If you are looking to improve your smile there are a number of cosmetic dental treatments available. Invisalign braces offer a discreet method to fixing many cosmetic issues. Invisalign is a very powerful tool which can make a huge difference to the appearance of your teeth.
Is Invisalign right for you? We’ve put together a quick fact guide that will tell you everything you need to know about the treatment and how it can help improve your smile.
What are Invisalign Braces?
Invisalign is a series of clear trays that, when worn on crooked teeth, will gradually help to straighten them. Unlike traditional orthodontics with metal braces, Invisalign aligners are practically invisible when they are worn – making them far more cosmetically pleasing and ideal for anyone concerned about how their braces will look. This method of treatment is also more comfortable than braces as the trays are smooth, meaning that they won’t irritate your lips or cheeks!
How does Invisalign work?
Typically, it’s a pretty straight-forward process. You will be given a set of aligner trays, each of which moves the teeth gradually until they are straight. Most people will have 10 – 48 sets of upper and lower aligner trays, and each set will need to be worn for two weeks before you move on to the next set. You’ll need to wear your aligner trays for 22 hours each day.
Invisalign can be used to treat a wide variety of cosmetic dental issues, although you should be aware that it is not a magic solution to all problems and it might not be the best option for you! You will need to discuss this with your dentist if you’re considering Invisalign.
How long does treatment take?
As with all types of treatment, that very much depends upon your individual case – treatments can vary from 5 to 24 months.
The Benefits of Invisalign Braces:
- Invisalign braces are removable and can be removed for eating and drinking, so you can enjoy your food and drinks without having to worry about your teeth! Of course, this can also be a disadvantage, and we’ll discuss that later…
- Keeping up a good standard of oral hygiene is much easier with Invisalign than it is with fixed braces. Because the aligners are removable, you can access all areas of your mouth to brush and floss thoroughly.
- The aligners are virtually invisible – so you can improve your smile without feeling self-conscious!
- If you have a missing tooth (or teeth!), this is much easier to accommodate with Invisalign than it is with braces. If needed, the trays can be built with an artificial tooth built in.
The Disadvantages of Invisalign Braces:
Of course, as with any method of dental treatment, there are also a number of disadvantages associated with Invisalign…
- It doesn’t work in all cases. If, for example, major tooth movement is needed, Invisalign may not be the most effective choice. If smaller teeth need to be adjusted, you may also find that there isn’t enough surface area for the trays to grip on to, meaning they may not move the teeth as required.
- It is not always possible to move back teeth with Invisalign, or to carry out any treatment that involves repositioning the jaw. This is because, molars have very strong roots and so take a considerable amount of time to move with Invisalign.
- Because Invisalign is a more subtle process, it naturally takes more time than braces.
- Each individual Invisalign aligner is produced before the treatment begins, meaning that, if something doesn’t go quite according to plan, it can be difficult to correct. When this happens, a complete change of plan or mid-course correction may be required. Whilst this might sound simple, it may turn out to involve starting again with new impressions and new trays, which can add a considerable amount of time onto your treatment!
- Invisalign braces can be removed – meaning that it is easy to forget to put them back in! And, if they aren’t worn regularly, they can begin to lose their fit and can start to cause discomfort. This can also delay the treatment because, if a tray becomes uncomfortable, you will need to revert back to the previous set of trays.
- Removing the Invisalign trays can also make them easy to misplace and, if this happens, it can take a couple of weeks to get a new tray. Again, this will delay treatment!
If you and your dentist decide that you are a good candidate for Invisalign, your dentist will begin by taking moulds of your teeth. These will then be sent to an Invisalign lab, where they will be scanned and used to create a 3D computer model of your teeth.
A specialist Invisalign braces technician will then move your teeth into alignment on the computer image, and return it to your dentist, who will modify it further and return it to the lab. In most cases, the mock up will go back and forth between your dentist and the lab, until both parties are completely happy with it.
Once the final version of the mock up has been agreed, your dentist will be able to show you the virtual treatment – giving you your first glimpse of your brand new smile!
What happens next?
The next step is for the lab to create your aligners. You will be given a number of aligner trays at a time, and given detailed instructions about how you should wear them. You’ll need to visit the dentist every 4 to 8 weeks to collect your next sets of Invisalign braces.
If you’re treatment involves more difficult movements, your dentist may also put 4 to temporary white cement bumps onto your teeth to help the aligner grip the teeth. But don’t worry, these bumps can be removed easily without causing any damage to the teeth!
In addition to this, if your treatment aims to correct a problem with your bite, rubber bands may be positioned between the upper and lower teeth.