What They Are
Unlike traditional braces, which mount to the front of the teeth and are visible when you smile, clear aligners like Invisalign are a made of clear plastic that fit over the teeth, and are removable, making the cleaning of your teeth easier. Separate aligners are fitted for the top and bottom teeth, and, because of their low profile and form-fitted shape, cause much less irritation and rubbing in the mouth and gums.
How They Work
Clear aligners begin much like traditional braces: an initial patient consultation occurs where x-rays and photos are taken to determine the best course of action for correcting the shape of your teeth, and molds will be taken of your bite to get an accurate shape of your tooth placement.
Using that information, a three-dimensional model of the target shape of your teeth is created to determine how much movement is necessary. Each clear plastic aligner tray gradually moves your teeth roughly between .25-.35 millimeters, so multiple aligners will be needed throughout the entire process to complete the full realignment. A phased approach enables that to happen over time.
How Long It Takes
The length of time your clear aligners are necessary depends completely on the shape of your bite and how much tooth movement is being done. Minor cases can last as little as six months, while more significant cases can take up to two years to complete.
Another factor in the length of treatment is the amount of time you spend wearing the aligners. While clear aligners like Invisalign do give you the freedom to remove them, wearing them 22 hours per day achieves the optimal amount of movement, and keeps you on track with your treatment plan.
Why They Could Work For You
Clear aligners give you plenty of flexibility, and limit the amount of discomfort that many feel from traditional braces. They offer an unobtrusive solution for many, such as our professional patients and those recommended to find an alternative to traditional braces by their dentist. Plus, if you’re making sure to achieve your daily goal of 22 hours, the brief reprieve without your aligners in can be a welcome aspect to many.
However, while clear aligners like Invisalign provide a great alternative in many cases, they do have their limitations. Overall, clear retainers cannot provide the strength of tooth correction that traditional braces can. Correcting significant overbites, large gaps between teeth and heavy rotation of teeth, for example, are situations that may require traditional braces.
How To Start With Clear Aligners
As much information as you’ve gotten here, there’s no more definitive way to find out if Invisalign is right for you than to book a free consultation with us at Bright Orthodontics. Using the cutting-edge technology available at our office, we’ll be able to tell you exactly why Invisalign may or may not be the best choice for you, and walk you through every step of the process.