Invisalign Q & A
How does Invisalign work?
While traditional metal and ceramic braces sue wires and brackets to move teeth into alignment, Invisalign uses a series of clear plastic aligners that look similar to the trays used for dental whitening treatments. These aligners fit snugly and comfortably against the contours of the patient’s teeth, gently shifting teeth into their proper positions over time. Patients receive a series of aligners, usually 18 but sometimes 30 or more. Aligners are worn in a specific sequence, and each aligner has a slightly different shape designed to move the patient’s teeth in a prescribed manner during treatment.
What happens during Invisalign treatment?
Treatment with Invisalign begins with 3D measurements or impressions of the teeth which serve as the basis for the fabrication of the custom aligners. The measurements or impressions are sent to a lab that specializes in Invisalign aligners. Special computer software uses the impressions or measurements to create virtual 3D computer models of the patient’s teeth, showing a timed progression of treatment that indicates how teeth need to move to come into alignment. The computer uses those models to create the series of aligners using state-of-the-art thermoplastic materials for a design that’s comfortable and discreet. During treatment, the patient wears each set of aligners for about 2 weeks, then exchanges those aligners for the next set in the sequence. Office visits take place about every 6 weeks or so to make sure treatment remains on track.
How does Invisalign compare to traditional metal or ceramic braces?
Invisalign offers several advantages over traditional braces:
- Invisalign aligners are clear, so they’re nearly invisible when worn.
- The aligners are made of smooth plastic, so they can’t irritate lips and cheeks like traditional braces.
- Invisalign aligners are removable, which means it’s much easier to brush and floss teeth, and patients don’t have to worry about avoiding certain foods.
- The customized design of Invisalign aligners means treatment typically can be completed much more quickly compared to traditional braces.
Am I a good candidate for Invisalign?
Invisalign can be a great choice for many patients who want to enjoy straighter teeth and better-looking smiles, and advances in the Invisalign aligner design mean more people than ever can have their teeth straightened without resorting to metal or ceramic braces. Still, Invisalign isn’t always an ideal choice for all patients. Before deciding on any type of treatment, it’s important for patients to schedule an evaluation and consultation to determine if Invisalign is the best choice for their needs