Invisalign is an alternate treatment for any tooth malocclusions, which is growing in popularity due to its many advantages over braces. It is a clear removable mouth piece that fits over top of a person’s teeth. Over 750,000 people are currently using Invisalign instead of braces. Invisalign is only made by one company, Align Technology, which is based out of Santa Clara, California. They run all the designing, manufacturing and marketing for this product and they employ about 1,500 people.
Advantages of Invisalign
Cosmetic: The aligners that are placed over top the teeth are fully transparent, an obvious improvement from the metal braces on the outside of teeth. Adults tend to lean towards this method of treatment especially if they have some kind of professional image in their job.
Comfort: Because there are multiple mouth piece aligners in the Invisalign treatment process there is less overall discomfort and pain in the treatment. Unlike braces which are adjusted every six weeks or so, you get a new aligner every two weeks. The reason this is more comfortable is because with Invisalign you can adjust the teeth in smaller increments while with braces the adjustments are more intense to make up for lost time.
Removable: Since the aligners are removable, patients are not limited to what they can or cannot eat. This also makes it a lot easier to clean as you can reach every part of the teeth unlike braces where there are many covered parts and tricky to reach places.
Speed: A few studies comparing standard braces to Invisalign seemed to come out with the stat that Invisalign was actually faster than braces. A main study of 408 patients found that people with braces took an average time of approximately 36 months to fully fix their mouth while Invisalign took between 12-18 months.
Disadvantages of Invisalign
One of the main bonuses with Invisalign is that they are removable. However this can also be seen as a disadvantage. Since they are removable they aren’t correcting the patient’s teeth 100% of the time like braces. The success of this treatment is fully based of the patient’s willingness to wear the aligners for the majority of the day. Another reason immovability could be bad is that once removed the individual aligners could be potentially lost or damaged.
Another disadvantage is that Invisalign is quite expensive. The cost of production and frequent upgrades makes the end cost to the user substantial. In many cases Invisalign is even more expensive than traditional braces which are already considered expensive by many people.
Another disadvantage, though quite rare is patient-product incompatibility. The aligners are made out of polyurethane and some people seem to have allergic or even toxic sensitivity reactions to them. This could show up as anything from sore throats, coughs and nausea to respiratory system swelling leading to emergency treatment. Align Technology is currently working on new materials for the aligners so that all people can be accommodated with their effective and innovative products.