For many, the thought of having to wear old-style metal braces for many months is not a very appealing idea. Luckily, although the metal braces are still in use (particularly with smaller children), advances in orthodontic treatment have taken leaps and bounds in the last few decades. There are now much less intrusive ways of straightening your teeth, particularly for adults. One of the most popular treatments is Invisalign.
How Exactly Does Invisalign Work?
Invisalign is a set of clear plastic aligners (sometimes called trays) which are fitted to your teeth, and replaced every two to three weeks over a year. The clear aligners are custom-made for each individual client. They slowly encourage the teeth to move over the treatment time, with each aligner taking up where the previous one left off.
Can Everyone Use Invisalign?
Because they have an extremely tight fit, clear aligners are normally used for teenagers and adults, not smaller children. Invisalign is also normally used for people who have slight crowding, over or under bite problems and spaces between the teeth that are not too severe. In the case of more severe orthodontic problems, Invisalign is not suitable. Your dentist or orthodontist should be able to tell you very quickly whether you would qualify for Invisalign treatment.
So what is the Process?
- The first step is a visit to an orthodontist who is familiar with the Invisalign process. After an initial consultation, you will be told whether you qualify or not.
- If you do qualify, the next step is the imaging of your existing teeth. Normally this would encompass an x-ray, 3D imaging and a set of impressions.
- These images are then sent to the Invisalign laboratory, where your aligners are manufactured, and then returned to the orthodontist.
- He or she will then advise you on how to insert and extract the aligners and how often they must be replaced by the next aligner in the sequence.
- You will visit the orthodontist every 6 to 8 weeks so that he can check on your progress.
How Long Does the Treatment Take?
The time taken for the treatment depends entirely on how much movement of your teeth is required. Generally, the treatment takes a year for adults but can stretch to 24 months in certain cases. It is advised that you leave the aligners in for 20 to 22 hours every day, only removing them to eat and brush your teeth.
What are the Advantages of Invisalign?
Besides the fact that you avoid “metal mouth syndrome,” the biggest advantage is that the aligners are removable. Unlike metal braces that are fixed, clear aligners can be removed. This makes keeping your teeth clean during the treatment period far easier. This in turn promotes better oral health during your treatment time.
We all want to have a lovely smile and not be embarrassed by crooked teeth. Now, with Invisalign, the straightening process can be far less obtrusive. You don’t have to live with with metal braces in your mouth for a year, and you will be able to keep your teeth in much better condition while you are having them straightened. If you feel that you would like to know more about Invisalign, visit your local orthodontist for a consultation.