Have you ever wondered how clear orthodontic aligners like Invisalign work? Here, our Okotoks dentists explain.
How do Invisalign clear aligners work?
Invisalign clear aligners are a series of custom-made, transparent, and removable clear aligner trays that work to help resolve orthodontic issues. They accomplish this by moving teeth in tiny increments into prescribed positions, as specified in a custom treatment plan developed by your dentist.
Over the last decade, they’ve been a popular treatment for adults and teens who want to straighten their teeth discreetly, without the wires and brackets that come with traditional metal braces.
You must be a suitable candidate for clear aligners
The first step of the Invisalign process is to find out whether you are a candidate for clear aligners. At your consultation appointment, your dentist will complete an exam, which includes taking digital X-rays, photos of your teeth, dental impressions, and a bite registration (to find out how your upper and lower teeth fit together).
This process is key to finding out whether your orthodontic concerns can successfully be treated with clear aligners.
Clear aligners effectively treat orthodontic issues
After your dentist examines your smile and takes impressions of your teeth, your aligners will be made to treat specific orthodontic issues. Dentists have used Invisalign to successfully treat patients with:
- Crooked teeth
- Teeth grinding
- Open bite
- Gapped teeth
- Sleep apnea
Just like each patient’s teeth are unique to them, each individual case is different. Your specific treatment time and other factors in your treatment plan may vary depending on which teeth must be moved, and by how much. It can take longer to move some teeth than others due to their position in your mouth.
Depending on your needs and preferences, removable custom clear aligners can offer an aesthetic and comfortable alternative to fixed appliances such as braces when it comes to orthodontic treatment.
Clear aligners encourage excellent oral hygiene and oral health
With the brushing and flossing you’ll need to do to keep your teeth - and your aligners clean - during treatment, you’ll be diligently brushing away plaque and bacteria that can get stuck between your aligners and your teeth, leading to cavities, tooth decay, and gum disease.
A large part of successful treatment with clear aligners is the commitment to excellent oral hygiene - and working with your dentist to follow the treatment plan and minimize the chance for plaque to take hold.
Patients may spend less time in treatment with clear aligners
Another benefit of clear aligners is that you’ll spend less time in your dentist’s office - and more time enjoying your straighter smile.
Clear aligners don't require the same in-office adjustments that braces do, so patients typically only visit briefly every 4 - 6 weeks for a quick checkup to ensure your treatment is going to plan.
Limitations to Treatment with Clear Aligners
While there are many advantages to treatment with clear aligners, not all orthodontic issues can be treated with this option. Large overbites, severe rotations, some molar issues, and other problems may require another orthodontic treatment option.
If your case cannot be treated with Invisalign, your dentist can help you find another option that will work for you, such as traditional metal braces.