such as nuts and boiled sweets
  • Any food you must bite into such as apples or carrots 
  • Sticky foods such as chewing gum or toffee
  • Chewy foods such as bagels or gummy sweets
  • Crunchy foods like popcorn 

These types of foods might damage your braces, which will prolong your overall treatment time. But if you have Invisalign aligners, you can just remove them to eat your favourite foods. 

Teeth Demineralisation 

Demineralisation of your enamel is more of a risk with fixed braces. If this is happening you will see white spots start to appear on the surface of your teeth. 

Pain and discomfort 

As mentioned above, the metal brackets and wires can be painful or uncomfortable on your gums and cheeks. While Invisalign aligners may cause some discomfort when they add pressure to your teeth, they will not scratch your sensitive gums and cheeks. 

When might you not be able to change treatments? 

If your orthodontic case is very severe and your dentist recommended fixed braces over other options for that very reason, there is a chance you will not be eligible for treatment. 

However, technological advancements are being made continuously with Invisalign treatment so don’t be discouraged, you may still be a candidate. The best way to find out is to speak to an Invisalign provider and have your teeth assessed. 

How do you get Invisalign aligners if you already have braces? 

If you already have braces but you want to change to the Invisalign system, you will need to make an appointment with an Invisalign provider. They will assess your smile to see if you are eligible to switch. 

In some cases, you may have to wait before switching while your braces do a little more work straightening and aligning your teeth. 

How much does it cost to change to aligners from metal braces
Make a consultation to find out if you can switch to Invisalign aligners from braces

Once you know whether or not you are eligible to switch to treatment with Invisalign, you will need to have your braces removed. Then the steps to getting Invisalign aligners are as follows: 

  1. Your Invisalign doctor will digitally scan your teeth and bite using the iTero scanner
  2. An orthodontic plan of your full treatment will be shown to you 
  3. When you are happy with your treatment plan you will receive your first set of aligners
  4. Roughly every 2 weeks or so you will have a face-to-face appointment with your Invisalign doctor to check your treatment is going as planned
  5. They will let you know when it is time to change to a new set of aligners 
  6. At the end of your treatment, your provider will check to make sure you don’t need any Invisalign refinements
  7. Once your treatment is complete you will need to wear a Vivera retainer as your Invisalign doctor advises to maintain your smile 

How much does it cost to switch from braces to Invisalign?

Like many procedures in dentistry, there isn’t one fixed price to switch from braces to Invisalign. You will have the cost of your braces treatment to pay, as well as the cost of your Invisalign treatment. 

While there is no discount if you are switching between the two treatments, your dentist or orthodontist may reduce the cost of your braces treatment if you do not finish your full treatment plan. Similarly, as you have already started your orthodontic treatment, your Invisalign treatment may not be as complex or as last as long.

The table below summarises the costs of different braces options and Invisalign costs. If you are switching between treatments the cost will likely be the summation of your original treatment cost, and the cost of your Invisalign treatment.

Type of Appliance

Approximate Price

Invisalign

£1,500 - £5,500

Lingual (incognito)

£2,000 - £10,000

Ceramic

£2,000 - £6,000

Self-ligating (including Damon)

£1,500 - £6,000

Traditional metal

£1,500 - £3,000

Can I switch to aligners mid treatment
Switch from braces to Invisalign aligners

Conclusion

Orthodontic treatment with fixed metal braces will always have its downsides, but for some, these downsides may be unbearable. If this is you, don’t despair – it is possible to switch from braces to Invisalign aligners depending on your individual case. 

The best way to start the process is to see if you are eligible to switch to the Invisalign system. You may have to wait a little while longer while your braces do the work they do best. Or, you may find that you are eligible to switch straight away. 

If you are, then you will need to get your braces removed first. Then you can begin the process of getting your Invisalign treatment plan created and your first set of aligners!

The first step is to make an appointment with your nearest provider to find out if you're a candidate to switch to the Invisalign system. While you may end up paying a little more, it may be worth it in the long run. 

FAQs

Can I switch from braces to Invisalign mid-treatment?

Yes, it is possible to switch to Invisalign aligners mid-treatment depending on your individual case. An Invisalign doctor can assess your case and determine if you are eligible. 

You may have to wait a little longer to switch to allow your braces to further align your teeth if you had a more complex case.

Can You Switch From Braces to Invisalign? How to and Costs
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Contributors:
Amanda combines her medical background with her love for writing to bring you informed and accurate content at Dentaly.org.
Sources

NCBI. Patient survey on Invisalign ® treatment comparing [corrected] the SmartTrack ® material to the previously used [corrected] aligner material. Consulted 8th February 2022.

Prices stated are indicative only and are based on publicised treatment prices at dental clinics across the UK.