How Does Invisalign Work?

BY: Dr. Sandeep Sharma
dentist shows invisible braces aligner. dental consultation in an orthodontic clinic

How Does Invisalign Work?

Thanks to modern technology’s wonders, your teeth no longer need to stay crooked and misaligned. Many orthodontic treatments are now available that can straighten your smile and give you back your confidence. No more feeling embarrassed or self-conscious when it comes to smiling!

If you’re searching for a discreet orthodontic treatment, Invisalign is the one you’re looking for. It features custom-made and clear aligners that fit your teeth snugly and naturally. No one can even tell you are wearing them! This makes it ideal for managing teeth alignment and bite issues without drawing unwanted attention.

Are you thinking of Invisalign to straighten your teeth? If so, read on to find out how it works.

Summary of the Content

  • Invisalign has become a popular orthodontic treatment with its clear, removable aligners to straighten teeth.

  • Patients start to see changes in their teeth within the first few weeks of treatment, with more noticeable changes after a few months.

  • Invisalign can address various dental problems, such as crooked teeth, overbite, underbite, crossbite, and gaps between teeth.

  • Invisalign aligners are smooth plastic that fits snugly over teeth without causing discomfort or irritation.

  • Aligners are removable for eating, drinking, brushing, and flossing but should be worn for 20 – 22 hours a day.

  • Wearing Invisalign can be a bit uncomfortable initially, but patients soon get used to it.

  • Regular checkups with a dentist are essential to monitor progress and make adjustments to the treatment plan if needed.

  • Conventional braces can be uncomfortable and cause irritation, whereas Invisalign is made of a comfortable plastic material.
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The Science Behind Invisalign

The science behind Invisalign is based on the principles of orthodontics, which involve applying controlled force to the teeth to move them into their proper position.

The aligners are custom-made for each patient using 3D imaging technology. This allows for precise teeth measurements, ensuring that the aligners fit the teeth snugly and apply the proper amount of force to move them into the desired position.

The aligners are made from a special thermoplastic, durable, and flexible material. The material allows for comfortable wear while applying the necessary force to move the teeth.

Dental patients wear each set of aligners for about two weeks. They are then replaced with the next set in the series. Over time, the teeth gradually move into the desired position.

The Design of Invisalign Aligners

The design of Invisalign aligners is a crucial factor that makes them a suitable and comfortable orthodontic treatment.

The material used to create Invisalign aligners is a thermoplastic that is both durable and flexible. This material is called SmartTrack. SmartTrack is a patented thermoplastic material developed specifically for Invisalign aligners. The material has several fundamental properties that make it ideal for this application. It is strong yet flexible, allowing it to apply the necessary force to move the teeth into their proper position. It is also translucent, making the aligners nearly invisible when worn.

Invisalign aligners are made using advanced imaging technology and 3D printing. The process starts with a 3D scan of the patient’s teeth. This digital scan is used to create a digital model of the patient’s mouth, which is then used to design the aligners. The aligners are explicitly designed for each patient based on their individual needs.

Once the aligners have been designed, they are 3D printed using stereolithography. Stereolithography involves a laser to cure a liquid resin into the desired shape. The finished aligners are then trimmed and polished for a comfortable fit.

Several types of Invisalign treatments are available, each designed to address the particular needs of patients. Here are some of them:

  • Invisalign Full:
    This treatment is designed to address moderate orthodontic problems, such as misalignment issues, underbites, and overbites. It involves wearing between 15-30 sets of aligners over a treatment duration of 12-18 months.

  • Invisalign Lite:
    This treatment is designed for mild to moderate cases of misalignment. It involves wearing between 8-14 trays. The estimated treatment duration is about 6-12 months.

  • Invisalign Express:
    This short-term orthodontic treatment is designed to address mild orthodontic concerns, such as small gaps between teeth or minor misalignment due to relapse after previous orthodontic treatment. The treatment time for Invisalign Express is only three to six months.

    Invisalign Express offers three options:
    1. Invisalign Express 5 (five aligner trays)
    2. Invisalign Express 10 (ten aligner trays)
    3. Invisalign i7 (seven invisible aligners).

  • Invisalign Teen:
    This treatment is specifically designed for teenagers and is suitable for mild to moderate cases of misalignment and overcrowding. It involves wearing 18-30 plastic aligners for 6-18 months.

  • Invisalign First:
    This treatment is a quick and comfortable way to address developing malocclusions or orthodontic problems in children’s teeth. It is designed for children aged 6-10 years and involves wearing an unlimited number of aligners over a treatment duration of up to 18 months.

How Long Does the Invisalign Treatment Take?

The length of time it takes to complete Invisalign treatment can vary depending on a range of factors. Generally, the treatment duration for most cases is between 12 and 18 months. However, some cases may be completed in as little as six months, while more complex issues can take up to 24 months.

Several factors can affect the duration of Invisalign treatment. These factors include:

  • The severity of the orthodontic issues:
    The more severe the misalignment, the longer the treatment will take.

  • Patient compliance:
    Wearing the aligners for the recommended amount of time each day is crucial to achieving the desired results. Failure to comply with these instructions can prolong the treatment time.

  • Age:
    Older patients may require a more extended treatment as their teeth take longer to move compared to younger patients.

  • Type of Invisalign treatment:
    Different types of Invisalign have different treatment durations, with some designed to be completed in a shorter period.

Working closely with your dentist and following the treatment plan as directed can help your treatment progress as efficiently as possible, allowing you to achieve the straight, beautiful smile you desire.

How Often Do I Need to Visit the Dentist During Invisalign Treatment?

During Invisalign treatment, you must schedule regular dental checkups with your dentist so your treatment progresses as planned. In most cases, patients are required to visit their dentist every six to eight weeks during Invisalign treatment. These checkups are necessary to monitor the treatment progress and make any adjustments to the aligners.

In addition to regular checkups, there are some instances wherein it is vital to get immediate dental attention while undergoing Invisalign treatment.

Here are some of the reasons to get an immediate dental visit when on Invisalign treatment:

  • Broken or lost aligners:
    If an aligner becomes cracked, broken, or lost, see your dentist immediately. Your dentist may need to fabricate a new aligner so that your treatment stays on track.

  • Tooth pain or discomfort:
    Invisalign treatment involves applying pressure to the teeth, which can cause discomfort or soreness. If you experience severe or persistent tooth pain, it could be a sign of an issue that needs to be addressed by your dentist.

  • Gum irritation or bleeding:
    If your gums become irritated or bleed while wearing your aligners, it could be due to gum disease or another dental problem. Your dentist can assess the situation and provide treatment if necessary.

  • Concerns about treatment progress:
    If you have any concerns about the progress of your Invisalign treatment, it is crucial to bring them up with your dentist as soon as possible. Your dentist can evaluate your progress and make any necessary adjustments so you can achieve the desired outcomes.

How Fast Can I See Results With Invisalign?

One of the benefits of Invisalign is that patients can see results relatively quickly. However, the speed at which you will see results can vary depending on several factors. In general, most patients will start to see changes in their teeth within the first few weeks of the treatment process, with more noticeable changes becoming apparent after a few months.

It is important to note that every patient’s case is unique, and results will vary depending on the individual circumstances. But here are some factors that may delay the treatment results:

  • Poor compliance:
    Wearing the aligners for the recommended amount of time each day is crucial to achieving the desired results. Failure to comply with the given instructions can delay the results.

  • Missed appointments:
    Regular dental checkups are important to monitor the progress of the treatment and make any necessary adjustments. Missing appointments can hinder the treatment progress and results.

  • Non-compliant behaviour:
    Habits such as smoking or excessive alcohol consumption can slow down tooth movement and delay the treatment

  • Health conditions:
    Certain health conditions, such as gum disease, bone loss, or jaw misalignment, can also delay the treatment.

Dental Problems Invisalign Can Help Address

Invisalign is an orthodontic treatment that can help address a range of dental problems.

Here are some of the most common dental problems that Invisalign can help manage:

  1. Crooked Teeth:
    Not only can misaligned teeth be a source of aesthetic distress, but they can also put you at risk for oral health problems such as tooth decay and gum disease.

  2. Overbite:
    When the upper teeth excessively protrude past the lower teeth, an overbite can arise. This may result in difficulty speaking, chewing, and discomfort in the jaw area.

  3. Underbite:
    When the lower teeth stick out further than the upper teeth, it is referred to as an underbite. Unfortunately, this can result in speech impediments, difficulty chewing, and even jaw discomfort.

  4. Crossbite:
    A crossbite occurs when the top row of teeth overlaps with and bites within the lower set of teeth, ultimately causing a myriad of dental issues such as uneven tooth erosion, jaw pain, and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder.

  5. Gaps Between Teeth:
    Not only are gapped teeth a concern for those who want to maintain an attractive smile, but they can also make it difficult for individuals to communicate.

Invisalign is an ideal treatment for managing these dental issues. The aligners gently push the teeth to bring them into proper alignment. As the teeth move, the aligner trays must be replaced to keep up with the progress.

Invisalign treatment can align the teeth and improve your overall oral health. As tooth movement is achieved, brushing and flossing become a lot easier. This reduces the risk of cavities and gum disease. With invisible braces, you can expect a beautiful, straighter smile without experiencing pain or discomfort!

The Benefits of Invisalign

Compared to traditional braces, Invisalign offers several benefits, making it a popular choice for patients seeking orthodontic treatment. Here are some of the main advantages of Invisalign:

  1. Improved comfort and convenience compared to traditional braces:
    Invisalign aligners are designed to fit comfortably and smoothly. This means they are less likely to cause irritation or discomfort than traditional braces, which have metal wires and brackets that can rub against the cheeks and gums.

  2. Reduced risk of oral health problems:
    Because Invisalign aligners are removable, it is easier to maintain good oral hygiene during treatment. Patients can brush and floss their teeth as they normally would. This reduces the risk of tooth decay, gum disease, and bad breath.

  3. Minimal dietary restrictions during treatment:
    Invisalign aligners have no such restrictions. Patients can eat and drink normally. They can simply remove the aligners during meals and put them back in when finished.

  4. Discreet appearance: Invisalign aligners are virtually invisible when worn. This means that patients can enjoy the benefits of orthodontic treatment without feeling self-conscious about their appearance.

How Are Invisalign Trays Used?

Invisalign trays are a vital component of orthodontic treatment. Here’s how they are used:

  1. Customization:
    At the beginning of the treatment, your dentist will take impressions of your teeth and use them to create a 3D model of your teeth. The 3D model is used to create a series of custom-made Invisalign trays that will be used throughout the treatment.

  2. Wearing the trays:
    Once the Invisalign trays are ready, you will wear each set for a specified amount of time, usually two weeks, before switching to the next set. The trays are designed to move teeth into alignment gently.

  3. Removing the trays:
    Invisalign trays are removable, meaning you can take them out when you eat, drink, brush, or floss your teeth. However, it is vital to wear them for the recommended amount of time each day (20-22 hours per day).

  4. Cleaning the trays:
    Invisalign trays should be cleaned regularly to prevent bacteria buildup and remain clear and transparent. You can clean them using a soft-bristled toothbrush and nonabrasive toothpaste or specialized Invisalign cleaning crystals.

  5. Progress checkups:
    Throughout the treatment, you will have regular checkups with your dentist to monitor your progress and make any necessary adjustments to the treatment plan.

  6. Completing the treatment:
    Once you have completed the treatment, your dentist will instruct you to wear a retainer to maintain the treatment results.

How Does It Feel to Wear Invisalign?

Wearing Invisalign can be a different experience for each patient, but it can take some time to get used to it. Here’s what you can expect when you wear Invisalign:

  1. There may be some discomfort:
    When you first start wearing Invisalign, you may experience discomfort or pressure on your teeth. This is normal, as the aligners are designed to apply gentle pressure to your teeth to move them into their proper position.

  2. You may notice a difference in your speech:
    As you adjust to the aligners, you may notice that your speech is slightly affected. The aligners may change how your tongue and mouth move as you speak. This change in speech will eventually resolve in a few days as most patients adapt to the aligners.

  3. The aligners are comfortable to wear:
    Unlike traditional braces, Invisalign plastic aligners have no wires or brackets that can rub against your cheeks or gums.

Invisalign vs. Traditional Braces

When it comes to orthodontic treatment, patients have several options, including Invisalign and traditional braces. Here are some of the main differences between Invisalign and traditional braces:

  1. Appearance:
    One of the most significant differences between Invisalign and traditional braces is their appearance. Traditional metal braces have wires and brackets visible on the teeth. In contrast, Invisalign aligners are made from a transparent plastic material that is virtually invisible when worn.

  2. Comfort:
    Traditional braces can be uncomfortable, especially in the first few days after placing them on the teeth. The brackets and wires can rub against the cheeks and gums, causing irritation or sores. Invisalign is less likely to cause irritation or discomfort due to its custom fit and comfortable material.

  3. Dietary restrictions:
    Patients with traditional braces must avoid some foods that can damage the wires and brackets, such as sticky or hard foods. In contrast, patients with Invisalign can eat and drink as usual, simply removing the aligners before meals and putting them back in when finished.

  4. Oral hygiene:
    Maintaining good oral hygiene can be more challenging with traditional braces, as the brackets and wires can trap food particles and make it difficult to clean the teeth thoroughly. Invisalign aligners are removable, making brushing and flossing the teeth easier than usual.

  5. Treatment duration:
    The length of treatment can vary depending on each patient’s needs. Invisalign treatment generally takes about 6-18 months, depending on the complexity of the case, while traditional braces can take anywhere from 18 months to three years, although the average treatment time is around 24 months.

  6. Cost:
    Invisalign is more expensive than traditional braces, but the price can vary depending on individual circumstances.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, orthodontic treatment can help improve the appearance and function of your teeth and boost your overall dental health.

Invisalign is a popular choice for patients seeking orthodontic treatment due to its comfort, convenience, and discreet appearance. Compared to the highly-visible metal braces, Invisalign offers several advantages. This includes the reduced risk of oral health problems, minimal dietary restrictions, and greater ease of maintaining good oral hygiene.

At Clear Choice Dental, we understand that every patient’s orthodontic needs are unique. That’s why we offer various treatment options, including Invisalign, to help you achieve the straight, healthy smile you deserve. Our experienced dentists will work closely with you to create a personalized treatment plan tailored to your needs and goals.

Don’t let misaligned teeth hold you back from showing off your smile with confidence. Contact Clear Choice Dental today to schedule an initial consultation and take the first step towards healthy, straight teeth and a more beautiful, confident smile.

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