Invisalign also called clear aligners are orthodontic devices that use incremental transparent aligners to adjust teeth. They are used as an alternative to dental braces.
According to Dr. April Toyer, a Woodbridge Dentist, Invisalign uses clear plastic aligners and thus no one could know that they are there. They, unlike the braces, can be removed while eating, drinking and brushing.
The treatment is called clear aligner treatment and involves an orthodontist or dentist.
Clear elastic ties and white metal ties are used with these braces so that they are difficult to see. They may also be of a self-ligating type. These have higher friction with the teeth and are even more brittle than metal braces. Thus, sometimes removal of the braces at the end of the treatment becomes more difficult and also time taking.
These are also recommended for ongoing use after the completion of the orthodontic treatment. Invisalign can help to maintain the desired and accomplished results until the teeth have settled and stopped moving.
Problems cured by the use of Invisalign
- Gapped teeth: Gaps between teeth appear due to the continuous abnormal growth of the jaw bone. Sometimes, missing teeth too cause the surrounding teeth to shift due to the available space. These spacing issues and gaps in the teeth lead to gum problems (as there is lack of protection by teeth), periodontal pockets and also increased the risk of periodontal disease.
- Overbite: This is a state in which the upper teeth bite over the lower teeth. It is caused by reasons like genetics, bad oral habits, or overdevelopment of the bone supporting the teeth. It leads to gum problems and irritation, wear on the lower teeth, painful jaws and joint problems.
- Underbite: In this condition, lower teeth protrude past the upper teeth. It is caused by overdevelopment of the lower jaw bone and underdevelopment of the upper jaw. This situation interferes the normal function of the front teeth or molar, which also may lead to tooth wear. It may cause painful jaw and joint problems.
- Open Bite: This is the condition when the upper teeth are not able to make contact with the opposite lower teeth, causing difficulty in bites. Leading causes of this are genetic abnormal or excessive thumb-sucking by the baby. This condition causes painful or poor bite and chewing, also may result in speech impairment. It also sometimes may cause issues like temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ).
- Overly Crowded: In this case, there is a lack of space within the jaw for all the teeth to grow normally and if this condition is left untreated, it may worsen over time leading to severely crooked teeth. This crowding leads to problems like plaque accumulation, tooth decay and an increased chance of gum disease.
- Crossbite: In crossbite condition, the upper and the lower jaws both are misaligned. It results in one or more upper teeth to bite on the inside of the lower teeth. This condition may develop in both front and back sides of the mouth. It results in wear of the teeth, gum disease, and bone loss.
Processes involved in the treatment
- Treatment starts with taking an x-ray, photographs, a bite registration, and polyvinyl siloxane impressions of the person’s teeth and gums. The dentist/orthodontist then conducts a written evaluation which includes in itself diagnosis and treatment plan. Dental impressions are taken and scanned to create a digital three-dimensional (3D) representation of the teeth.
- Next, Technicians try to move the teeth to the desired location with the program treat, which involves in itself various stages between the present condition and the desired teeth locations. 6-48 aligners may be used in the process. Each aligner can move the teeth to about .25 to .33 millimeters. Each aligner requires being worn 20 hours a day for two weeks. Total treatment time may vary based on the total movement needed and the complexity of the case. The aligner may be removed for brushing, flossing and eating. A patient is advised to continue wearing a retainer at night even after the conclusion of the treatment for the desired results.
- A computer graphics representation of the projected teeth movements, created by a software program is produced to the doctor and patient for consent or corrections or modifications. After final approval, the aligners are manufactured. The molds for the aligners are built in layers using a photosensitive resin which cures itself into a hard plastic when exposed to the laser.
- The aligners are made for each patient differently according to their needs. They cannot be viewed by the eyes and fit snugly over the teeth. Each aligner will shift your teeth slightly horizontally or vertically, or even may rotate the teeth if required. The aligners are made in a way to apply the right amount of force in the right place for the right amount of time.
- Changing to the antecedent aligners, one gradually attains the right position of the teeth. It works according to the plan made by the doctor consulted.
Advantages of using Invisalign as a replacement for the traditional braces
- Their transparent appearance which makes them invisible to naked eyes.
- They can be removed as per need
- Traditional braces contain metal wires and bits that can injure gums or lips. These do not possess any such danger
Disadvantages of the process
These have higher friction with the teeth and are also more brittle than metal braces. Thus, sometimes removal of the braces at the end of the treatment becomes more difficult and also time taking.