What is Invisalign?

Invisalign is a dental technology to straighten crooked teeth.
Invisalign is a dental technology to straighten crooked teeth.

Invisalign is a dental technology to straighten crooked teeth or reduce the inter-tooth spaces. Invisalign claims to be the first orthodontic treatment method to use only the three-dimensional (3D) digital technology to plan out a treatment plan for misaligned  teeth. Unlike traditional braces, Invisalign is transparent and removable. It does not have wires or elastic rubber bands, so it is an aesthetically better choice.

Is Invisalign worth getting?

Your orthodontist is the best person to guide you here. They will conduct a detailed dental examination and suggest if you are a good candidate for Invisalign. This decision will be based on the condition of your teeth and lifestyle goals. Though Invisalign claims to offer the same efficiency as braces with better aesthetics, there are conditions where braces have a clear advantage. Also, there is a cost factor involved. The cost of Invisalign is anywhere between 3,000 to 7,000 dollars and it may be only partially covered by your insurance.

In the case of malocclusion (improper bite), which is a condition where teeth are not properly aligned, most dentists suggest using clear aligners (Invisalign) because it is a good choice.

Numerous studies conducted on Invisalign suggest that the following patients have a good response to treatment

  • Patients with minor tooth crowding
  • Minor tooth gaps between teeth (less than 4 mm)
  • Minor tooth rotation (crooked teeth)
  • Orthodontic relapse (you had braces in the past, but now your teeth are shifting back to the previous position)
  • Expansion (poor fit of the bottom and upper teeth while chewing)
  • Intrusion (tooth is driven inside the gum)
  • The cases that do not need braces and can be managed by active or passive retainers

In the above cases, both Invisalign and braces will work, although braces are cheaper.

Invisalign does not have a good success rate in individuals with the following conditions

  • Severely crowded teeth
  • Severe rotations
  • Poor bite (open bite and deep bite): In this condition, the upper teeth and the lower teeth are not in proper alignment when the jaw is closed.
  • Growth problems of facial bones
  • Tip and torque control (a kind of tooth deformity)
  • Impacted teeth
  • Intercuspation cases (poor relation of upper and lower teeth in the hind part of the jaw)

Hence, you must discuss this with your dentist. Together, you may come up with the best plan for the management of your dental problems.

Is Invisalign better than braces?

Invisalign is a tempting choice when compared to braces. Invisalign is virtually painless and it can be removed when it is not convenient. With Invisalign, there is no calcification or staining, which is common when using braces. Invisalign does not cause damage to the gums, and there is no risk of heavy metal toxicity and plaque build-up where braces rest on the teeth. However, there are many dental conditions where only braces may help you.

How does Invisalign work?

Clear braces like Invisalign work by using detailed scans of your teeth with special technology. These three-dimensional (3D) scans are used to determine the desired final result of the dentition. The aligners are transparent molds made of Bisphenol A (BPA) free material, which sit over the upper and lower teeth. The aligners gently move your teeth one week at a time. Each week, your teeth are aligned some more by the slightly differently shaped aligners.

The treatment addresses all teeth and not just those seen when you smile. The aligners are plastic replicas of your teeth. It is recommended that the aligners be worn 22 hours a day or as prescribed by the orthodontist. Each set of aligners is worn for one to two weeks before changing to the next set. Over time, teeth reach their ideal places, according to the orthodontist’s plan. The total number of aligners will vary according to the needs of each patient. Follow-up retainers may be needed. The whole treatment may take any time from between six to 18 months.

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Medically Reviewed on 12/3/2020
References
Medscape Medical Reference

American Association of Orthodontists


The Journal of the American Dental Association


International Journal of Contemporary Dental & Medical Reviews


Invisalign