Invisalign is one of the most popular modern orthodontic treatments; it was developed as an alternative to traditional fixed braces and is an ideal treatment for anyone who thought about having treatment in the past and was put off by the thought of wearing bulky, unattractive metal braces.
What is Invisalign?
Invisalign is a clear aligner system; instead of using fixed braces made of brackets and wires to straighten the teeth, Invisalign uses a series of removable, transparent aligners to move the teeth. Each aligner is worn for 2 weeks and then substituted for the next aligner in the series until treatment is finished and the smile is beautifully straight; the aligners are custom-made based on a personalised treatment plan, which is drawn up by experts according to images and moulds of the patient’s teeth.
How does it work?
Invisalign aligners use gentle force to move the teeth into position; each aligner is slightly different to encourage the teeth to move and the aligners allow room for tooth movement. The aligners are removable, but they should be worn for a minimum of 21 hours per day to ensure good results.
What are the benefits?
The major selling-point of Invisalign is that the aligners are made from clear plastic, which makes them almost invisible; this is a great feature for most patients because they don’t have to worry about their looks during the treatment process. The aligners are also removable, which means that patients are not stuck with them and they don’t need to worry about eating or drinking; the fact that they are removable also helps oral hygiene, as it is much easier to brush the teeth without braces.
Invisalign is also beneficial for comfort reasons; there is no metal in the aligners, no need for painful appointments to adjust the aligners and the pressure is gentle, which helps to prevent pain.
The treatment system is relatively simple; all you have to do is wear your aligners for 21 hours per day, for 2 weeks and then swap the aligner for the next in the series until treatment is complete.
Are there any disadvantages?
Perhaps the only real disadvantage of Invisalign is that it is quite expensive; this treatment is one of the most expensive around, but many patients are willing to pay a bit more in exchange for a host of benefits; many dental practices also offer finance options now, which enable you to spread the cost of treatment. Some people may find it a disadvantage to have a series of aligners, as they may forget when to change them, but this is not usually a concern and you can make dates on your dairy or calendar to remind yourself.
In addition to the traditional Invisalign system, Invisalign also offers Invisalign Teen, especially for teenage patients, and Invisalign Lite, which is designed for patients with minor orthodontic issues. The systems all work in the same way but there are slight differences; Invisalign Lite patients only use around 5-10 aligners and Invisalign Teen comes with spare aligners and colour markers to remind patients when to change their aligner.