Despite the desire to have a beautiful smile, many adults have resigned themselves to crooked teeth because of the stigma attached to adult orthodontics. Ceramic or clear braces have helped convince some adult patients to proceed with orthodontic treatment, but until Invisalign, they were still far and few in between. By creating a nearly invisible solution, Invisalign has made orthodontic treatment acceptable to literally millions of adult patients. Today, Invisalign ships countless numbers of aligners annually.
So what is it exactly, and how does it work? Invisalign uses a series of plastic trays (or aligners) to move teeth into their proper position. The aligners are designed to apply a certain force on a tooth, which ultimately causes the tooth to move. The aligner trays are custom made based on initial models of the teeth (either actual models or virtual ones). Computer algorithms, lab technicians at Align Technology and finally the orthodontist work together to establish the course of treatment to straighten your teeth. The trays are shipped to the orthodontist who delivers them to the patient. Each aligner tray is typically worn for about 2 weeks, and then replaced by the next one until the desired objectives are achieved.
Of course, the significant draw for patients is the fact that the trays are transparent. As such, unless you are standing inches away from someone and know what to look for, they are virtually undetectable. This innovation has opened the door to orthodontic treatment to countless adults and older teenagers. Unlike braces, Invisalign is removable which means that you brush and floss your teeth as usual. With braces however, patients tend to struggle more to keep their teeth clean because of the inherent obstacles that the braces and wires create.
Invisalign has become a fantastic option for patients and dental health care providers. However, at its most basic level, Invisalign, like braces, headgears, or removable appliances, is just another tool used to move teeth. As with most tools, the skill of the operator is far more important than the tool itself. If you give Michelangelo’s brush to a painter, will he or she be able to create the Sistine Chapel? So choose your Invisalign provider wisely… but that’s another topic for another blog!