Invisalign is a unique orthodontic correction option that is very different from traditional braces. Instead of wires and metal brackets, the patient uses a series of molded plastic trays to gradually change the positioning of the teeth. These trays are known as aligners and provide a subtle treatment option to those who don’t like the appearance of braces. Invisalign cannot be used for all problems. However, it is currently used to treat cases of spaced teeth, overly crowded teeth, crossbite, overbite and underbite. You’ll need to talk to your dentist or orthodontist about your specific condition to accurately assess whether Invisalign or similar alignment options will work for you.
After receiving a consultation to determine if Invisalign is right for you, you will move on to the process of having your custom trays created. Impressions, x-rays and pictures of your teeth are all collected to help create your trays. Each patient’s trays are created individually to fit his or her teeth perfectly. The aligner trays are completely clear so others can only see that you’re wearing them if they’re standing extremely close. The aligners are composed of a safe, BPA-free plastic that is comfortable to wear on a regular basis. Each tray is slightly different from the one before to gradually move your teeth into their desired positioning.
Using Invisalign requires much less maintenance than traditional braces. With Invisalign, you know you’re making progress because you will change to a new set of trays about every two weeks. However, since you can change the trays yourself, you’ll only need to check in with your dentist or orthodontist about every six weeks. This makes aligners much easier on a busy schedule than braces. If it’s difficult for you to get out of school or work to go to the dentist, this option will work well for you. Invisalign is usually much more comfortable than braces. Adjusting braces can be very painful, and problems often occur with wires sticking. Problems with Invisalign are much less common.
Daily maintenance while you’re wearing aligners is much easier than with traditional braces. The many wires involved in regular braces can make it difficult to brush and floss in the morning and evening. With Invisalign, you simply remove the aligner and brush and floss your teeth as normal. The aligner can be brushed and rinsed in warm water to keep it clean. You will also remove your aligner to eat. This means that there are no eating restrictions. While many foods get stuck in braces and cause a frustrating mess, the Invisalign tray doesn’t even get in the way during meal time.
When you wear your aligners for the recommended 20 to 22 hours every day, the full treatment will usually take about a year for adults. Teens wear Invisalign about the same length of time that they would need to wear braces. Since the trays are clear and still allow you to see your teeth clearly, you will start to notice results very quickly. By the end of your treatment, your teeth will look like they’re completely adjusted, even though you may still be wearing the tray for a bit longer. If you’re interested in trying Invisalign as an alternative to braces, you can talk to a qualified provider about your options.