Invisalign Basics

Many people would love to “turn back the clock” and choose to wear braces when they were in their early teenage years. Most believe that braces look silly or unprofessional in the adult population, and while this is only a matter of opinion, there is now an answer for those who believe straight teeth are not possible after twenty. The Invisalign product acts exactly as traditional braces, only it is undetectable to the eye. The patient simply wears the small plastic appliance for twenty hours each day and within a year their teeth will be straightened and aligned. How does Invisalign work? Especially certified dentists and orthodontists, numbering around twenty thousand in the United States alone, are able to prescribe and administrate Invisalign equipment to their patients. The dentist or orthodontist will first determine if a patient is a viable candidate for the product by gauging the severity of their dental problems. For example, patients with crowded teeth, widely spaced teeth, overbites, cross bites, and relapsing after the removal of traditional braces are all usually able to enjoy the benefits of an Invisalign routine.

The dentist will then take impressions of the patient’s teeth as well as photographs, and then send them to the Invisalign manufacturing department which is operated by the company’s founding group, Align Technologies. Their laboratory will then use an advanced computer designing program to create from twenty to thirty aligning units for each patient. These units are intended to incrementally alter the location of the patient’s teeth, and will be changed every two weeks. Usually the dentist or orthodontist retains the bulk of the aligners, and after a monthly or bi-weekly check up will dispense the next two aligners to the patient. In this way progress and behaviors can be monitored, and optimal results achieved. The aligners will move teeth in tiny measurements of around .25 to .33 millimeters each session, and usually takes around twelve months or more to achieve the final results. There are several behaviors that all patients with Invisalign equipment must follow, and this includes removing them for no more than four hours a day, and never eating or drinking anything but water while wearing them. It is important to work only with a dentist or orthodontist who is certified to treat patients using the Invisalign product, and to be sure that regular check ups are followed to ensure the results are what they should be. What if a patient is not an acceptable candidate for the Invisalign system? There are always the traditional products used by orthodontists, including the metal and wire braces which may be necessary for severe cases of misalignment or dental problems. While they are not invisible like the Invisalign aligners they are much smaller than braces from the past, and they can work just as quickly as the aligners. It is strictly up to a dentist or orthodontist to determine the best treatment for any dental issues, and if discomfort, frequent head and neck aches and jaw pain are a constant issue it is a good idea to schedule an appointment.