Invisalign is Here
This is a really exciting time in dental orthodontics because straightening teeth has never been easier and quicker than with todayʼs Invisalign options. First, why do teeth need to be straightened at all? If someone’s teeth are not in the ideal position but they are eating comfortably, then why bother moving them at all?
Benefits of Having a Straight Healthy Smile
Well first, there is the obvious cosmetic benefit of having straight teeth that remain straight over a lifetime because teeth are out of position whether it be due to spacing or crowding tend to move even more out of position over the course of time so a small problem early in life can lead to a greater one later on. Further, when teeth are moving out of position, they often reach a critical tipping point when forces in the mouth are now too much for certain teeth to handle and they begin breaking.
Finally, the more crowded teeth become the harder they are to clean and this can lead to gum disease. Traditionally, orthodontically moving teeth was only possible through what is called fixed-wire ortho. This involves sticking metal brackets on all of the teeth and then running a metal wire through these brackets along with springs and chains and other adjuncts as needed. Fixed wire ortho has been affectionately referred to as “train tracks” due to their appearance but for many years were the only option for both children and adults to improve the position of their teeth.
In order for teeth to move, a steady constant pressure must be applied to them in a predetermined direction. This can now be achieved in a few more ways. Fixed wire ortho has been subdivided into traditional comprehensive ortho that has been done for decades where all the teeth are moved and 6 month smiles which is more of a cosmetically inclined treatment where the visible teeth are moved in 6 months or less using white composite brackets and white wires.
What is Invisalign?
Invisalign is a product invented by Align Technologies, San Jose, CA and involves wearing a series of thin clear plastic trays that snap over the patients teeth. Each set of trays is worn for two weeks day and night and are taken out only when the patient is eating or brushing. After the two weeks is up, the next set of aligners in the series is placed in the mouth and so on and so forth until the movement is complete. Because the aligners are custom made by a computer controlled process, they fit extremely well and are very accurate. When Invisalign first hit the market more than a decade ago, the treatment was limited to more simple movements and mild cases. However advances over the past decade have made it the treatment of choice for both general dentists and orthodontists to treat almost every orthodontic issue.
Patients love it because of the esthetic appearance of the aligners and the ability to remove them when necessary and doctors love it because of the precise tooth movement and improved hygiene compared to fixed wire ortho. So in todayʼs market, a doctor and patient that are seeking the best method to treat a mild, moderate or severe orthodontic issue really have two good choices.
Great Teeth take Dedication and a Professional Dentist
AS long as the patient can be responsible and compliant enough to wear the aligners approximately 22 hours a day and not lose them, then Invisalign is a great choice. However if the patient does not have a lifestyle that is conducive to that level of compliance then fixed wire ortho is still a great choice to get the desired results. Also, if the patient mainly has cosmetic crowding or spacing of the front teeth, then 6 month smiles is a great technique for getting a straight smile without using “train tracks” in a short time span.