How Does Invisalign Work?
Patients often want a more attractive smile and straighter teeth. Many patients also want to avoid the disadvantages associated with traditional braces such as wires, unsightly metal brackets, and discomfort. In the late 1990s, Invisalign was invented as an alternative to braces and more conspicuous method for straightening the teeth.
Invisalign treatment uses aligners which are created from thin, clear plastic. They are virtually invisible. This is no metal involved whatsoever and the aligners are custom-made for each individual patient. Treatment includes a series of trays which gradually and strategically adjust the patient’s teeth into place. On average, the teeth move 0.25 mm at most with each aligner. New sets of trays are incorporated about every two weeks.
Patients typically receive multiple trays at once. When the trays have been worn for about two weeks, the patient simply throws them away and replaces them with the next set of trays. Treatment with Invisalign does not include any bulky metal brackets, uncomfortable wires or fragile bands. Aligners are clear and nearly invisible.
Patients who are interested in achieving straighter teeth through Invisalign should schedule an appointment with a dentist or orthodontist who is specially trained in Invisalign. The dentist can then determine if the patient is a good Invisalign candidate. During this appointment, the dentist can also provide a cost estimate. Specialized training and experience is required to administer Invisalign treatments. Not all dentists have this qualification.
After the initial consultation, the dentist will typically complete a digital scan. With the scan, they use precise 3-D images to create a custom-made treatment plan. This allows them to strategically map out the treatment plan. The custom-made aligners are also created from this imaging. The plastic which is used is smooth and BPA-free. It does not irritate the gums and comfortable to wear for long periods of time. Each set of aligners are worn for approximately two weeks before they are replaced with a new set of aligners.
A patented thermoplastic design aids the aligners in straightening the teeth. Invisalign treatment can control the timing and amount of force used. In most cases, just a few teeth are adjusted during each individual stage to ensure the discomfort is minimal.
The estimated timeline for treatment can vary for each patient. On average, the treatment for an adult is around 12 months. When a patient has a more severe case, the treatment may take up to 18 months or longer. The timeline for treatment is also highly dependent on the patient’s discipline with wearing their aligners for at least 20-22 hours each day.
The treatment time can be expedited using attachments. Attachments may also be used to adjust the teeth into place. Composite bumps, which match the color of the teeth, may also be attached to the teeth. These bumps give the aligners an improved grip on the teeth.
Some of the most popular issues Invisalign is used for includes correcting gaps, overbites, underbites, crooked teeth, and teeth which are overcrowded. These issues impact the patient’s smile, but can also impact their oral health. Gaps in the teeth can overexpose the gums cause periodontal disease. Overbites and underbites can put added stress on the jaw. Bite issues can also cause quite a bit of discomfort. Crowded teeth can be especially challenging to clean and allow plaque to accumulate, eventually leading to cavities.
Invisalign provides patients with a solution which is discrete and effective in addressing their issues.