The days of restrictive metal braces are over! Invisalign is a removable orthodontic aligner offered as an alternative to more traditional orthodontic solutions, namely traditional metal braces. Invisalign offers the same transformative and preventative care as braces, with the cosmetic benefit of a metal-free smile. If you need orthodontic care to correct crooked teeth but find the idea of metal braces and brackets unattractive, Invisalign may be the option for you.
Orthodontic treatment should be your business alone, so with Invisalign you can correct your smile without alerting the world to your treatment. The aligners involved in the process are so transparent they border on invisible. What could be better than clear braces as a solution to crooked teeth? If you’re a candidate for Invisalign, you can maintain the appearance of your smile while straightening your teeth.
Need to brush and floss, eat and drink? Gone are the days of tricky maneuvering around and underneath braces. Gone are the days of food particles caught in your braces. Invisalign is removable, so if you need to floss, or simply feel more confident going on that date, to graduation, or that job interview without it, take it out for a few hours, and put it back in when you’re ready. Due to its removable nature, Invisalign also avoids several of the main side-effects of traditional wire braces, including root resorption (the shortening of your teeth’s roots) and tooth decay.
How It Works
Invisalign employs a series of removable aligners that use pressure to adjust occlusion (the way the upper and lower teeth come together; your bite). This is not a new process, but greatly improves upon a method of teeth straightening first introduced in the 1940s that required a series of dental impressions to determine the best position of teeth. Today your orthodontist determines what the final alignment of your teeth should be. After receiving the scans and impressions of your teeth, the Align Technologies dental laboratory uses a computer-aided design and manufacturing processes to simulate the movement of the teeth in stages. Based on these projections, Invisalign designs custom-made aligners meant to transform your teeth over time to the best alignment possible.
On average, each set of aligners is worn for two weeks. So that treatment can be properly managed, you’ll meet with your orthodontist about once a month. Each aligner must be worn in its specific order for 20-22 hours a day to achieve optimal results. A typical Invisalign treatment requires 20-30 aligners for both the upper and lower teeth. Though treatment time depends on the specific issues of the wearer most adults complete their treatment in less than one year.
Invisalign and Traditional Orthodontics
Keep in mind, Invisalign is not for everyone. Because Invisalign uses pressure to move crooked teeth, it may not be the best option for certain cases of misalignment or complex bite problems. Traditional wire and bracket braces may be the best option for complex malocclusion, so be sure to schedule a consultation with your orthodontist if you are considering Invisalign as an option.
Though they may not be as cosmetically appealing as Invisalign, traditional braces have improved since the headgear of decades past. Traditional braces today are smaller, less visible, and more efficient than their predecessors, and can help correct misalignment quicker than ever before. As with any treatment, only your dentist can determine which treatment might be right for you, and what alternatives are available.
As with any treatment, Invisalign works best when the patient adheres to the directions for treatment, including what they can and cannot eat and drink, visiting their dentist for follow-up appointments and wearing Invisaglign as directed. Invisalign is only for adults and teenagers with completely erupted permanent teeth who can follow the treatment protocols. If you do not adhere to treatment recommendations, you may compromise treatment success.