Looking for an alternative to traditional braces? Invisalign — a crowd favourite, is a much more comfortable and aesthetic option that utilises a series of clear, removable aligners to gradually straighten your teeth, without the use of metal or wires.
Invisalign is a system developed in the 1990s to fix common dental misalignments such as spacing, overbite, underbite, crossbite, crowding and excessive overjet. A series of clear, removable plastic trays (aligners) are custom-made for each patient using a computerised imaging software system. These Invisalign aligners are worn over the teeth and apply force to gradually move the teeth into the desired position.
Invisalign can correct almost all dental misalignment conditions including spacing, overbite, underbite, crossbite, crowding and excessive overjet.
Invisalign begins with X-rays of your teeth and jaws, photographs of your facial profile and a digital scan of your teeth. The Invisalign technical team processes this to create your specific treatment plan and to manufacture your personal aligners.
Your dentist will attach small tooth coloured studs to your teeth in order to direct the force from the Invisalign trays. You will be given 2- 3 sets of Invisalign aligners and instructions on how to properly wear, care for and remove them until your next appointment with your dentist, about 6 weeks later.
Invisalign is most effective when the aligners are worn for 22 hours every day. Treatment with Invisalign takes 1-2 years, after which you will need to wear a retainer to ensure that your teeth remain in their new alignment.
Invisalign aligners need to be changed once every 7 -10 days, according to the sequence dictated by your treatment plan. Some people notice a difference after only a few weeks, for others it may take 3 to 5 months.
You will need to visit your dentist for Invisalign review sessions every 6 – 8 weeks. Your dentist will be able to update you on your progress and make any necessary adjustments to your Invisalign treatment plan. The entire Invisalign journey takes 1 – 2 years.
Both Invisalign and traditional braces fix misaligned teeth over the same length of time, resulting in an attractive and healthy smile. However, Invisalign trays are more comfortable, more aesthetically pleasing and easier to keep clean than traditional braces, because they can be removed when eating.
Other benefits of using Invisalign include longer intervals between checkups and a clear treatment timeline. However, the success of Invisalign relies heavily on patient compliance. You will have to commit to wearing your aligners for 22 hours every day. If you forget to put your Invisalign trays back in after removing them to brush, floss, or eat, your progress will be much slower. Invisalign is also more costly than traditional braces and may be less suitable for very serious malocclusions such as severely tipped, impacted or rotated teeth.