Tooth alignment technology has come a long way from the traditional metal bracket ‘train track’ braces, which are often cited as uncomfortable and limiting to the wearer; Invisalign are leading the charge in a new wave of discreet, comfortable options to help straighten out your smile.
Developed in 1997, but becoming more popular in recent years, Invisalign are custom-made, transparent teeth aligners, sometimes referred to as clear braces; they sit over the wearer’s teeth, and can be removed at will, allowing more freedom than traditional metal braces.
How can Invisalign help me?
Invisalign is often used for a variety of dental issues. If you have minor to moderate crowding, or widely-spaced teeth, Invisalign may be used by a dental professional to resolve this, but it isn’t recommended for heavily-crowded teeth. Underbites, overbites, and some crossbites may benefit from Invisalign being used either exclusively or as part of a more comprehensive treatment plan.
Wearers who may receive the most benefits from using Invisalign are those aged over 16 with minor teeth crowding, and individuals who’ve had traditional braces in the past and failed to wear a retainer consistently—resulting in unwanted tooth movement.
How does Invisalign work?
Just like traditional metal braces, Invisalign treatment works by applying calculated pressure to a person’s teeth to get them to move in the desired direction. Invisalign users are presented with a custom-made set of clear aligners which fit over their teeth, and put pressure on the teeth which need to be adjusted. The user is usually required to switch to a new aligner every two weeks or so, with each aligner being progressively closer to the goal teeth placement.
For best results, aligners should be worn all the time, and only be removed for eating and cleaning; however, your oral health professional will provide you with instructions to maximize your results. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why a person might choose Invisalign.
1. Custom-made solutions
Invisalign aligners are custom-made for each user, in order to be as effective and comfortable as possible.
Once Invisalign has been agreed upon as a suitable option, impressions of your teeth will be made by using either an impression tray or sophisticated scanning devices; this is what your aligners will be based on. As the aligners are made just for you, they should fit perfectly over your teeth and prevent any unnecessary discomfort.
2. Effective malocclusion correction
One of the more common reasons why people choose teeth alignment options such as braces or Invisalign is for malocclusion correction. Malocclusion is when your teeth are not correctly aligned in the mouth when you bite down, and can be caused by a variety of factors including teeth grinding, injuries, thumb sucking, or unusually-shaped teeth. Malocclusions can cause headaches, mouth injuries, and difficulty breathing or eating, so they should be treated as soon as possible.
While early studies in Invisalign effectiveness were reluctant to recommend the treatment for anything more than mild-to-moderate malocclusions, more recent studies have suggested that this was due to the early stage of development that Invisalign technology was in at the time. Recent case reports have provided evidence of Invisalign being successfully used to treat moderate-to-severe orthodontic malocclusions.
At your next dental appointment, consider asking your dentist about any lockdown-related dental issues such as cavities from sugary snacks, or enamel damage from grinding your teeth, and whether any malocclusion correction treatments would be recommendable for you.
3. Minimally disruptive treatment
Treating teeth alignment issues with traditional braces generally requires brackets and other dental equipment being fixed to your teeth for the duration of the treatment, and in some cases may even require the removal of teeth—all of which can be time consuming and sometimes painful.
Invisalign clear aligners do not typically require any teeth removal, and aside from the teeth impressions, require very little in the way of dental procedures. This makes Invisalign a relatively straightforward and pain-free option when compared to traditional metal braces.
4. Discreet alignment options
As the name suggests, the Invisalign system is virtually undetectable at a glance; the aligners are made of a clear plastic, and are designed to fit snugly against the teeth, minimizing any speech difficulties a person may experience while getting used to the treatment. While some Invisalign treatment may involve ‘attachments’ (small amounts of dental bonding solution) or ‘buttons’ (anchor points for elastic bands,) a typical user will only require the transparent aligners.
Although aligners are generally very discreet, users should be aware that their presence may be more obvious in direct light (due to the shiny nature of the plastic,) or if the user gets any lipstick or food remnants on them.
5. Flexible and removable
One major advantage that Invisalign has over traditional metal braces is the ability to remove your aligners at any time. If you have a special occasion, sport, or activity for which you’d prefer not to be wearing braces, you can simply remove your aligners for a few hours. Many users of traditional braces might be familiar with the embarrassment of having food caught in the metal; Invisalign users can simply remove their braces to eat.
Aligners may even be used as teeth whitening trays, although this should only be done under the supervision of a dental health professional. Make sure to discuss this with your dentist prior to attempting at home.
6. Easy to use and clean
As Invisalign is a removable treatment option, users may find it easier to clean their teeth with aligners than if they had traditional metal braces.
Traditional braces require a significant amount of attention to prevent food from getting stuck between the metal brackets, and to prevent build up from occurring in areas that a toothbrush may have trouble reaching effectively.
By comparison, Invisalign aligners can be removed completely, allowing them to be cleaned thoroughly, and removing any obstacles to your normal tooth brushing routine. Practicing good oral care with the right toothbrush technology could prove critical in optimizing the end result of your treatment.
There are many treatment options for malocclusions and other teeth alignment issues; however, Invisalign is a discreet, flexible option that might just be right for you.
If you’re looking for a minimally invasive, removable tooth alignment solution, discuss Invisalign with your oral health professional to properly determine whether it’s the right choice for you.