How Does Invisalign Work?
Whether you are already in treatment or considering Invisalign, it is good to know how it works. Given that Invisalign is a relatively new orthodontic invention, many people are still not very knowledgeable about it. For most people, it's hard to believe that it is possible to straighten teeth with a few small plastic trays.
What Are the Aligners?
Similar to whitening trays or retainers, aligners are constructed from heavy-duty clear plastic. No worries; the BPA-free plastic used for the aligners is completely safe. It's created and designed carefully by means of heat molding. In fact, the aligners involve a patented thermoplastic design to straighten teeth. There is no metal included, unlike traditional metal braces.
The line of retainer-like aligners is designed specifically to move your teeth and fit your mouth as well. That means the orthodontist is supposed to determine the optimal way for the teeth to move. Since it differs from person to person, Invisalign aligners are custom made for every patient.
How Does Invisalign Work?
Invisalign aligners work with the use of a series of plastic trays. These little trays are meant to shift the teeth into place over time. Each tray is formed in such a way that the teeth are somewhat straighter compared to the previous tray.
With Invisalign aligners, the teeth can move up to 0.25mm per tray. You'll get a new set every two weeks. That way aligners will gradually move your teeth toward the ideal position as time goes on. The goal is to get the teeth to slowly move in sequence until they take the correct positions.
What's the Treatment Process and What to Expect?
First, you need to make an appointment. Many doctors — actually Invisalign providers — offer free consultations. Take advantage of this opportunity to learn how they can help you. Before doing anything else, the doctor will assess if Invisalign will work for your teeth. If it will, he will give you the green light to keep going.
It should be noted that not every orthodontist or dentist has experience with Invisalign. So, it is important to choose a well-trained provider who specializes in Invisalign.
3D dental imaging has come a long way in the last few years. It helps dentists create the custom-made Invisalign aligners. After performing a 3D digital scan, the doctor will make a personalized treatment plan that best suits your unique needs. Your doctor will make use of precise images of your teeth when mapping out their movements.
As you can assume, the treatment occurs in several stages. During each stage, just a few teeth get moved at a time. You're going to graduate to the next set of aligners about every 2 weeks. That requires regular appointments. These visits make certain that your treatment progresses as planned. Your teeth will be shifting into their final positions over the course of treatment.
How Long Will Your Treatment Last?
The length of Invisalign treatment depends on the severity and complexity of each individual case. Only your doctor will be able to determine the length of your treatment.
Generally speaking, the treatment lasts about 12 months for adults. But keep in mind that it may vary widely. It may be much shorter for teens whose jaws and teeth are still malleable.
The adult treatments are typically more complicated, meaning they may take a bit longer. This is because dental issues get worse in adulthood if they aren't addressed in adolescence. So it shouldn't come as a surprise that the treatment may take two years or so in very complicated cases.
What Kind of Dental Problems Can Be Fixed with Invisalign?
Invisalign is capable of fixing all problems that braces fix. For example, it can address the following dental problems:
- Gapped teeth
- Crowded teeth
- Crooked teeth
- Widely spaced teeth
Not only are these problems are unsightly, but they can also influence dental health. Underbites and overbites can cause joint stress and pain. Crowded teeth “promote” dental plaque, since they are difficult to floss, which gives rise to cavities at the crowded areas. Gapped teeth can cause periodontal disease by leaving gums unprotected.
Invisalign can address all of these problems. It can't fix the problems with severe underbites or overbites though. Also, it doesn't work for wisdom teeth as well as impacted teeth that grow improperly.
Invisalign Versus Traditional Metal Braces?
More and more people prefer Invisalign over metal braces. That's because Invisalign offers a lot of advantages.
First and foremost, it effectively fixes a wide range of dental problems. Invisalign aligners are nearly invisible in the mouth. That lets you wear them confidently on any occasion and at any time of the day. They are convenient for both teens and adults looking for a discreet yet reliable straightening option.
Unlike metal braces, aligners neither rub nor irritate the mouth. No need to apply wax. The smooth inner surface is gentle on cheeks. That means your mouth won't be scratched, sore, or bleeding as with irritating braces. While some people find Invisalign slightly uncomfortable — they experience temporary discomfort due to the feeling of pressure — at the beginning of every treatment stage, it's much easier to deal with compared to tightening with metal braces.
Another big plus of Invisalign is that it lets you see the virtual results beforehand. That gives you a better idea of what your smile is going to look like at the end of the treatment. This makes a huge difference!
How Does Invisalign Affect Your Day-to-Day?
Aligners will have very little impact on your daily life. Thanks to the removable design, you can take them out without any hassle. This makes Invisalign perfect for those who play a contact sport that requires a mouthguard. In addition to cleaning, it also comes in handy when it is time to eat. Simply remove your aligners before eating to prevent them from damaging. That will allow you to enjoy your favourite foods.
You may face a learning curve when talking and drinking with aligners in the mouth. Don’t worry! You will get used to it quickly. It usually takes a few days. After all, it is worth the effort when taking into account all the benefits you get.
*Select images used in this post came from costculator.com/dentist*