Which orthodontic treatment—clear aligners or braces on the teeth—would you choose? You’re not alone if you said clear aligners. Over the past two decades, using clear aligners to realign or straighten your teeth has gained popularity. The clear aligner product Invisalign, which was released to the market by Align Technology in 1998, is arguably the oldest and most well-known. Since then, more clear aligners from different manufacturers, including Spark, ClearCorrect, and uLab, have entered the market. This article will examine the capabilities, effectiveness, and benefits of Invisalign in greater detail.
What Is Invisalign?
With the help of a series of transparent plastic trays or aligners customized to the wearer’s changing bite, Invisalign is an orthodontic procedure that straightens teeth. Adults and teenagers who want to straighten their smiles without using conventional metal-and-wire braces frequently turn to the clear aligners. As the teeth are moved into position, the wearer advances to the next tray in the set, gradually reaching the end of the treatment plan and, eventually, a new smile. Users work with an Invisalign-trained orthodontist or dentist, who creates a set of custom aligners that the company calls “virtually transparent.” Invisalign users can remove their aligner trays for eating, brushing their teeth, and flossing, unlike people who wear glue-on braces.
What Dental Issue Can It Fix?
Many of the problems that traditional braces correct can be addressed with Invisalign. The use of plastic aligners by the recommended course of treatment can result in noticeable changes. However, they do not work for everyone. Most orthodontists advise against using Invisalign except in minor to moderate cases. Those considering Invisalign should speak with an expert to see if their irregularity can be corrected with clear aligners. According to the business, it addresses problems like:
- Crowded teeth
Because there isn’t enough space, this occurs when teeth are twisted or crowded together.
The majority of people have upper teeth that slightly overlap lower teeth, but a deep bite can be uncomfortable and problematic.
At this point, the lower teeth will rest on top of the upper teeth.
This occurs when one or more upper teeth are forced to bite inside of lower teeth due to an unaligned jaw.
- Gap teeth
There is an issue with the teeth’s spacing.
- Open bite
When the upper and lower teeth don’t line up, chewing is difficult.
How Does Invisalign Work?
A consultation with an Invisalign doctor marks the start of the treatment process for the potential patient. The orthodontist or dentist determines whether Invisalign is a suitable corrective procedure for the patient’s specific issues during this evaluation. In place of patient-made gummy mold impressions, the teeth are fitted for custom aligners during the consultation using 3D scans.
For a period of three to eighteen months, Invisalign users wear their aligners for 20 to 22 hours per day, removing them only to eat and brush their teeth. The tight aligners apply pressure to misaligned teeth, gradually moving them. As the bite moves closer to the desired result, the user switches out the current tray every one to two weeks.
The dentist may attach tiny handle-like attachments to the teeth before the patient picks up their first set of aligners; these allow the aligners to exert the proper force on the teeth’s problem areas. Not all people wearing Invisalign will require attachments, but as the teeth straighten out, an orthodontist might decide they’re necessary at some point.
But Does Invisalign Work?
Many people put off getting orthodontic treatment because they dislike the appearance or feel of conventional braces. Customers are drawn to the promise of Invisalign because it offers a nearly invisible, removable appliance that doesn’t cover the wearer’s smile. Invisalign is effective for a variety of problems. But a lot of patient compliance is necessary. If prospective Invisalign patients remove their trays for several days or even just a few hours, they shouldn’t anticipate a successful outcome. The aligners must be worn for 20 to 22 hours each day; otherwise, the teeth will shift out of position, impeding the anticipated progress.
Shorter Treatment Times
A study published in January 2019 in the journal BMC Oral Health found no statistically significant difference in outcomes between the use of clear aligners and conventional braces, though more research is required in this area. In other words, the clear aligners worked just as well as traditional braces. Another factor in favor of Invisalign: Those who wore clear aligners experienced shorter average treatment times.
Mild to Moderate Issues
If this course of treatment is appropriate for a patient’s particular orthodontic requirements, an Invisalign doctor will make that clear. Every mouth is different, and Invisalign can fix minor to moderate problems like crowding, over- or under-bites, cross-bites, and open bites. For its aesthetic appeal, Invisalign attracts some teenagers. While the price is comparable to that of braces, parents should think about how likely it is that their teens will use the trays regularly, brush after meals, and keep the pricey aligners when they are taken out. When used as directed, the system is only effective at straightening teeth.
How Long Does It Take For Invisalign To Work?
The Invisalign system consists of an evolving set of transparent aligners that the user wears for three to eighteen months. A doctor who specializes in Invisalign will decide how many trays and for how long each patient will need to wear their specific settings.
Compared to metal and wire braces, the transparent aligners and tooth-colored attachments are more discrete.
- Patient comfort
Metal brackets may be painful for people who have delicate gums or mouths. The trays are precisely cut to fit the wearer’s gumline.
- Easy to remove
When eating, brushing, and flossing, wearers can take the trays out. Wearers of Invisalign should get in the habit of always carrying a toothbrush.
- Fewer emergencies
The wires of traditional braces can occasionally break, and brackets can occasionally come off the teeth. Less unexpected trips to the dentist are required for those who use clear aligners.
- Eat what you want
While some chewy foods are prohibited with braces, Invisalign users are free to remove their trays and eat whatever they like.
The FDA-approved plastic used to make aligners doesn’t contain any BPA, BPS, latex, or gluten.
- Requires consistency
Users should wear their trays for 20 to 22 hours per day for the fastest and most effective treatment.
- Regular checkups
Because it necessitates routine in-person dental care, Invisalign is more expensive than other clear aligner brands.
- Slightly more expensive than braces
Users’ costs will vary, but Invisalign is a little more expensive than traditional braces. Additionally, the price of competing for clear aligners is double, if not triple.
It is advised that users limit beverages other than water throughout the course of their treatment as much as possible since coffees, teas, and sodas can stain the attachments and trays.
- Frequent brushing
Invisalign users must brush their teeth after every meal before re-applying their aligners, unlike those who wear braces. Also, it is better to use Dental 360 white strips for brighter teeth.
Some dental issues necessitate attachments glued to the teeth with a dental adhesive, even though Invisalign is sometimes preferred because the procedure is less invasive than applying brackets.
Can Invisalign Ruin Your Teeth?
Invisalign won’t ruin teeth, but a user should be careful to follow guidelines for hygiene and proper use. For example, an Invisalign user with attachments cemented to the teeth should not use any form of teeth-whitening treatment or toothpaste with whitener, as this would result in discolored areas when the attachments are removed. Similarly, Invisalign recommends that users drink only water while wearing aligners, as colored beverages can stain the trays. Attachments, which are the handles that hold the trays in place, can also stain when exposed to coffee, tea, or soda.
Is Invisalign Right For You?
It’s crucial to take into account the lifestyle, oral hygiene, and orthodontic concerns when determining whether Invisalign is the best option. When considering Invisalign for their adolescent children, parents should take into account the likelihood that their kids will stick to the 20–22 hour schedule. Because the aligners can be taken out, the user must be committed to wearing the device as directed.
The truth is that while most people desire straight teeth, they don’t want to put up with the discomfort and lifestyle adjustments that traditional braces require. When it comes down to it, Invisalign is neither invisible nor a quick fix. However, research demonstrates that transparent orthodontic appliances do work. Additionally, the Invisalign system offers advantages beyond subtlety. According to a systematic review that was published in BMC Oral Health in 2019, aligners typically treat the same issues in less time than braces, are removable, and are softer on the mouth than metal wire. Simply put, depending on the situation, Invisalign offers more flexibility than fixed orthodontics. Traditional braces are more intrusive than Invisalign, but they cost about the same or slightly more. Also, you need to consider the best toothbrush for traditional braces. When adults and teenagers know that wearing braces won’t significantly alter their appearance, they are more willing to correct uncomfortable orthodontic issues.