You may have heard the buzz about a new type of "invisible braces" called Invisalign® and wondered what it's all about. The Invisalign system is a series of clear, thin, customized mouthguards that fit over the teeth, progressively straightening them. This system, which debuted in the beginning of 2000, is an effective alternative to metal braces when used in the appropriate situation.
The main benefits of the Invisalign system are greatly improved appearance and comfort. The Invisalign mouthguards are removed during eating, and when brushing teeth and flossing. This may reduce the risk of both cavities and gum disease when compared to traditional braces that often trap food and plaque. Despite these advantages, there are some drawbacks. The system costs between 25-50 percent more than metal braces, and if you sometimes forget to wear the mouthguards, the results will take longer to achieve.
The first step in the process is scheduling an appointment with an orthodontist who has been certified in the Invisalign system. Good candidates for this new system are adults who have slight to moderate spacing or crowding of their teeth. Teeth with spacing have gaps between them, and teeth with crowding overlap each other. If the orthodontist decides that you can receive the Invisalign system, he or she takes impressions (molds) of your mouth, writes up a detailed set of instructions, and then sends them to a high-tech lab. In the planning stage of process, the lab will send the orthodontist a preview or prototype over the Internet of how the appliances will be made. The lab then uses the information to make a series of clear mouthguards that they call "aligners." Depending on the situation, 12 to 48 aligners will be needed. As part of treatment, the orthodontist may need to shape the teeth, but only one impression is usually taken, and only one visit every six weeks is required. In certain situations, teeth that are not initially good candidates for the Invisalign system may benefit from wearing metal braces for several months, and then switching to the more comfortable and appealing Invisalign system afterwards.
Many orthodontists have already embraced this new system as a viable substitute for braces in the right situation. Dr. Ali Husain, an orthodontist practicing in Delaware, puts it this way, "Invisalign has created a wonderful alternative for people who want straight teeth and a beautiful smile without ever having to wear metal braces."
If you're interested in getting Invisalign®, call us at 1-866-970-0441. We'll put you in touch with a great dentist today!