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Invisalign® is an orthodontic product to effectively help correct a number of different orthodontic issues and gives you a balanced, even smile. Because it involves the use of clear, removable aligners, this method of straightening teeth can be more flexible and less noticeable than solutions like traditional metal braces.
What is Invisalign®?
The Invisalign® treatment consists of a series of clear aligners, thin plastic trays, that apply a constant force to teeth to affect their movement and are changed every two weeks. They look a little like a traditional mouthguard, made of a thin, lightweight, clear plastic. The aligners are worn day and night but can be removed when eating, flossing or cleaning your teeth. As each aligner is worn and changed, they move the teeth very gradually until the required result is achieved.
Many adults who have bite problems or crooked teeth refrain from having their teeth straightened simply because they don’t want to be seen in the workplace wearing ‘railroad track’ braces. Invisalign® elegantly solves this problem. They are virtually undetectable. And they’re more comfortable – in fact, many people soon forget they’re wearing them.
Another advantage is that the aligners can be removed for brief periods. While they should be worn constantly, it is acceptable to remove them for a maximum of two hours a day – perfect for special occasions or big presentations.
What’s the process?
After an initial consultation with your dentist or orthodontist, a 3D digital image of your teeth will be produced. A set of custom aligners, specifically made for you, is then produced from this image. At this point, it’s also possible to see a computerised estimate of how your teeth will look once the treatment is complete. This gives you a realistic expectation of the final outcome.
Each aligner is worn for two weeks before moving to the next one in the series. Generally, treatment can take between 9-18 months and a visit to the dentist or orthodontist is required every 4-6 weeks. While the number of aligners needed is different for each patient and their treatment plan, it usually requires 18 to 36 aligners to achieve the final result.
Advantages of Invisalign®
There can be various reasons why adults are attracted to Invisalign®: it helps corrects a number of orthodontic issues including overcrowded teeth, widely spaced teeth, cross-bites, overbites and underbites
- it’s virtually invisible as opposed to obvious metal braces
- can be removed for up to 2 hours
- causes less irritation to gums, teeth or cheeks
- teeth can be brushed and flossed as normal
- comfortable with low impact on day-to-day activities.
Can I get Invisalign®?
While Invisalign® is suitable for most people, not all orthodontic issues can be treated with aligners. It is important that you are assessed by an Invisalign® trained dentist or orthodontist to see if you are a suitable candidate for Invisalign®.
Is Invisalign® suitable for teenagers?
There is a specific Invisalign® product for teenagers called Invisalign® Teen. As teenagers are often more self-conscious about their smile than adults, they appreciate the invisible quality of the aligners. The exact same technology and process is used with Invisalign® Teen but a few helpful modifications are included.
A small indicator on the aligner gradually changes from blue to clear to remind teenagers that they are approaching the end of their wear time. There are also a number of free replacement aligners included – just in case any get lost or misplaced.
Are Invisalign® results permanent?
The results from Invisalign® last just as long as the results from traditional braces. However, no matter which technique is used, teeth have a tendency to relapse. It’s generally recommended that at the end of your treatment a fixed retainer be applied to your teeth, or you may need to wear a retainer at night, to maintain your new and even smile.
*Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.