Almost everyone wants to enjoy the benefits of straighter teeth: a more attractive smile, fewer dental problems, and more functional teeth, to name just a few. But what most people don’t want to deal with are unattractive and uncomfortable brackets and wires—traditional braces. Luckily there is a better way. No doubt you are probably familiar with “clear aligner” therapy and have heard of companies such as Invisalign. But how exactly do these aligners work? Can they do the same job that braces can?
It is important to first understand why straighter teeth are considered to be “better” for your overall oral health.
· Improved appearance, person happier with their smile
· Straight teeth are easier to clean and maintain
· Straight teeth do not wear down or break as often
· Straight teeth help you speak and chew with more ease
Not a one-size-fits-all treatment
Invisalign is a revolutionary product for improving the function and aesthetics of your smile. However, this does not mean that anyone with crooked teeth would automatically benefit from, or be a candidate for clear aligner therapy. While traditional braces can be utilized to solve a wide and complex variety of tooth straightening issues, Invisalign, by comparison, is relatively case-sensitive. What this means is that the situation must fall within certain guidelines in order for clear aligners to be most effective. Some instances in which Invisalign would not be the preferred treatment are:
· Severely crowded or overlapped teeth
· Molars (back teeth) with significant malposition
· Significant open bites (teeth don’t touch when the mouth is closed) either posterior (back) or anterior (front)
· Teeth that are severely rotated
Invisalign is a great choice, however, for patients with mild to moderate crowding or spacing of the teeth. In general, it is easier to close spaces between teeth than it is to straighten teeth that are too crowded or overlap one another.
So How Does Invisalign Work?
In essence, aligners are worn at all times except when eating. The aligners are designed to fit your teeth, albeit with minor variations throughout which are designed to push a tooth in the desired direction. Each aligner will push a tooth to a certain point, at which time a new aligner is worn, taking over the work of the previous one. Your dentist will advise you on how long each aligner is to be worn, but in general, the time span is about two weeks. Once you have worn all the aligners for the prescribed amount of time, a retainer may be made to keep your newly-straightened teeth in place.