One of the primary concerns that some people have about dental braces is the aesthetic impact of the braces on their smile.  For some adults, the prospect of wearing metal or clear ceramic braces for long periods of time can be discouraging.  Invisalign® offers an almost invisible aligning system that straightens teeth fast and contains no metal.

Invisalign® treatment consists of a series of custom-made aligning trays that are dispensed by the orthodontist.  The patient must wear the aligners 22 hours each day. They are removed only for eating, drinking, and cleaning.  New trays are used every few weeks to fit the new tooth configuration and to continue to move the teeth.  In addition to the reduced visual impact, Invisalign® aligning trays can be temporarily removed for important occasions.  A great number of people report complete satisfaction with both the Invisalign® treatment and the stunning results.

What kind of bite problems can Invisalign® correct?

Invisalign® corrects most, but not all, of the same dental problems as traditional braces; the main difference is that Invisalign® trays are almost invisible, and can be removed for easier dental hygiene.

Here are some problems that are commonly corrected with Invisalign®:

  • Overcrowding – This occurs when there is too little space for the teeth to align normally in the mouth.  Overcrowding can cause tooth decay and increase the likelihood of gum disease.
  • Large gaps between teeth – This can occur because of a relative discrepancy in the size of the teeth compared to the size of the jaw, because of tooth misalignment, or because of one or more missing teeth.  For some, the presence of large gaps is unsightly and embarrassing.
  • Crossbite – This common dental problem occurs when one or multiple upper teeth bite inside the lower teeth.  As a consequence, abnormal wear can occur or food may impact in the soft tissue and lead to gum disease or possibly even bone loss.
  • Overjet– This problem occurs when the upper teeth project further than the lower teeth.  
  • Underbite – This is the inverse of the overjet; the lower teeth project further than, or completely cover, the upper teeth.  Eventually, jaw pain and TMJ can occur.

What are the different indications for traditional braces, Invisalign®, and veneers for improving the alignment of the teeth?

Traditional dental braces, Invisalign® aligning trays and dental veneers are three different ways to perfect the alignment of the teeth.  There are many different considerations to make when considering which treatment will be best for you.  After examining your teeth and discussing your desires and expectations, Dr. Schach will be able to gladly make a recommendation and explain his rationale.

Traditional braces, whether made of stainless steel or a clear alternative, generally work the best.  Some treatments might need special auxiliaries, but almost any tooth movement can be done with braces.  They do stick out, however, and are, therefore, obvious and more difficult to care for.  

Invisalign® differs from traditional braces in that the tooth movement occurs with the use of aligning trays, which are fully removable.  This means that dental hygiene is easier but that more discipline and commitment are required from the patient. Because the trays are comfortable and nearly invisible, however, this is not usually a problem. 

Both traditional braces and Invisalign® are preferable to veneers in almost all cases because braces and Invisalign® straighten the teeth instead of just covering up the crooked teeth. Veneers are thin covers that the dentist affixes to the teeth.  They might be indicated if the teeth have minor alignment issues and the teeth are permanently discolored or chipped and would benefit from being covered anyway. Teeth must be reshaped beforehand, meaning that if dental veneers are removed, an alternative covering must be constructed.  In addition to being somewhat expensive, veneers can break and often last for less than 20 years.

What does Invisalign® treatment involve?

First, precise dental impressions are taken in the office in conjunction with X-rays, photographs, and clinical measurements.  The orthodontist devises an initial treatment plan and mails the impressions to Align Technology.  Align constructs three-dimensional digital images from scans of the impressions.  These images allow the orthodontist to move specific teeth on the computer screen and view the arches from different angles. Once planning is complete, a unique set of aligners is made by Align Technology and shipped to the orthodontist for delivery to the patient.  The total amount of aligners required varies with each individual case, but 20-29 sets per arch is typical.

What are some considerations when wearing Invisalign® trays?

Life with Invisalign® aligning trays may take several weeks to get used to.  The trays should be worn constantly, except when eating and drinking.  It is important to remove the trays when consuming food or drink because food can become trapped between the tray and the teeth, causing permanent white spots or tooth decay.

Usually, new trays are placed every two weeks and progress between appointments can be seen.   Invisalign® is renowned for being both comfortable and effective.

If you have questions about Invisalign®, please ask Dr Schach.

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