Invisalign adjusters are nearly invisible orthodontic appliances designed to help move the teeth like braces do, without the metal wire and brackets that greatly change an individual’s appearance. This somewhat new orthodontic technology is gaining a great following among patients who wish to have healthy teeth without the embarrassment of conventional braces.
The tooth straightening system hit the market in 1999, when Align Technologies introduced it to orthodontics around the country teeth alignment. It quickly gained popularity, as people realized they could straighten their teeth while maintaining an aesthetically pleasing smile. The technology itself is not new, however.
Aligners were introduced in the 1940s and then brought back in the 1970s. These earlier models, however, required ongoing dental impressions to monitor the change in the teeth. This made it almost impossible for the average person to afford the aligners, and thus most orthodontists went with the metal bracket version. The difference with Invisalign is the fact that the new aligners use only one set of impressions and a set of photographs. These are then used to make a three-dimensional model on the computer of the teeth that allows Align Technologies to create a series of aligners for that individual’s use.
Each of the aligners move the teeth only about.25 millimeters, and they are typically worn for about two weeks before the next one is put in. Users will take them out to eat and clean their teeth, but they need to be worn at least 20 hours per day for them to work as designed. The treatment takes between 20 and 30 aligners on top and on bottom to fully straighten the teeth, and treatment time for adult patients is typically around a year.
So how does Invisalign compare with traditional braces? These newer alignment systems work for minor adjustments for a patient’s bite. They cannot work for severe misalignment or complex problems with your bite. For example, if you have a tooth that is severely rotated, this system will not work. Also, they may not work for spacing issues greater than five millimeters.
Invisalign has several benefits over traditional braces for those who qualify for the treatment. The most obvious of these benefits is the aesthetic difference. This is why many adults choose the clear aligners over traditional braces when they need to straighten their teeth. Because the aligners can be removed from the mouth, oral hygiene is much more effective during treatment than it is with traditional braces. The aligners do not limit the wearer to eating or drinking only certain things. If the wearer wants to eat sticky foods, he or she simply removes the aligner, eats the food, and places it back in. Braces can limit foods because of the potential for damage to the wires.
If you are curious about whether or not Invisalign is the right solution to your bite problems, talk to your dentist or orthodontist. They will be able to evaluate your bite and determine whether or not these nearly invisible orthodontics will work for you.