Invisalign, the transparent orthodontic appliance

Invisalign, the transparent orthodontic appliance

Discreet and almost invisible

Invisalign is a teeth alignment technique using clear removable plastic “aligner trays”. This method applies for cases of light to moderate tooth irregularities. Resin retention buttons are placed to allow the aligners to move the teeth. Discreet and almost invisible, each aligner is worn continuously for two weeks, except while eating and tooth brushing.

Teeth are gradually moved to the desired position. The number of aligners, and consequently the duration of treatment, depends on the complexity of the teeth alignment problem.

Invisalign treatments are the same length as conventional treatments with braces (from 12 to 24 months).

How does the Invisalign technology work?

This technique is based on the production of a series of clear aligners designed to completely cover the surface of the teeth. Each custom-made aligner will be replaced every two weeks, which will contribute to the gradual shifting of the teeth into the prescribed position.

The Invisalign orthodontic approach is on average 20% faster than the ones using conventional braces.

At the end of the treatment, a retainer will ensure the stabilization of the teeth in their new position. In many cases, the last aligner tray will act as a temporary retainer until the final retention device is made.

What does it look like?

The aligners are made of a resistant thermoplastic material.

The treatment is done without braces or wires and therefore does not cause any inflammation.

It is possible to remove the aligners to brush and floss your teeth normally.

 

What are the differences between Invisalign and other types of orthodontic approaches?

The Invisalign treatment has several advantages:

Invisalign

  • Does not have any metal component (almost invisible treatment);
  • Generally comfortable;
  • Aligners are removable by the patient;
  • Does not affect oral hygiene;
  • Does not limit food choices (because the aligner is removed during eating and tooth brushing);
  • Better self-esteem during treatment (because the appliance is invisible);
  • Requires no adjustments during the appointments;
  • Treatment is 20% faster than conventional braces.

Traditional orthodontic treatments

  • Metal brackets and wires are often apparent;
  • Might be less comfortable (temporary gum inflammation may occur);
  • Fixed appliance (not removable by the patient);
  • Teeth cleaning may be more difficult;
  • May limit food choices;
  • Less aesthetic;
  • Requires adjustments by the orthodontist;
  • Longer treatment than with Invisalign.

However, you should know that…

  • Tooth movement can be, in some cases, more difficult to control with the Invisalign treatment.
  • The aligner may also tend to slip and the teeth may not follow the prescribed movement. There are cases where traditional orthodontic approaches may be more effective because the control of the tooth movement is more direct, regardless of the form of the teeth or the direction of the movement.
  • Note that if Invisalign is not the right treatment for you, ceramic braces could be considered and are more aesthetic than metal braces.

Treatment process

  • First, you must make an appointment with a dentist or an orthodontist who uses this technique. The doctor will take an impression of your teeth to verify if you are a good candidate for Invisalign.
  • If the alignment is possible, a three-dimensional virtual treatment plan will then be developed (ClinCheck) and you’ll be able to visualize the series of planned tooth movements with this method.
  • Subsequently, clear aligners will be produced in the laboratory and the Invisalign treatment will begin.

Am I a good candidate for Invisalign?

Some factors are to be considered to find out if Invisalign is the right treatment for you. For example, if there is not enough space to align all the teeth on a dental arch, one or several tooth extractions may be required, which is not always favourable.

The tongue, lingual inclination of teeth, support of the lips and temporomandibular joint must also not be affected by the tooth migration.

Treatable cases

Although the Invisalign approach is popular, it has limitations. Sometimes, fixed appliances must be used. But in general, the following alignment problems can be treated with Invisalign.

Dents-chevauchent

Overlapping teeth

 

Dents-espace

Gaps between teeth

 

Articule-croise

Cross bite
(Misaligned upper and lower jaws)

 

supraclusion

 

 

 

Overbite (upper teeth are too far in front of lower teeth)

sous-occlusion

Underbite (lower incisor teeth overlap the upper)

How do I know if Invisalign is suitable for my case (evaluation)?

  • Permanent teeth should be in place (milk teeth should no longer be there).
  • If the tooth movement needed is too important, this technology is not suitable.
  • Patients must collaborate actively to their treatment and wear the aligners as prescribed, night and day, (except during meals and when cleaning teeth). They shall attend their appointments every 4 to 6 weeks.
  • An Invisalign-trained doctor will be able to evaluate your case and tell you whether or not an Invisalign treatment will fit your needs.