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Invisalign

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Mark J. Williamson, DDS

3355 Cherry Ridge, Ste. 216
San Antonio, Texas 78230
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How Do Invisalign® Aligners Work?

Orthondotics Invisalign Metal Brace

For many years, people who wanted straighter teeth had to rely on traditional metal braces. And although these conventional orthodontic devices have some downsides, they are still commonly used to this day because they are so effective. But now, thanks to an amazing advancement in dental/orthodontic technology, people have another choice when it comes to selecting a tooth-straightening treatment: Invisalign® aligners. This remarkable method is an excellent alternative for some dental patients, allowing them to straighten their teeth by wearing clear plastic aligner trays that are virtually invisible to other people. So just how do Invisalign® aligners work? Read on to find out!

The Technology behind Invisalign®

One of the most common complaints among dental patients who wear metal braces is how visible those appliances are. And there’s no doubt about it – metal braces are all too obvious to other people. This prompted researchers to develop an alternative to metal braces; one that is just as effective, but less visible than the conventional tooth-straightening method. Their solution involved clear plastic aligner trays that are custom-made for each individual. These appliances are created using a 3-dimensional model of the patient’s entire mouth. With the Invisalign® treatment plan, a series of these customized trays are created for the individual, who will need to switch out the trays every few weeks for a new set.

Exactly How Does Invisalign® Straighten Your Teeth?

The clear plastic aligners, which can be removed by the patient, must be worn at least 22 hours each day in order for the treatment to work. Over the course of several months, the trays apply steady but gentle pressure on the patient’s teeth. Gradually, the teeth begin to straighten. The pressure that is exerted can be somewhat uncomfortable, but people report that Invisalign® is generally much less painful than wearing traditional metal braces. And if you feel a small amount of discomfort when wearing Invisalign® aligners, just remember — that means they’re working!

Advantages of Invisalign® for Straightening Teeth

We’ve already mentioned the obvious benefit that comes with the Invisalign® treatment method – that the clear plastic aligner trays are virtually invisible to other people. But there are other advantages as well. What follows are some of those:
  • Shorter treatment time – Although the length of treatment can vary somewhat depending on the individual, Invisalign® typically requires less time than traditional braces. In fact, Invisalign® typically takes between 9 and 18 months, as opposed to conventional metal braces that usually require between 18 and 24 months, but could take as long as 3 years!
  • Aligner trays are removable – Unlike metal braces, which can only be removed by a dentist or orthodontist, Invisalign® trays can be removed by the patient to eat meals and brush and floss.
  • No dietary restrictions – Patients who wear metal braces need to be cautious about the foods they eat since some can get stuck in their braces or damage the appliance. But because they can remove their aligners, people wearing Invisalign® trays don’t have any dietary restrictions. They simply remove their trays and enjoy whatever foods they like.
  • Simpler oral hygiene – It can be challenging to thoroughly clean your teeth and gums when wearing conventional braces. Patients with Invisalign® aligners, on the other hand, can simply remove their trays and brush and floss as they normally would.
  • Fewer visits to the dentist/orthodontist – People wearing traditional metal braces need to visit the dentist or orthodontist on a regular basis to have the wires on their devices tightened. But wearers of Invisalign® aligners can often receive their new sets of trays in advance, which allows them to move onto their next phase of treatment without visiting the dentist or orthodontist.
  • Invisalign® is more comfortable to wear – While there’s no doubt that patients feel a slight discomfort for the first day or two of wearing a new set of aligners, most people report that Invisalign® trays are much more comfortable than metal braces.

Exactly How Does Invisalign® Straighten Your Teeth?

The clear plastic aligners, which can be removed by the patient, must be worn at least 22 hours each day in order for the treatment to work. Over the course of several months, the trays apply steady but gentle pressure on the patient’s teeth. Gradually, the teeth begin to straighten. The pressure that is exerted can be somewhat uncomfortable, but people report that Invisalign® is generally much less painful than wearing traditional metal braces. And if you feel a small amount of discomfort when wearing Invisalign® aligners, just remember — that means they’re working!

Is Invisalign® the Right Choice for You?

Although Invisalign® is an excellent choice for some dental patients, it might not be the right treatment method for everyone. People with very severe dental issues may need to wear conventional metal braces in order to resolve their problems. But generally speaking, any teenager or adult with mild to moderate cases of the following conditions should be good candidates for Invisalign®:
  • Crooked/misaligned teeth
  • Crowded teeth
  • Gaps in between teeth
  • Protruding teeth
  • Overbites
  • Underbites
  • Crossbites
If you have other oral health issues, such as gum disease or tooth decay, for example, your dentist or orthodontist will want to resolve those problems before you begin your Invisalign® treatment. And while this tooth-straightening technology works for both teens and adults, it’s important to remember that the patient must wear their aligner trays for the recommended amount of time each day. Otherwise, the method won’t work. That means that teens who are tempted to not wear their aligners for an adequate period of time may not be good candidates for this type of treatment. Fortunately, the makers of Invisalign® anticipated this problem and developed a product called Invisalign® Teen. This revolutionary product works in exactly the same way as Invisalign® with these important differences:
  • Invisalign® Teen aligners include a blue indicator dot to indicate how many hours the aligners were worn throughout the day. This allows parents to make sure that their teens are wearing the trays for the recommended length of time each day.
  • The Invisalign® Teen treatment method includes additional replacement aligners since kids are more likely to damage or lose their trays than adult patients.

So how do Invisalign® aligners work? The answer is simple: they work great for most dental patients! Just keep in mind that they may not be the right choice for everyone. It all depends on your current oral health and the severity of your dental issues. To find out more about this remarkabletechnology, and to find out whether or not you are a good candidate for Invisalign®, call and schedule an appointment with your dentist or orthodontist today!