Invisalign ® is a new orthodontic treatment system that works to straighten teeth through the use of a series of clear plastic aligners. Invisalign® “invisible” braces eliminate the metallic smile that is characteristic of traditional orthodontic braces.
How Does Invisalign® Work?
After taking bite impressions of your mouth, computer imaging is used to create a series of clear retainers. The first one will fit your current configuration of teeth. Each successive retainer will act like invisible braces, using gentle pressure to move your teeth to their target alignments.
The number of Invisalign® aligners used will depend on each individual case but the average is between 18 and 30. Each clear Invisalign® aligner is removable and worn for two weeks (24 hours a day, except during meals) and then the next aligner is used. This process is repeated until the teeth are in the desired position. The entire Invisalign® treatment takes the same amount of time as traditional orthodontic braces.
Benefits of Invisalign®
Perhaps the most apparent benefit of Invisalign® is that patients can straighten their teeth without anyone knowing. Most adults would rather live with crooked teeth than spend two or more years with the metal braces that they remember from their teenage years. The clear Invisalign® retainer was developed to introduce some much-needed aesthetics to the field of adult orthodontics.
The Invisalign® system also boasts improved hygiene over traditional braces. Because the clear retainers are removable, patients can brush and floss as they normally would, reducing the chances of possible staining and decay that often occur with traditional braces. Food and drink choices are less restrictive, as well. If patients wish to eat sticky candy or drink soda, they may do so after removing their clear Invisalign® retainer.
There are very few problems associated with the Invisalign® system. People who fail to wear their clear Invisalign® aligner at all times may find that their teeth don’t change position as quickly as they would like. Some people with sensitive teeth and gums may feel some discomfort when they switch to a new aligner in the series. These problems with Invisalign® are minor and most patients feel that the benefits far outweigh any problems.
How Much Does Invisalign® Cost
Your dental insurance may cover treatment with Invisalign® braces. Most patients find that their coverage is the same for Invisalign® as for other types of orthodontic treatment.