INVISALIGN™ FOR ADULTS AND TEENS
When you hear the word “orthodontics,” you may picture a young teenager whose teeth are covered by a latticework of metal. There are indeed many orthodontic patients who fit that description. However, there now exists an increasingly popular alternative to traditional metal braces: Invisalign clear aligners.
As the name implies, clear aligners are made of almost invisible polyurethane plastic. Rather than being cemented or bonded to the teeth as metal or clear braces are, clear aligners are completely removable – for important social occasions, for eating, and, most importantly, for tooth-brushing and flossing. This advantage can also be a disadvantage: It means you must resist the temptation to take your aligners out more than is advised.
Here are some other advantages of the Invisalign system:
- Improved Oral Hygiene – With a removable appliance, you can clean your teeth much more easily than with metal braces.
- A Discreet Look – If you consider your orthodontic treatment to be a private matter, or simply feel that metal braces don’t fit with your self-image, a practically invisible form of orthodontic treatment might suit you.
- More Dietary Choices – To protect metal wires and braces, some diet modifications are necessary. With clear aligners, you can still bite into an apple or a crispy pizza crust.
- Comfort – The soft, flexible material of Invisalign will not irritate the soft tissues of the mouth, as metal wires and braces can.
- Teeth-Grinding Protection – If you have a teeth-grinding or clenching habit, clear aligners can function as thin nightguards that will protect your teeth from excessive wear.
Clear aligner technology has been improving over the years and can correct many types of malocclusion that once would have been too complicated for this form of treatment. Yet there are still some situations for which traditional braces would be best. We would be happy to discuss this in detail with you.
How Invisalign Works
Invisalign clear aligners work the same way traditional braces do, by applying carefully controlled forces to teeth to move them into a better position. However, they are not made of metal; instead, they are made of clear, flexible plastic.
Here’s how it works: Specialized computer software helps us design a plan for moving your teeth from their current positions into the best possible alignment. This movement will be broken down into perhaps several dozen stages. For each stage, the Invisalign company will manufacture two plastic mouth “trays” or “aligners,” one to fit over your top teeth and one for the bottom. You will wear this first set of trays for two weeks, for a minimum of 22 hours per day. You will then move on to the next set of aligners in your series to accomplish the next stage of gradual movement. You will keep doing this until your teeth are correctly aligned.
Invisalign for Teens
In the past several years, two features have been added to make Invisalign a more appropriate orthodontic treatment method for teenagers. Special “eruption tabs” hold the appropriate amount of space open for molars that have not fully grown in. Invisalign for teens also comes with “compliance indicators” built into the aligner material, which fade with wear. This allows parents, dentists, and the teens themselves to make sure the trays are being worn as prescribed. Treatment with Invisalign can only be successful if this is the case.
This cutting-edge scanner allows Dr. Taylor to view precise, 3-D images of the inside of your mouth without the use of impressions. The iTero scanner is comprised of new technology that can capture up to 6,000 full-color images per second, so that Dr. Taylor can see the exact contours of your teeth. These images are also often used to create orthodontic appliances that fit and function better. With iTero technology, we can even simulate treatment outcomes, so patients can view accurate images of what their end results will look like!