What is Invisalign and how does it work?  Am I the right candidate?

Malocclusion is defined as a bite which deviates from perfection.   Colloquially, these malocclusions are referred to as “bad bites” and affect patients of all ages in a variety of ways. Symptoms of a bite problem include gaps between teeth, crooked teeth, crowded teeth, as well as trouble speaking and chewing properly. There are many different types and severities of malocclusions, which will determine the modality of orthodontic treatment recommended by your dentist or orthodontist.  Today, in many cases, there are many alternatives to traditional braces which have been used by orthodontists for over 100 years. Many patients, both teens and adults may benefit from an alternative orthodontic treatment known as Invisalign.

With so many options for cosmetic orthodontics today, it can be easy for anyone to become confused by the different types of treatments being used. Unlike other types of orthodontics, Invisalign is not in fact a system of braces. Invisalign is a system of removable plastic retainers which work to gradually shift teeth into the proper occlusal relationships. This is not to be confused with options such as invisible braces or clear ceramic braces. Invisalign retainers are digitally produced from photographs and impressions which are taken by your dentist or orthodontist. Once the retainers are fabricated, they must be worn 24 hours a day, every single day. The only time the retainers can be removed is when eating or brushing your teeth.  Every two weeks a new set of retainers is placed.

Originally, Invisalign was thought to be suitable for a small number of select cases. Today, however, thanks to advances in technology, Invisalign can be used in a much broader variety of cases. Large gaps between teeth, overly crowded teeth, overbites, underbites, open bites, and even difficult to fit crossbites are now safely treated through the use of Invisalign plastic retainers. Invisalign is suitable for both adults and teenagers, with Invisalign Teen including extra sets of retainers in case of loss or damage. The length of Invisalign treatments varies dramatically depending on the severity of the orthodontic problem, but patients will often begin to see results in the first three months of treatment.

Invisalign has many benefits over standard orthodontic braces. Unlike braces, which are attached to your teeth and can only be removed by your orthodontist at the end of your treatment, Invisalign retainers are removed once a day for cleaning and during meals. This means that patients using Invisalign do not have to make any alterations to their diets during their treatment. Dentists also comment that Invisalign systems are actually healthier for your teeth. Traditional metal braces will trap plaque and food, causing the spread of tooth decay unless very careful and rigorous cleaning is maintained throughout the course of treatment. Invisalign reduces these problems, and cleaning is as simple as removing the aligner and cleaning as per your doctor’s orders, a process which takes only minutes. Invisalign is crafted from clear plastic which is both invisible and comfortable, creating the most discreet and gentle method of orthodontic care today.

However, even with the wealth of information found online, the only way to know for certain if Invisalign systems are the right choice for you is to visit your local orthodontist for a consultation appointment. During this visit, your doctor can answer all of your questions about Invisalign, including cost of care and duration of treatment, to help you understand the process and make an educated decision about your orthodontic care. For many adults as well as teenagers, Invisalign provides the ability to correct malocclusions while avoiding the aesthetic and hygiene issues of regular braces.