Invisalign: An Invisible Alternative To Braces

Invisalign: An Invisible Alternative To Braces

Given the number of available orthodontic devices available on the market today, would you still choose to wear protruding braces or clear aligners? If you prefer clear aligners, you fall within the majority of patients. Clear aligners have become increasingly popular in the past decade as an alternative to braces. Originally introduced in 1998 by Align Technology, many brands have entered the market since then.

An Overview of Invisalign

Invisalign is the brand name for thin clear aligners comprised of SmartTrack, a flexible thermoplastic. The purpose of this product is to make teeth straightening less conspicuous. Although the aligners may not be entirely invisible, the transparent covers are much less noticeable than the traditional wires and brackets found on braces.

Types of Orthodontic Issues Corrected by Invisalign

Invisalign clear aligners can treat a variety of spacing and crowding problems. According to the Invisalign website, their product can treat gapped teeth, crowded teeth, an open bite, and several types of crossbite, underbite, and overbite problems. Although the research is limited, the consensus is that Invisalign could be more effective for specific issues. A 2017 study published by the Australian Dental Journal determined that clear aligners can be helpful for arches but may not effectively address severe bite problems.

The Wearing Process

The first step is to meet with an orthodontist who will obtain a 3D image of your jaw and mouth to create a plan to shift your teeth into the correct locations. This plan will include creating a variety of customized aligners that will slowly apply pressure to your teeth, thus shifting them to the desired spots. Based on the instructions, you’ll be required to replace the aligners once per week with the new set, thus shifting your teeth further. The target amount of time to wear the aligners is 20 to 22 hours each day.

Pros and Cons of Invisalign

To help decide if Invisalign is the right choice for you, the following lists the pros and cons of this option.

Pros

  • Aesthetics: One of the biggest reasons patients opt for Invisalign is that the aligners are significantly less prominent than the brackets and wires of traditional braces. Since the old braces sit on the front of your teeth, they also push your top lip out, which can be unappealing for many.
  • Comfort: In addition to being aesthetically pleasing, Invisalign is more physically comfortable to wear than braces. The physical pieces are smooth so that they won’t irritate the inside of your mouth. Given that there are no brackets or wires, there’s no concern over painful cuts or nicks in your mouth.
  • Easy cleaning: Since the Invisalign aligners are removable, you will have a much easier time flossing and brushing your teeth without having to work around brackets and wires.
  • Fewer potential issues: Many patients report broken wires or brackets that have fallen off their teeth with traditional braces, which results in an emergency orthodontist visit. Clear aligners are like a mouthguard covering your teeth, so these issues do not exist.
  • Minimal maintenance: Invisalign aligners only require a small amount of care as they can get dingy over time due to use. You can easily clean your aligners with a toothbrush. Scrubbing them every other day for around one minute will remove all stains.
  • More sanitary: In a 2017 study from the Australian Dental Journal, researchers found that removable clear aligners improved periodontal health by reducing the amount of bacterial collecting around your gums and teeth. With traditional braces, you might not be able to reach every spot when brushing. Since clear aligners don’t block the hard-to-reach places, you can brush your teeth.

Cons 

  • Food limitations: Since the aligner will be in your mouth for up to 22 hours per day, you will likely experience tooth soreness when trying to eat. This will limit your food choices to soft foods.
  • They must be removed when eating or drinking: If you don’t, food can become lodged between the plastic and your teeth. This will result in bacterial growth along your gum line and teeth, and eventually cavities. Also, liquid can seep between the aligner and your teeth, thus causing staining.
  • Not as effective for complicated issues: Although limited research exists on the topic, researchers have found that Invisalign is most effective for those requiring specific movement types. If you have complex oral issues, your doctor could suggest a different treatment option. Also, if you have bridgework on part of your teeth, Invisalign might not be the best option.
  • Requires commitment: To maximize the benefits offered by Invisalign, you must wear the piece for up to 22 hours per day, which requires a significant amount of responsibility. If you think you’ll be tempted to remove them more often, these aligners may not be the best option.

Time for a Better Smile

Invisalign is an excellent option to treat a variety of ailments, including spacing and crowding problems along with mild-to-moderate bite issues. However, complicated crowding and bite issues may require a different treatment. 

If you’re looking to improve your smile, contact the professionals at Dental On York today! 

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