If you're worried about the alignment of your teeth, you may have heard of an alternative to braces called "Invisalign." Invisalign is the branded name for clear-aligner treatment, a method of orthodontic correction that involves a set of transparent plastic aligners. Compared to traditional braces, there are both pros and cons. Here's everything you need to know about the Invisalign process and how you can determine whether Invisalign is right for you.
What is Invisalign?
Invisalign is an alternative to traditional braces that is far less noticeable than other methods of teeth alignment. Used for correcting the spacing of teeth, Invisalign fits over existing teeth in order to move them over time. Invisalign can be used on both teenagers and adults to correct minor to moderate misalignment of teeth. In order to be effective, the Invisalign product will need to be used for a significant portion of the day, for weeks at a time.
How Does Invisalign Work?
During your initial fitting, a mold will be taken of your teeth. A number of clear Invisalign aligners will then be produced in a series of steps that are intended to move your teeth from their current position to the desired position. The number of aligners that are printed will depend on how much your teeth need to be adjusted.
Each new aligner will move your teeth incrementally closer to the correct position. Each step of Invisalign aligners will be worn 20 hours a day for a period of two weeks, before moving onto the next stage. Once the last stage has been completed, the teeth should be moved to the correct positions. You will usually work closely with your dentist to determine whether you're ready for the next step.
Who Is an Invisalign Candidate?
Invisalign is for any adult or teenager interested in correcting mild to moderate crowding or spacing issues with their teeth. It is not for anyone who has serious issues with their bite, which stem from issues with their jawbone. For more severe alignment issues, Invisalign usually isn't recommended.
Invisalign is recommended, however, for those who have had their teeth corrected in the past but who have since found them shifting back to their original position. In this situation, Invisalign can be used to restore the initial correction.
How Does Invisalign Compare to Braces?
There are a few advantages that Invisalign has over braces. As Invisalign aligners can be easily removed, they make it easier to brush and floss teeth. Traditional braces can make dental hygiene problematic, which can also introduce other dental issues (if a patient isn't careful). Invisalign is also "invisible": it's barely noticeable over an individual's teeth. Those who would be self-conscious about braces may find that Invisalign is a subtler option.
That being said, both Invisalign and braces can be used to correct the same crowding and spacing issues with teeth, and the process of Invisalign isn't necessarily "better" than the process of using traditional braces. One complication is that Invisalign does tend to be more expensive than traditional braces, depending on an individual's needs and insurance.
Further, Invisalign tends to be most effective in resolving issues with front teeth. For back teeth, braces are more effective. Invisalign is not recommended for children.
Is Invisalign Right for You?
If your teeth are spaced too closely together or too far apart, Invisalign is a comfortable and unobtrusive way reposition your teeth without the negative aesthetic impact of having braces. Invisalign is ideal for both adults and teenagers who want to correct mild to moderate issues with their teeth and want to do so discretely. It is best for those who have issues primarily with their front teeth, rather than their molars.
Determining whether or not Invisalign is the right product for you involves careful thought and research. If you want to correct the alignment of your teeth, your first step is to get a consultation with a professional. Once you decide what type of product you prefer, you can move forward to get the smile you've always wanted.