The Invisalign® system uses virtually invisible aligners, rather than metal bands, brackets or wires, to straighten teeth comfortably. The aligners are custom-made to fit the teeth, and are easily removable so patients can eat, drink, brush and floss. The advantage that Invisalign teeth aligners have over regular braces is that they are virtually undetectable.
How does the Invisalign system work?
The Invisalign system uses advanced 3-D computer-imaging technology to project tooth movement in a patient's mouth. This allows the dentist to create a series of clear, custom-made aligners, also called repositioners, that gradually move the teeth in line with one another. A patient wears each aligner for about two weeks, then moves on to the next set, and then the next, until the teeth-positioning goal has been met.
What does the Invisalign system treat?
In addition to straightening crooked or misaligned teeth, Invisalign aligners can eliminate crowding and large spaces between teeth. More complex conditions, such as overbites, underbites and crossbites, can also be treated.
What are some of the benefits of Invisalign aligners over regular braces?
Invisalign aligners offer many benefits over traditional metal braces. They may include:
- Cosmetic appeal
- Lower cost
- Flexible-payment options
- Little to no impact on daily life
- Less pain
- Greater flexibility because aligners can be removed at any time
- Easier to keep teeth clean and healthy
- No dietary restrictions
- No "tightening" required
Who are good candidates for Invisalign treatment?
The Invisalign system is an effective tool for straightening teeth, and is suitable for patients who are fourteen years of age and older, and who want to:
- Straighten crooked or misaligned teeth
- Eliminate teeth crowding
- Close up large spaces between the teeth.
- Correct overbites, underbites and crossbites
A person interested in Invisalign aligners should contact a dentist or orthodontist.
How does Invisalign treatment start?
The first step is for a person to make an appointment with a dentist or orthodontist, who will decide whether the Invisalign system is appropriate. If so, a course of treatment is mapped out. Steps in the treatment process include:
- Bite impressions are made and sent out for processing
- Aligners are created using advanced 3-D computer imaging based on the bite impressions
- The patient receives the custom-made aligners
- The patient wears the clear and removable aligners day and night
Aligners should be removed only when the patient is eating, drinking, brushing and flossing; the more they are taken out, the longer it will take to achieve the desired goal.
How long does Invisalign treatment take?
Typically, Invisalign treatment takes about a year from start to finish. The patient sees the dentist or orthodontist for a brief appointment every 6 to 8 weeks to review progress. The next set of aligners is given to the patient at each visit.
Does the Invisalign system work?
Yes; Invisalign aligners have been shown to be highly effective at straightening teeth.
Is Invisalign treatment covered by insurance?
If a person has dental insurance that covers orthodontic treatment, Invisalign treatment may also be covered.