Invisible braces straighten the teeth using a custom-made series of clear plastic trays or aligners using a technology called Invisalign. Invisalign dental aligners are clear, tight-fitting orthodontic devices that and are worn over the teeth. Invisible braces effectively treat a wide variety of orthodontic cases including crowding, spacing, crossbite, overbite, and underbite. With Invisalign, there are no metal brackets or wires, and the aligners gradually and gently shift the teeth. Invisible braces are a great option for people that are concerned about the appearance of traditional metal braces.
How Invisible Braces Work
First, x-rays, photographs are taken and impressions of the teeth and gums are made. The orthodontist will determine the desired outcome and final position of the teeth, and then a treatment plan will be developed. The treatment program will be broken down into stages that bridge the gap between the current position of the teeth and the final desired position. Aligners are molded for each stage using computer-aided-design and computer-aided-manufacturing software. Each aligner is fabricated using elastic thermoplastic, a material that enables the aligners to apply pressure to the teeth and move them to the next position in the treatment plan. Depending on the severity of the orthodontic issues and the degree of movement needed to accomplish the desired results, anywhere from 6 to 48 aligners may be needed. Each aligner is worn for 2 weeks and moves the teeth .25 to .33 millimeters. Your orthodontist will monitor the progress during regular checkups every 6 weeks. On average the treatment process takes 13.5 months but varies based on the complexity of the planned teeth movements and desired outcome.
Benefits of Invisible Braces
There are many benefits to invisible braces. Every patient is different, but many prefer invisible braces to traditional metal braces for the following reasons.
- Invisibility: As the name indicates, invisible braces are not visible to others. Patients that are concerned about appearance and do not want braces to show will typically prefer Invisalign.
- Removability: Because the trays are removable, invisible braces offer a huge convenience.Ease of eating: Patients can remove the trays when eating and enjoy all of their favorite foods without concern.
- Ease of cleaning: Daily cleaning of the teeth is much easier with invisible braces than with traditional metal braces. Since the trays can be removed, the patient can brush and floss more effectively.
- Comfort: With the absence of metal brackets and wires, mouth abrasions are avoided and comfort level is increased.
Candidates for Invisible Braces
Most patients interested in Invisalign are concerned about the appearance of their smile during treatment and what to avoid the look of metal braces. For that reason, the invisible quality of Invisalign makes it a popular choice. Not everyone is a candidate for invisible braces, however. Your orthodontist will be able to make the best recommendations based on the individual patient, his or her preferences, and his or her orthodontic issues. Typically, patients that do not have complicated orthodontic problems are better candidates for clear braces. If the bite is severely off or other appliances such as headgear are needed, Invisalign may not be the best choice. Candidates for invisible braces also have to be responsible and commit to wearing the aligners as they need to be worn at least 20 to 22 hours each day in order to attain the desired results.