Introduction to Invisalign® Clear Aligners
Invisalign is an orthodontic option that uses removable trays to gradually align the teeth and mouth to create a straight smile. The trays are nearly invisible and are a comfortable, effective, aesthetically pleasing way to get a straight and healthy mouth. The Invisalign name describes it best: it’s the invisible way to align your teeth.
As an alternative to traditional metal braces, Invisalign offers an orthodontic adjustment method that uses a series of clear aligners, or trays, to gradually adjust your teeth. Invisalign is particularly popular with adults and teenagers who don’t want people to see metal brackets every time they talk and smile.
Invisalign can correct many orthodontic problems:
- Overcrowded teeth
- Gaps between teeth
- Simple bite irregularities
- Relapses after traditional braces have been removed
Read more about malocclusion.
How Invisalign Clear Aligners Work
If your Dental Associates orthodontist feels Invisalign is a good fit for your orthodontic needs, we’ll take a set of X-rays and digital impressions. We’ll send the X-rays and impressions to a lab where the Invisalign trays are made using a 3D computer projection of how your teeth will move with the help of aligners. The result of that projection determines the treatment plan and number of custom-made aligners.
Your specific case will determine how many aligners you need throughout your treatment, but typically 20 to 30 aligners are needed for both the upper and lower teeth. Your orthodontist will provide your Invisalign aligners a few sets at a time, and you’ll wear each aligner for about two weeks. Invisalign trays should be removed during eating, brushing, and flossing, but otherwise you should wear them at all times to ensure treatment success.
Your orthodontist will want to see you every four to six weeks to make sure the Invisalign treatment plan is going well and to give you a new set of aligner trays.
Digital Impressions for Invisalign
Our clinics now use digital impressions to help you feel more comfortable during the Invisalign process. You’ll no longer have to suffer through having goopy traditional impression material in your mouth. Instead, a small wand will rapidly take thousands of pictures inside your mouth and stitch them together to make a digital model of your teeth. Learn more in the video below!
How Long Does Invisalign Take?
The entire length of treatment depends on your individual case, but most adult teeth are corrected in less than a year. Teenagers who have Invisalign treatment tend to need a little longer period of time, usually 12 to 16 months. The more faithfully you follow the treatment plan, the more efficient your treatment will be. In general Invisalign trays should be worn 20-22 hours a day, which means they should be removed only during eating or brushing and flossing.
Traditional Braces versus Invisalign Clear Braces
Invisalign clear braces are recommended to correct many orthodontic problems. Still, traditional metal braces are often necessary to correct more complex bite and alignment issues. Your orthodontist will give you the best recommendation after thoroughly examining your mouth and evaluating your adjustment needs.
Benefits of Invisalign
Aesthetics: Invisalign clear plastic aligners fit snugly over teeth and are barely visible to others. Metal braces have the same end result, but are more obvious to others, especially the traditional metal wire, bracket and brace appliances. Other clear braces options like ceramic braces and lingual braces are less noticeable, as well, but still require more hardware than Invisalign.
Comfort: Invisalign clear aligners are smooth, sleek and fit snuggly to the teeth. They cause very little irritation to your gums or the inside of your mouth. There may be some minor soreness when a new set is first used as your teeth shift to accommodate the new aligners, but that soreness goes away quickly.
Convenience: Your orthodontist will give you your Invisalign aligners in sets. As your treatment progresses, your orthodontist will want to see you every 4-6 weeks just to make sure your adjustment is progressing and to give you your new sets of aligners. Traditional braces typically require a few additional visits to the orthodontist to make adjustments.
Easy oral hygiene: Oral hygiene is easy with Invisalign. The plastic aligners are removable, so it’s easy to brush and floss regularly. Because the Invisalign treatment plan calls for you to remove your aligners before eating and drinking, less food gets stuck between teeth, which in turn helps alleviate potential dental issues like cavities.
In general, Invisalign braces are a great option for people who have minor alignment problems. Invisalign offers a visually-appealing and convenient way to create a healthy, happy smile!
Request an Invisalign Consultation
Request a consultation today to see if Invisalign is the right orthodontic treatment option for you.