Gone are the days when you have to wear visible braces on your teeth to correct tooth positioning.
Developed in the United States in the late nineties, the Invisalign system now allows almost invisible straightening of teeth using sets of see-through aligners. The major benefits – apart from being unobtrusive – is that 1) they are customised to your teeth, 2) they start to work almost straight away, 3) they are more comfortable than conventional braces since they don't use metal brackets or wires that can irritate your mouth and gums, 4) they can be easily removed whenever you need to brush your teeth, or eat and drink and 5) the process generally works faster than traditional treatments (using standard braces), sometimes decreasing treatment time from the normal three years to around 12-18 months.
A final benefit is that you don't need to come into the clinic as often, since no adjustments are needed as there are with traditional braces – you just replace one aligner with the next in the series yourself (although you will still need to come in to the clinic on occasional basis to check that everything is progressing as it should).
Your aligners are manufactured using advanced 3D imaging equipment and software specifically for your set of teeth, and start helping to move your teeth into the correct position immediately. You start by wearing the first one, and gradually you move through the others which, week by week, straighten your teeth into the final position.
The average total treatment time is between 6 and 15 months and typically, patients will use between 18 and 30 aligners. You’ll use each aligner for around two weeks and then its job is done.
The aligners themselves are made of a very strong, medical grade thermoplastic material, which has been created especially for Invisalign. They fit snugly over your teeth so they’re very comfortable and of course, practically invisible.
Traditional wire braces often feel as if they are applying a fair amount of force on the teeth, which can make them uncomfortable. Individual Invisalign aligners on the other hand only apply a very small amount of force to the teeth in comparison, and it is the series of aligners fitted over time that achieves the necessary force to reposition the teeth.
Before deciding whether Invisalign is right for you, you will be able to see a virtual representation of the end result in the specially developed Invisalign software.
Teenagers love Invisalign because their teeth can be straightened without any visible braces. Confidence is especially important in school years when there are so many other challenges to deal with. Invisalign enables teens to do everything they’d normally do without feeling self-conscious about their smile.
Invisalign Teen has a few added features. The aligners feature blue indicators that fade to clear to help them know when it’s time to start using the next one. And because teens’ mouths, jaws and teeth are still developing, special features have been incorporated to allow for canines, second premolars and second and third molar teeth. Six free individual replacement aligners are provided in the event that any are misplaced or lost.