In the late 1990s, Invisalign developed a system of invisible braces. It uses clear plastic “aligners” to straighten your teeth. They take advantage of sophisticated computer technology, and eliminate the need for unsightly wire-and-bracket braces.
And they work very well. The clearest advantage is that they are practically invisible. But since they are manufactured by the computer with great precision, they move teeth more efficiently than conventional braces, so they take only half the time, or even less. Average treatment time is around twelve months, with some cases being completed in six months.
But they do have some limitations. For example, they can’t be used to move teeth that aren’t yet fully erupted. They also don’t work well for severe crowding. There are other situations where the best way to move the teeth is with conventional braces. But, because they are invisible, comfortable, and fast, patients love them. They are particular favorites with adults and older teenagers.
Some Invisalign offices will offer you a free consultation. Visit the invisible braces referral page for a list of recommended dentists.
When you are looking for an Invisalign dentist, we recommend dentists who are able to deliver Invisalign services and cosmetic dentistry at an expert level. This is because when dentists have the broader cosmetic dentistry training, we feel they are better able to address your needs. For example, there may be another cosmetic dentistry solution that could be better and less expensive. Or, a combination of cosmetic dentistry services may be desirable for your case.
We select these dentists based on training and attitude. Also, many orthodontists who are certified to be able to do this treatment are steeped in traditional thinking and are reluctant to use this new technology.
After a complete examination and once it is determined that this Invisalign treatment will work for you and you agree to begin, the dentist will take highly detailed impressions of your teeth. These impressions will be sent to the Invisalign lab and will then be scanned by computer. The computer will aid in planning tooth movements and will fabricate a series of 12 to 48 clear aligners. The dentist will then give you the first set, and you will snap it in.
The first thing you will notice is that the aligner doesn’t quite fit your teeth. The reason is that it is made to fit a new position for your teeth. For the next few days, your teeth will gradually move to this new position and the aligner will become loose. Then there is a few days’ rest while your teeth stabilize in their new position. After two weeks, you snap in a new aligner, which again won’t quite fit. This process is repeated until the teeth are fully moved into the desired positions.
During this process, you visit the office approximately every four weeks so the dentist can monitor the treatment, address any problems, and make slight corrections.