Invisalign is a removable orthodontic appliance offered as an alternative to more traditional orthodontic solutions. A type of clear tooth aligner, Invisalign is intended for people who find the idea of a mouthful of metal braces and brackets - however effective - too unattractive to commit to. If you are a candidate for Ivisalign or other "invisible braces," you can maintain your smile aesthetics while straightening your teeth.
An Introduction to Invisalign an How it Works:
Invisalign was introduced in 1999 by Align Technologies. The removable orthodontic appliance incorporates a series of invisible (clear) plastic aligners that fit comfortably over your teeth and are designed to move them gradually into the desired orthodontic position.
Impressions are used to create a three-dimensional computer projection of how the teeth could be moved incrementally, forming the basis for developing a series of custom-made aligners designed to accomplish this movement. Invisalign aligners are manufactured using computer-aided design / computer-aided manufacturing (CAD/CAM) processes.
Course of Treatment
The aligners are sent to the dentist, who typically dispenses them in groups of one or two at a time during regular check-up appointments (about every four to six weeks) so that treatment can be properly managed. Each aligner must be worn in its specific order for about two weeks, during which time it moves the teeth in small increments of about .25 millimeter to .33 millimeters.
Although the aligners are removable (for eating, drinking certain beverages and brushing/flossing), they must be worn at least 20 hours a day in order to reposition the teeth successfully. A typical Invisalign treatment requires 20 to 30 aligners for both the upper and lower teeth. Most adults complete their treatment in less than one year. However, treatment time depends on the specific alignment problem and timeframes established by your dentist.
Invisalign is currently approved for adults and teenagers with completely erupted permanent teeth who can faithfully follow the directions for treatment how long the have to wear the aligners each day, what they can and cannot eat and drink, seeing their dentist for follow-up appointments, etc. If you do not follow treatment recommendations, you may compromise treatment success
Invisalign can be used to correct the following types of mild dental problems:
- Crowded teeth. When there is not enough room in the jaw for all of the teeth to fit comfortably or normally (1-5 mm)
- Widely spaced teeth. When there is too much space between the teeth due to abnormal growth of the jaw or shifting of the teeth due to missing teeth (one millimeter to five millimeters)
- Overbite/overjet. When the upper teeth bite over the lower teeth
- Crossbite. When the upper and lower jaws are misaligned, causing one or more upper teeth to bite on the inside of the lower teeth, on either the front and/or sides of the mouth
- Mild relapse. After traditional braces have been removed, when some relapsing tooth movement has occurred.
- Invisalign may also be a treatment alternative for certain simple malocclusions.