Because of the time and effort that goes into wearing fixed metal braces, many people find it hard to believe that wearing a few clear aligners can straighten teeth as effectively. If you’ve reached a point in your life where you’ve had enough of living with crooked teeth but are reluctant to wear fixed metal braces, you may want to know more about how Invisalign works and whether it’s right for you. So, let’s jump in and take a closer look.
How Does Invisalign Work?
Unlike traditional braces that use a system of brackets and wires to push or pull teeth into better alignment, Invisalign uses a series of clear aligners to gradually straighten teeth.
When considering Invisalign treatment you’ll need to visit an Invisalign-trained dentist such as the team at Dental 266 who will be able to explain how the procedure works and whether it’s a suitable treatment for your dental situation.
Innovative Invisalign 3D technology enables our dentist to create a customised treatment plan so that you know what to expect every step of the way.
To get started, some digital scans or x-rays of your teeth will be performed. These are used to create a virtual model of your teeth and gums and enables the dentist to map out the movements necessary to straighten your teeth.
At this point, he’ll know how many clear aligners will be necessary and consequently how long your treatment will take. He will also be able to show you how your new smile will look at the end of treatment.
Provided you’re happy with the proposed new smile, the data will be sent to the Invisalign lab to create your custom aligners and then you’ll be asked to come back to the clinic to have your first aligner fitted.
That’s all well and good but how does Invisalign work exactly?
Invisalign treatment works by applying carefully measured force to move the teeth into their new position causing the body to adapt by remodelling the bone. In basic terms, as a tooth moves out of its socket, the body closes the gap with new bone and consequently removes bone to create a hollow socket for the tooth to move into.
Typically, patients will wear each of their Invisalign aligners for a period of approximately two weeks – swapping it for the next in the series throughout the duration of treatment. Each aligner moves the teeth by 0.25mm and is designed to move specific teeth at a specific time. Once the last aligner has been worn, it’s time to unveil your brand new smile.
We should just mention at this stage, that it’s important for patients to wear their aligners for the length of time instructed by their dentist to enable aligners to work effectively. This is usually between 20-22 hours a day. But to be on the safe side, it’s best to only remove your aligners just for eating and drinking and to clean your teeth. For the rest of the time, they should be in your mouth.
What happens next?
Patients now enter what we like to call the maintenance phase of their Invisalign treatment. While the aligners have worked their magic to straighten teeth the bone is still remodelling – in other words – securing itself firmly around the newly placed teeth to keep them in position. To compensate for this, a retainer should be worn to prevent teeth from reverting back to their original position and undoing all that hard work.
Why Would Invisalign Fail?
One of the downsides of Invisalign is its reliance on patient compliance. Because the aligners can be taken out at any time, often patients forget to wear them or choose not to wear them for several hours a day.
The longer Invisalign is worn, the more effective the results will be. Patients that wear their aligners for less than 22 hours a day will see slower results and sometimes, no results at all. Those who find it difficult to comply with the rules may be better suited to a fixed brace although they will still have to comply with dietary restrictions and adopt a strict cleaning routine. Even with a fixed brace, however, patients will still need to wear a retainer.
So now you have the answer to the question “how does Invisalign work?” all that’s left to discuss is whether Invisalign is right for you.
What can Invisalign treat?
Overall, Invisalign treatment is effective for the majority of teeth alignment problems, from minor issues like a few crooked teeth or teeth that stick out to more serious problems like an overbite, underbite, or malocclusion.
One of the most common problems that Invisalign is used for is to close gaps in the smile. Other treatments include overcrowding and a crossbite which can occur if both the upper and lower jaws are misaligned.
More complex situations may be better treated with fixed metal braces because they apply stronger pressure.
If you would like to know more about Invisalign treatment and whether it’s right for you, why not book a consultation and call us at 02 9051 0600 with the friendly experienced dental team at Dental 266.