Invisalign is one of the latest and most popular trends in orthodontics to get your teeth straightened. It consists of a series of clear plastic aligners that are very discreet and barely noticeable. All of the aligners are custom made according to the teeth and bite for every individual. Although the aligners need to be worn for most of the day, the reason that they are very aesthetic and removable makes them very popular. This innovation is used to treat over 3 million people around the world and it is the perfect treatment option for people that do not like to wear fixed braces.
How does the procedure work?
When you visit the orthodontist, he will do a dental exam and provide you with all of the information that you need. During the exam, the doctor will use a scanning machine to take precise 3D images of your teeth that will help him set up the treatment plan. The first visit also includes dental impressions and x-rays. All of this information is later sent to dental technicians that will create a three-dimensional model for each patient. Based on this model they will be able to come up with a treatment plan. This way you will get aligners that are custom-made only for your dentition. These aligners are transparent and are made of a special thermoplastic material, they are very thin and fit perfectly to your teeth. You will have to visit the orthodontist every two weeks to get a new aligner. Each aligner will provide a slow movement of the teeth, and the strength that is used is very controlled, so there are no chances of any unwanted risks and complications. During the period of two weeks, the aligners only treat certain teeth. The treatment is sequential and divided into sessions, each session is reserved for a different tooth. The patients usually get between 12 and 30 aligners, depending on their individual cases and the whole treatment course can last from 6 to 15 months. Patients are requested to wear the aligners for 22 hours per day, and they should not be worn during eating, brushing and flossing.
Indications for Invisalign
The Invisalign aligners can be used mostly by patients with simple to moderate malocclusions, with cases that are severe fixed braces provide better results. Overcrowded teeth, rotated teeth, gaps between teeth, overbite, underbite and open bite can all be corrected with this technique.
- The Invisalign aligners are almost invisibleThe main reason why so many people choose Invisalign is that they are practically invisible. They are made of a transparent thermoplastic material which is barely noticeable. There is no need for metal brackets and wires, so if you are aiming for the most aesthetic way to improve your smile, Invisalign should be your choice.
- They are very comfortableYou will not feel any discomfort during your treatment. Considering that the aligners do not contain any metal parts, they avoid the problems such as irritation, pain or poking from the metal wire and brackets with the conventional fixed braces. The surface of the aligners is smooth and it does not cause any irritations or discomfort.
- You can remove themThe Invisalign aligners are not fixed, and you can remove them anytime you want. It is recommended for patients to wear them for 22 hours a day, and they should be removed only when you eat, brush your teeth or floss. You will be able to take out the aligners for any special occasions such as weddings, public speeches and more. The traditional braces are constantly in the mouth until the end of the treatment, and patients are advised to avoid certain types of food. With the Invisalign you do not need to choose what type of food you will eat, you only have to remove them from your mouth and brush the aligners and your teeth properly.
- They are saferCompared to the conventional fixed braces, the aligners are much safer, because you can remove them during sports activities, or any other physical activities. There is no risk of broken brackets or poking wires. The plastic material does not contain any toxic elements and they are completely safe for your organism.
- Better oral hygieneSince the plastic aligners can be removed, patients are able to have a proper oral hygiene. The metal fixed braces can be very hard to keep clean, both the metal parts and some surfaces of the teeth. With the removable aligners, this problem is eliminated. Also, the risk of dental caries and gum disease is significantly reduced.
- A preview of the future resultsWith the 3D images and videos, patients will be able to take a look at how their teeth will look at the end of the treatment. This is a great tool that motivates people to have a perfect smile and follow the instructions of their orthodontist.
- Good for any ageThere is no age limitation to when you can get Invisalign. People of any age can be treated with the Invisalign aligners since they are highly aesthetic and provide great results. You can take the aligners with you anywhere you go, they do not take a lot of space and taking care of them is very easy.
What are the disadvantages of Invisalign?
- The success depends on the patientThe rate of the treatment success completely depends on the cooperation of the patient. The patients are explained that they need to wear the aligners for 22 hours per day, if they do not do that, they will not get the desired results. This is why Invisalign is perfect for people with great self-control.
- Need to be removed before you eatThe aligners have to be removed from the mouth before any meal or before drinking anything except water. There are patients that find this difficult, but there are other that might find it helpful because they will lose a few pounds by limiting their meals.
- They cost moreThe Invisalign aligners usually cost more than fixed braces, which might be a problem for people with limited funds. Patients need to be very careful with the aligners, not to lose them or damage them, because the new ones will cost extra.
- SpeakingSome patients might have trouble speaking in the beginning, but this is a transitional phase that is only present during the accommodation period.
- Mild discomfortThere are patients that have reported a mild discomfort present in the first few days of a new set of aligners. There might be a little pressure sensation that will feel uncomfortable until the teeth adjust to the aligner. Also, the taking off and putting on part need experience and will be a bit challenging at the beginning.
- Frequent visits to the orthodontistThe aligners require a visit to the doctor’s office once every two weeks. There are dentists that schedule the visits four to six weeks apart. The regular checkups usually are very short. During the visit, the orthodontist will make a dental exam and monitor your progress. You will also be given one or two sets of new aligners.
- Invisalign cannot be used for any orthodontic conditionThis treatment has its limitations. The transparent aligners cannot be used to treat complicated malocclusions, severely rotated teeth, big gaps between teeth, teeth that are severely tipped and skeletal malocclusions. You might also need to wear buttons or attachments, but they will have a similar color to your teeth.
- You will need to wear retainers after the treatmentThe chances of a relapse after the Invisalign treatment are the same as with any other orthodontic treatment. After the end of the treatment, you will need to wear retainers to maintain the position of your teeth. Whether those will be fixed or removable retainers will depend on your individual situation and your wishes.