How does Invisalign work?
Invisalign is becoming one of the most popular orthodontic systems in the world. Over 14 million people have used this system to achieve a straighter smile. The unique thing about Invisalign is that it uses custom-made, clear aligners to move your teeth into their desired position without the use of metal brackets and wires.
Each set of aligners is designed for your specific needs based on impressions and scans taken of your teeth. The aligners are designed to fit snugly over your teeth, applying gentle but continuous pressure. Over time, as you work through your case of aligners, your teeth will become closer to their ideal alignment. Invisalign treatment isn’t right for everyone, so before you choose your orthodontic path, make sure you’re aware of the options available.
What is Invisalign?
Invisalign was invented by a Stanford University student called Zia Chishti. He has recently completed orthodontic treatment and was given a clear retainer. He wanted to know why he couldn't have straightened his teeth using the same method.
He partnered up with other students at the university and started experimenting with aligner materials, CAD design and 3D printing. They founded the company Align Technology, which is responsible for Invisalign braces.
The aligners are a unique part of the treatment plan, but the technology behind this is also very interesting. The 3D scanner used to create the treatment plan and produce the aligners is incredibly advanced. It isolates each tooth and determines its ideal positioning, taking into account the positioning of adjoining and opposing teeth. This allows the aligners to be made in a way to ensures the treatment plan is incredibly precise.
How is it different to traditional braces?
With traditional braces, metal brackets are fixed to the surface of each tooth and connected with wires. This creates a rigid structure that applies continuous pressure, which slowly moves the teeth into position over time.
In comparison, Invisalign works differently. The aligners apply gentle and gradual pressure to each tooth via custom-made trays designed specifically for you. Instead of having to wear them all the time, you can remove them to eat, drink and brush your teeth. They are also lightweight and smooth, so you'll hardly even notice you're wearing them.
How long is treatment with Invisalign?
Treatment with Invisalign usually takes around 6-18 months, depending on your individual case. However, the amount of time needed can vary greatly depending on how much change is required.
If you want a straighter smile but don't want to commit to wearing metal braces for years, then Invisalign Go could be an ideal choice. This treatment plan focuses on the top front teeth that are visible when you smile. Rather than correcting all of the teeth, you can achieve a straight smile faster by only addressing these teeth.
Since Invisalign is a very discreet treatment plan, most patients don't mind waiting a little longer for results. You will quickly become accustomed to the treatment and you won't always be aware of it.
Can treatment fail with Invisalign?
Yes, treatment can fail with Invisalign, but it does have a high success rate. Treatment is most likely to fail if you don't wear your aligners enough. Since you'll be responsible for taking them out and replacing them after meals, it can be easy to lose track of how long you are actually wearing them.
Invisalign aligners need to be worn for around 22 hours a day for the treatment to be effective. If you don't wear them enough, your teeth won't be ready for the next aligner when the time comes to switch. This can make treatment more uncomfortable and could lead to the entire treatment plan failing.
Likewise, if you pause treatment and stop wearing your aligners for any reason, your teeth could shift out of alignment and the treatment plan will no longer be suitable for you.
How quickly do teeth move with Invisalign?
The speed of teeth movement with Invisalign depends largely on the patient. On average, it takes around 4-6 weeks to move each tooth into its ideal positioning. However, some people find that their teeth move faster than this and others may take a little longer
It's important to remember that you are in control of how quickly the treatment progresses. If you are strict with wearing your aligners every day, you'll find that your treatment moves forward at the expected rate. If you forget to wear aligners or lose them, this can delay treatment.
Does Invisalign hurt?
There is some discomfort, but it is no worse than with traditional fixed braces. You should expect some soreness when the aligners are first fitted, but this usually goes away after a few days. After that, you may experience mild discomfort for the first few days with each new aligner.
Invisalign is designed to be comfortable and discreet, so any pain or discomfort should only last for a short period of time before you get used to it. There are also things you can do to make the treatment more comfortable.
Invisalign chewies are small wads of foam that you can chew while wearing your aligners to improve the fit and help alleviate discomfort. You can also use over-the-counter pain medication like ibuprofen or paracetamol to control any pressure you might feel. If the aligners are hurting your gums, cheeks or tongue, you can return to the practice to have these adjusted.
How long does it take to get used to the aligners?
It doesn't take long to get used to wearing Invisalign aligners. Although they might feel strange at first, you'll quickly become accustomed to them and won't even notice they're there
Most people find that the first week is when they experience the most discomfort, but after that, they forget they are wearing aligners. This can vary by individual and some will have a lower pain threshold than others.
When you choose Invisalign orthodontic treatment with Longfellow Road Dental, you'll benefit from ongoing support throughout your treatment plan. Get in touch today to arrange a consultation with our orthodontic team.