Invisalign: How It Works and Why It’s Superior to Metal Braces
Invisalign is an innovative dental product that burst onto the scene and changed how dentists and patients alike approach teeth straightening. There was even some skepticism at first. After all, aligners look a lot different than the metal braces we often associate with adolescence. Despite the lack of brackets and teeth-tightening wires, Invisalign has proven an effective and even better alternative.
How Invisalign Clear Aligners Work
Braces have become such an iconic symbol of adolescence largely due to the impact they have on a smile and one’s overall appearance. Even though metal braces are perfectly suitable for adults, there is a stigma attached to them, and so many forgo the treatment they need. Invisalign changes all that because the aligners are made of medical-grade plastic and are practically imperceptible. No one at work will notice, and the treatment period is often much less compared to braces as well.
The Invisalign system involves a series of custom-made aligners. As you progress through the series, each tray nudges your teeth just a little bit closer to their ideal position, and each tooth can be adjusted individually in this manner. Each aligner moves teeth by about .25 to .33 millimeters, and you will move on to the next set in the series about every two weeks or so.
A clear appearance is one of the great advantages of Invisalign, but there is another amazing benefit as well: You can remove them. Conventional braces are not removable. With Invisalign aligners, you have the control. You need to wear them at least 20 hours a day, but that leaves you plenty of time to take them out when you eat, when you brush and floss, and for those special occasions.
The Invisalign Treatment Process
During your Invisalign consultation, your dentist will perform a comprehensive examination of your oral health to ensure that you are a good candidate. Most people are, but if you have oral health issues, your dentist may recommend dealing with those first prior to straightening your teeth.
Once you are ready to begin treatment, your dentist will use advanced scanning technology to create three-dimensional digital images of not just your teeth but the overall oral cavity. Specialized software turns these scans into highly accurate models. Your dentist can then view your jaw from every angle, adjust each tooth individually, and see and show you the changes to your smile and face.
After your dentist finishes modeling your perfect smile, that data is analyzed by highly sophisticated and precise software. It uses the data to plan each aligner tray in your individualized series in order to move your teeth from where they are to where you want them to be. Some people need as few as 20 aligner trays to reach their goals, whereas others need as many as 29.
A set consists of a tray for the upper arch and a tray for the lower arch. Each set will need to be worn for 20 to 22 hours a day, and the exact length will depend on your unique needs. After wearing a set for a designated period, you move on to the next set. The period varies but is usually every two or three weeks. Each new set moves the teeth in small increments, and this is achieved because the aligners are slightly tighter than your teeth and so put pressure on them to gently force them into place.
You will also need to see your dentist on a regular basis, which can range from every six to 10 weeks. During these visits, your dentist will evaluate your smile and ensure that everything is progressing according to plan. Total treatment time for an adult takes 12 to 18 months on average. However, your treatment period will depend on the specifics of your smile. Your dentist will work with you to develop an individualized treatment plan, and it is through this process that you will learn the treatment period required to perfect your smile.
Straighter Teeth Plus a Lot More
Straightening crooked teeth is just one of the positive changes Invisalign can make. It can close gaps between teeth that otherwise could cause or accelerate gum disease. Your dentist can use Invisalign to correct an overbite or underbite, conditions that stress the jaw and can result in jaw pain. Another oral health issue Invisalign can fix is overcrowded teeth, which causes cavities and greater plaque buildup.
Advantages of Invisalign
Compared to traditional metal braces, Invisalign offers many benefits. In addition to discreetness and shorter treatment times, these include comfort, ease of use, an unrestricted diet, and removability.
- Straight Teeth – Straight teeth are among the most important aspects of an attractive smile. Enjoy a big, gleaming, beautiful smile, which will play a crucial role in making great first impressions.
- Improved Dental Health – The benefits of straight teeth extend beyond your looks. It makes good oral hygiene easier, and your teeth and gums will be much less prone to plaque buildup and other oral health issues. Brushing and flossing can be maintained normally to prevent tooth decay and periodontitis.
- Proven Track Record – Invisalign is no longer the new kid on the block challenging preconceptions. It is among the most common orthodontic treatments, and more than 7 million people worldwide have benefited from it.
- Less Time Commitment – There is much less time commitment when it comes to Invisalign. The total treatment period is shorter. You do not have to visit your dentist as often, and the maintenance requirements are less as well.
- Clear Aesthetic – When you wear Invisalign, you can feel free to smile at school or while giving a presentation at the office. This is among the most substantial differences between metal braces and clear aligners. The aligners are made of clear plastic and practically imperceptible from normal social distances.
- Comfort – Metal braces can be rather uncomfortable. The wires and metal brackets can even cut and otherwise irritate the soft tissues in your mouth. Invisalign aligners are both lightweight and smooth. Most people are able to fall asleep wearing them with little to no adjustment period, which is unusual for braces. You will barely notice that they are there, and that makes it easy to wear them for 20 to 22 hours a day.
- Enhanced Self-Esteem – Invisalign clear aligners are going to make you feel better about yourself as soon as you start wearing them. Over time, you will notice the improvements, and that is going to boost your confidence even more. Some people can see the difference in as little as six weeks, and it just gets better from there.
- Removable – A difficult aspect of metal braces is that once they are installed, there is never any reprieve until your dentist removes them. With Invisalign, you get multiple breaks every single day. You can remove your aligners in order to snack, enjoy a meal, brush and floss your teeth, and so on.
- Maintain Your Diet – Many orthodontic appliances, including braces, can limit your food choices. This not only reduces the quality of life from an emotional perspective but can make it more difficult to balance your diet. This is not an issue with Invisalign because you can remove them for every meal and even whenever you snack.
- Simple Maintenance – One of the big reasons many foods are off-limits with braces is that they get stuck in the nooks and crannies, and the brief enjoyment simply is not worth the cleaning hassle. Your aligners can be removed as needed to clean them, and you can even soak them in water while you brush or eat.
- Invisalign Aligners Are BPA-Free – A common but misguided concern when it comes to Invisalign is that the plastic aligners may contain BPA. BPA is a chemical often found in recycled plastics, and there are some serious health concerns associated with it. But Invisalign is made from BPA-free medical-grade plastic. In fact, you are more likely to get toxins from metal braces in your mouth than Invisalign clear aligners.
Choose Invisalign to Perfect Your Smile
Scottsdale Dental Excellence is proud to be a certified and premier provider of Invisalign. Jeffrey D. Clark, DDS, and his entire dental team want to help you enjoy the healthiest, straightest, and most beautiful smile possible. If you live in the Greater Scottsdale area and want to learn more about Invisalign, we encourage you to contact us. Call 480 585 1853 to schedule your consultation.