Invisalign® aligners are an orthodontic product designed to effectively help correct a number of different orthodontic issues. Treatment with Invisalign® clear aligners aims to give you a balanced, even smile, straighter teeth and improve overall dental health. Because it involves the use of clear, removable aligners, this method of straightening teeth can be more flexible and less noticeable than solutions such as traditional metal braces.
What are Invisalign® clear aligners?
The Invisalign® clear aligners system consist of a series of clear aligners, thin plastic trays, that apply a constant force to teeth to affect their movement and are usually changed every one to two weeks. They look a little like a traditional mouthguard, made of a thin, lightweight, clear plastic. The orthodontic aligners are worn day and night but can be removed when eating, flossing or cleaning your teeth. As each aligner is worn and changed, they move the teeth very gradually until the required result is achieved.
Many adults who have bite problems or crooked teeth refrain from having their teeth straightened simply because they don’t want to be seen in the workplace wearing ‘railroad track’ braces. Invisalign® clear aligners elegantly solve this problem. They are virtually undetectable. And they’re more comfortable – in fact, many people soon forget they’re wearing them.
Another advantage is that the aligners can be removed for brief periods. While they should be worn constantly, it is acceptable to remove them for a maximum of two hours a day – perfect for special occasions, big presentations or simply when you brush and floss your teeth.
What’s the process?
After an initial consultation with your dentist or orthodontist, a 3D digital image of your teeth will be produced. A set of custom aligners, specifically made for you, is then produced from this image. At this point, it’s also possible to see a computerised estimate of how your teeth will look once the treatment is complete. This gives you a realistic understanding of the final outcome.
Each aligner is usually worn for up to two weeks before moving to the next one in the series. Generally, treatment can take between 6-18 months and a visit to the dentist or orthodontist is required approximately every 4-6 weeks. The number of aligners needed is different for each patient and their treatment plan.
Advantages of Invisalign® clear aligners
There can be various reasons why adults are attracted to the Invisalign® system: it helps correct a number of orthodontic issues including overcrowded teeth, widely spaced teeth, cross-bites, overbites and underbites.
- Clear aligners are virtually invisible as opposed to obvious metal braces
- causes less irritation to gums, teeth or cheeks
- teeth can be brushed and flossed as normal
- comfortable with low impact on day-to-day activities.
Can I get Invisalign® clear aligners?
While Invisalign® set of aligners are suitable for most people, not all orthodontic issues can be treated with aligners. It is important that you are assessed by an Invisalign® trained dentist or orthodontist to see if you are a suitable candidate for Invisalign® treatments.
Is Invisalign® treatment suitable for teenagers?
There is a specific Invisalign® product for teenagers called Invisalign® Teen. As teenagers are often more self-conscious about their smile than adults, they appreciate the invisible quality of the aligners. The exact same technology and process are used with Invisalign® Teen but a few helpful modifications are included.
A small indicator on the aligner gradually changes from blue to clear to remind teenagers that they are approaching the end of their wear time. There are also a number of free replacement aligners included – just in case any get lost or misplaced.
Are Invisalign® results permanent?
The results from Invisalign® treatments last just as long as the results from traditional braces. However, no matter which technique is used, teeth have a tendency to relapse. It’s generally recommended that at the end of your treatment a fixed retainer be applied to your teeth, or you may need to wear a retainer at night, to maintain your new smile.