There was a time when the only way to achieve a perfect smile or get straight teeth was to wear braces that in addition to looking completely hideous, posed a serious of uncomfortable issues like discomfort, pain, stains and possibly cavities etc. Not anymore! With the field of dentistry growing by leaps and bounds over the past few years, it has become possible for individuals to get the smile that they desire without necessarily having to deal with the wires and brackets present in braces.
One such system that is slowly gaining name and popularity among the masses is Invisalign. Figured the name out? Well, here’s a possible clue to help you out. Invis (meaning invisible) – Align (meaning alignment of teeth). Got it? You’re right! Invisalign is the newest teeth straightening system on the block that enables you to get straighter teeth easily and quickly, and lets you enjoy all those activities like brushing, eating, drinking and smiling which you had difficulties with, with braces.
What is Invisalign?
Braces used to come with their share of appearance and hygiene related issues. Invisalign overcomes all that by using clear aligner trays that are custom fitted. These trays are fitted over the teeth and are almost invisible to the naked eye unless someone peers into your mouth to check them out.
Dental Conditions that can be Corrected Using Invisalign
There are several factors that contribute to straight teeth just like several factors that lead to crooked, askew teeth. Given below are some of the more common dental issues that can be fixed effectively using Invisalign.
A small (or narrow) jaw bone would cause the teeth to crowd around each other, causing imperfections in the appearance and several hygiene related issues as well. For instance, crowded teeth can be hard to get around during brushing or flossing. This could lead to germ buildup and cause cavities and gum diseases in the long run.
Gaps in Between Teeth
This condition arises when there is too much space inside the jaw (due to missing teeth, small sized teeth, tongue protrusion, large jaw bone or genetics etc.) for the teeth to align properly. The teeth would then move apart, causing small gaps in between them. These gaps if left untreated can lead to issues like peridontitis, gingivitis and tooth loss etc.
This condition arises when the teeth are not properly aligned, resulting in an improper bite. This can cause chewing difficulties and digestion related issues as well (caused by swallowing partially digested food). There are different kinds of bad bite scenarios. For instance, a crossbite is said to occur when both the lower and upper jaws are misaligned, thus causing the upper teeth to bite down on the inside portion of the lower teeth. This issue can cause teeth wear, tooth loss, bone loss and gum diseases.
An underbite condition is caused when the lower teeth overlap the upper teeth, thus causing tooth wear, irritation, gum related issues and jaw pain. An overbite condition on the other hand occurs when the upper teeth overlap the lower teeth, causing the same issues mentioned in the previous scenario.
Advantages of Invisalign over Traditional Braces
Invisalign enjoys a number of advantages that are considered as serious limitations with traditional braces. And here are some of the more important reasons as to why you need to choose Invisalign over the latter.
No Need for Painful Wires and Brackets
The traditional braces use a series of wires and brackets to hold teeth in their new position. Invisalign does away with that and uses just a series of transparent aligners fitted in a removable aligner tray to straighten teeth.
Very Easy to Fit
The process of fitting braces over the teeth can be quite long and complicated. Invisalign on the other hand can be fitted easily by a professional dentist easily and quickly.
Not Visible to the Naked Eye
No matter how hard you try to hide your braces, they would almost always show up at the wrong time and embarrass you. Invisalign on the other hand is nearly invisible, enabling you to smile as you please without worrying about the appearance of your teeth.
Traditional braces cannot be removed in between and need to be fitted to the teeth until the treatment is completely finished. Invisalign on the other hand contains aligners that can be easily removed while brushing, flossing, eating, drinking or undergoing other dental treatments.
No Side Effects Whatsoever
The metal wires and brackets used in traditional braces can cause cuts, irritation, inflammation or other side effects during treatment. Invisalign on the other hand does not employ metal substances and so would not cause any side effects.
Provides a Complete Picture of the Treatment and Result
Traditional braces would not enable you to find out how your teeth would look during the treatment. You would have to wait until after they are removed to find out how your teeth look. Invisalign on the other hand would let you get a clear picture of everything from the treatment plan and the actual procedure to the outcome at the end.
Understanding the Process and Treatment Plan
If all these points helped you make your mind about Invisalign, then this is what you need to know next. Given below are a few general details of what lies in store for you when you opt for the procedure.
Hunting for a Trained Dentist
The first thing you need to do after deciding to opt for Invisalign to straighten your teeth is to locate a professional Invisalign trained dentist/orthodontist who would be able to help you out with the complete procedure.
The First Visit
The first visit to the Invisalign trained dentist would have you answer a few questions pertaining to your oral health, hygiene and practices and the result you wish to attain after the procedure. The dentist would also check existing dental conditions and other factors before ascertaining whether you would be an apt candidate for Invisalign or not.
Chalking Out a Treatment Plan
If everything works out fine, the dentist would take impressions of your teeth and send them to the Invisalign lab where they would be digitized and converted into a 3D format for better processing. The dentist would describe each stage of the treatment plan along with visual representations of tooth movement (from the 3D image). As a result, you will be able to clearly see how your teeth would look before, during and after the treatment.
Ordering the Bespoke Aligners
The ball would now be in your court. With the treatment plan (and result) perfectly laid out in front of you, the dentist would be waiting for your approval. Once you give that, he/she would order bespoke aligners, custom made to fit your teeth. A total of 18-36 aligners would be made for the complete treatment (for both the upper and lower teeth). The aligners need to be replaced once every two weeks, with the treatment stretching over a period of 10-17 months.
Follow Up Treatment
The dentist would ask you to wear the aligners 24/7, excluding instances when you brush, floss, eat or drink (you can remove the aligners in these cases). Follow up treatments are required every two weeks to check progress and replace the aligners. By the end of the final cycle, you would have started to notice a better looking smile and straighter teeth which would be perfect by the time you remove the last set of aligners.