Invisalign is a clear aligner orthodontic treatment that is an alternative to traditional metal braces. Invisalign is sometimes referred to as “invisible braces” since it helps accomplish the same goal as traditional braces but blends in with the teeth and is more or less “invisible” to others.
While Invisalign can be used to treat patients of a variety of ages, it is particularly popular and effective for young adult and adult patients who want to straighten their teeth but who don’t want to wear braces for cosmetic reasons.
In addition to the fact that Invisalign clear aligners are essentially “invisible,” one of the other main advantages is a relatively short course of treatment compared to traditional metal braces. The typical treatment time for most patients is 6-12 months!
Invisalign is a particularly ideal option for adult patients who underwent orthodontic treatment with braces when they were younger, but who were not faithful in wearing their retainers and therefore have had slight orthodontic “relapse” where some of the teeth have since moved from their ideal position and have become crowded again. This is a very common scenario. Adult patients are generally more motivated to achieve a beautiful smile than they were when they were 11 or 12 years old and having Invisalign treatment is a relatively fast and non-invasive way to achieve it.
The way Invisalign works is as follows. Small composite (tooth-colored bonded filling material) attachments are placed strategically on certain teeth as points of anchorage and the patient wears a series of clear aligners that help move the teeth to the end goal position. A clear aligner is a thin, yet hard and durable plastic tray that is worn over the teeth, similar to a tray used for teeth whitening.
Each aligner is worn around the clock for a minimum of 22 hours per day (being taken out only when eating and brushing and flossing) for a specified period of time (typically 1-2 weeks) and then is replaced by the next aligner in the series. Moving from one aligner to the next allows the teeth to move slowly and safely to the end goal position.
At times, when teeth are especially crowded and there is no room for the teeth to move to their ideal position, a procedure termed “IPR,” or interproximal reduction, is performed to help create very small spaces between the teeth to allow the teeth to move to the proper position. IPR is accomplished by sanding the areas in between neighboring teeth, typically no more than 0.5mm, which allows the teeth to rotate and move into the proper position and close the space. The result is the beautiful smile you’ve always wanted!
Once the end goal is reached, the composite attachments are removed and the patient is given a set of retainers to wear that will help keep the teeth in their ideal position. The retainers are to be worn every night indefinitely to help keep your teeth straight and your smile beautiful!
Have additional questions or wondering if you’re a candidate for this amazing treatment option? Call us at (586) 731-9240 and schedule a free, no obligation consultation to see if Invisalign is right for you!