What is Invisalign and clear aligner treatment?
For many people the idea of teeth alignment generally goes hand in hand with dental braces that are highly visible, can impact on self-confidence and pose a reasonable level of inconvenience and difficulties with hygiene. Clear braces or invisible braces have completely changed the way in which people are able to approach teeth alignment today. Invisalign braces are clear, almost invisible braces which work in a very similar way to traditional metal braces, but with several key differences which provide a range of advantages and benefits.
In fact the idea of clear braces or invisible braces has been around for quite some time, but it has only been in recent times that manufacturing methods and technology have allowed this concept to be marketed in a way which is much more successful, providing greater convenience, an improved visual appearance, better hygiene, and teeth alignment results which are more precise, more successful, and completed very much quicker than with traditional braces.
How do Invisalign braces work?
Invisible braces achieve teeth alignment in much the same way as traditional braces, by applying a constant amount of pressure on teeth to encourage the body to react by moving the tooth to a new location, to a new angle, or new alignment. But whereas traditional metal braces achieve this through wires and bars which are fixed to the teeth, Invisalign braces work by applying force on a tooth through a clear tray.
Visually the difference between wire braces and clear braces which use a clear tray is quite striking, and many people don’t even notice that someone is wearing these almost invisible braces. Perhaps that’s not surprising, since they are called invisible braces! For many people wearing clear braces is all about improving the way they look throughout the entire teeth alignment process. But in fact the benefits of Invisalign braces go far beyond providing people with the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of teeth alignment without feeling self-conscious every time they smile or open their mouth.
What are the benefits of Invisalign clear braces?
Imagine, if you will, a snooker table. Imagine your dentist is trying to pot a ball into the far corner pocket. Striking the ball in the right way using little more than guesswork and gut feeling, there is a reasonable chance that the ball will end up in the pocket, or at least pretty close.
But imagine if a computer was able to control the cue, providing absolute accuracy in terms of direction, pressure, angle and power. A perfect shot, every time! Traditional braces are fitted using wire and metal plates in a way which applying pressure, but in much the same way as hitting a snooker ball the first way. The eventual result is largely based on instinct and intuition.
Invisalign braces are carefully and exactly developed based on highly detailed computer modelling, so that at every single stage of the teeth alignment process, your teeth are being moved according to an incredibly detailed and very accurate computer model, providing you with exactly the smile you are looking for, rather than a close approximation or near miss.
Other advantages of Invisalign braces include the fact that the process takes a few months rather than several years. Although the clear braces must be kept in for almost the entire time, unlike most traditional braces, invisible braces can be removed at any time. This means that for eating they can be removed if necessary, improving the enjoyment of the meal and improving hygiene.
They can also be removed for brushing teeth, flossing and general oral hygiene. For close-up photographs or portraits they can be removed. It is important to highlight that you should be wearing your clear braces for almost the entire time, but the fact that there is the flexibility of removing them as and when it is necessary is a real benefit compared to traditional braces.
How are Invisalign braces made?
The process begins with a proper examination and diagnosis, which will include a comprehensive examination of both your teeth and your orthodontic records. In addition to the usual impressions taken of the teeth to make the plaster models, a set of highly accurate impressions are also taken. The accurate impressions are required in order to provide a precise fit of the clear braces.
The dentist will then submit the patient case, including the records, x-rays, photos and the accurate impressions to Invisalign. Once they have received the information, the impressions of the teeth are reproduced digitally. The dentist then has the ability to plan the precise movements of the teeth digitally, which is then used to generate physical, clear braces, or aligning trays.
A series of clear braces are made so that the pressure on your teeth occurs incrementally so that each subsequent tray will move your teeth slightly further towards their final aligned destination. You will usually be checked by your dentist every two weeks, when the next set of invisible braces will be fitted.