Invisalign is a new and popular alternative for individuals who tend to cringe at the thought of traditional braces. While braces are certainly effective, many people simply find the process too much of a hassle to comfortably embrace for a long period of time. This revolutionary product means that patients no longer have to sacrifice their smile when straitening their teeth.
What is it?
Invisalign was initially introduced in1999 by Align Technologies, and utilizes a number of plastic aligners which fit over the teeth and slowly move them to the optimal position. Already, this treatment is the most popular orthodontic appliance.
How it Works
The process involves a batch of custom fitted plastic aligners which are used to adjust the bite. The concept comes from a method, which was first introduced in the mid-1940s made use of a number of individual bite impressions in order to help determine the ideal position that the teeth should be moved to. However, the Invisalign technique is much simpler that its predecessors, and requires only one initial impression be taken.
Using the impressions taken, a three-dimensional diagram is created, which details the ideal course by which the teeth will be moved. From this point, the custom-made aligners are created in order to fulfill the diagnosis.
The Invisalign aligners, themselves are manufactured in a special lab, which utilizes many computer-based processes. Once finished, the aligners are inspected and shipped to the dentist who will generally provide them to the patients in sets of one or two per visit (roughly every 4 to 6 weeks). Two weeks are given for each set, and each pair must be worn in the correct order in which they are provided.
While each aligner is completely removable for purposes of eating, brushing, and flossing, patients must wear the aligners for at least twenty hours per day if they ever hope to successfully complete the treatment in the allotted time.
Typically, this process requires between 20 and 30 aligners for the lower and upper jaw. Many adult patients tend to complete the treatment in under one year, however individual results may vary.
Invisalign is currently approved for adults and teens with a complete set of permanent teeth, and who are able to faithfully follow directions pertaining to their treatment.
Your dentist will be best able to determine what your treatment options entail. In addition, you may even be eligible for alternative treatments. If you’re ready to correct your bite, it may be time to schedule a consultation with your dentist. He or she will be best able to recommend an orthodontist who will evaluate your individual situation.