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HOW DOES INVISALIGN WORK?

invisalign_1.jpgInvisalign refers to a series of removable aligners offered as an alternative to traditional braces. The aligners are not "invisible" as they are sometimes described, but are clear and somewhat resemble a mouth guard. Invisalign is intended for people who feel a clear aligner offers them a more esthetically pleasing look than traditional braces and flexibility to remove them when wanted.

The removable orthodontic appliance system incorporates a series of clear plastic aligners that fit over your teeth and are designed to move them gradually into the desired orthodontic position. Usually you will need anywhere from 20 to 30 different aligners to complete your treatment. Each aligner is crafted to gradually make subtle changes in the position of your teeth. Every two weeks or so, you will switch out one aligner for the next in the series to progressively shift your teeth. As time goes by, the position of your teeth will slowly move closer to their intended position.

WILL INVISALIGN WORK FOR ME?

PROS: The advantages of Invisalign are that they are less visible than traditional braces, and they can be completely removed by the patient when needed. Being able to remove the aligners makes it easier to brush, floss and eat. They can be removed for special occasions when you want to look your very best. You won't experience the irritation inside the mouth that can take place with traditional braces, although you feel the same level of discomfort due to tooth movement. 

CONS: Having removable aligners takes the already challenging issue of compliance to a whole new realm. Although the aligners are removable, they must be worn for at least 22 hours a day in order to reposition the teeth successfully. For some patients, the success rate can drop and treatment time can lengthen significantly.  Removable aligners can get lost or become the dog's next chew toy. For this reason, Invisalign is not recommended for many teenagers, and is most appropriate for highly motivated adults.

Invisalign braces can be used to correct only mild dental problems such as closing small spaces and straightening front teeth. Invisalign is not a good choice for correcting a severe overbite, underbite or correcting back tooth bite problems. More traditional orthodontic braces should be used instead for more serious conditions.