Have you always wanted straight teeth without having braces?
Then Invisalign may make straighter teeth a reality for you!
What is Invisalign?
Invisalign is a series of clear trays called aligners used in sequence to straighten teeth. Clear aligners are the closest thing to an ‘invisible’ way of straightening your teeth. Very different from braces, this type of orthodontic treatment does not use metal brackets or wires, it works to straighten your teeth through a series of clear and removable plastic aligners. The number of trays is dependent on the severity of crowding and can range from 20 – 60. Each aligner is worn for 2 weeks. So, depending on the complexity of the treatment, Invisalign normally takes around 6 – 18 months.
This orthodontic treatment is suitable for those with crooked, crowded teeth or teeth with obvious gaps between them. Clear aligners are also suitable for those who have had braces in the past, yet their teeth are moving back to being crooked once more.
What’s involved in an Invisalign treatment?
If you decide to take this course of treatment, bite impressions or scans will be taken and sent to the manufacturer of the aligners. A series of aligners will be created using 3D computer generated imaging (CGI) technology. A virtual treatment plan will also be created, so that you can see a projection of how your teeth will look at the end of treatment.
A set of aligners will be sent to your dentist, who will then make sure it fits you and is comfortable. Each set is made of a clear and sturdy non-toxic plastic, and should be worn night and day for two weeks each. You are to take out your aligners during meals, to drink, and to brush your teeth.
Invisalign is a long dental procedure with many short appointments, the appointments usually run as listed:
- Consultation and discussion of treatment and expectations
- Photos taken and study models made, radiographs etc
- Impressions taken(occasionally a few impressions are required as they need to be perfect)
- Subsequent consultations to discuss tailored treatment plan and for a decision to be made to commit to Invisalign for the proposed time
- Subsequent review and maintenance appointments to issue new aligners and make adjustments
- Home maintenance and monitoring – patients must wear the aligners at least 22 hours per day, floss regularly and make appointments at any stage during the treatment when a problem is suspected
- Retainers – 70% of all orthodontic treatment relapses, therefore, it is integral that a patient understands that “retention” is a lifetime commitment and your dentist will advise you on the methods to achieve this.
What are the benefits of Invisalign?
The benefits of clear orthodontic aligners are numerous. The aligners are comfortable, not causing irritations that can occur with braces. They do not prevent you from eating certain foods, and as they are clear and thin, it is unlikely anyone will even notice you wearing them.
From a clinical point of few, Invisalign also reduces the risk of post-orthodontic decay, periodontal disease and enamel scouring (caused by inefficient cleaning and removal of braces brackets).
Invisalign will leave you with a straighter smile, without anyone noticing it happening!
What are the main disadvantages of Invisalign compared to “braces”?
Not everyone can be treated with Invisalign. Some cases of crowding may require more extensive treatment delivered only with surgery and full fixed appliances (braces).
Patients are the driving force behind Invisalign success – if you do not comply with the instructions your treatment will not be successful.