Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Invisalign® – An Overview

Invisalign® is a type of orthodontic appliance that can be used in place of traditional braces to close gaps between teeth and straighten those that are crooked.
With the help of computerized technology and three dimensional modeling, invisible aligners are fabricated to correct the position of the teeth without the use of metal, wires or other visible components.

Unlike traditional braces, the Invisalign® system is completely clear and virtually impossible to notice when in use. They are very effective correcting some dental problems and most treatments can generally be completed in anywhere between six months to slightly over one year.

By fabricating a series of clear aligners to exactly fit your teeth, the Invisalign® aligners are able to slowly move teeth to their proper, desired positions for a more attractive smile. Each set of aligners works for 2 to 3 weeks before moving on to the next set. At each visit you receive 2 or 3 sets of aligners (as well as the starting dates for each) and products to keep them clean and hygienic.

If the Invisalign® system is indicated for your treatment, we will take impressions of your teeth with hi-definition putty material. The next step is to obtain several high definition photographs of your teeth from a variety of different angles. With this information, a 3D digital animation of your teeth and bite will be developed. With my direct input, this virtual model is then used to simulate how your teeth will be moved to their final position.

Finally, from this CGI (computer-generated image) simulation, your aligners will be custom-made to fit your teeth perfectly. Although some minor discomfort can be experienced when you first start using the aligners, most people find this type of treatment to be quite comfortable. An additional advantage is that the aligners can be removed when necessary so you can eat with more comfort and exercise proper oral hygiene without difficulties. Also, there are virtually no emergency visits compared to those associated with traditional braces (poking wires, canker sores, loose appliances, etc.)

In summary, Invisalign® can be used to correct a wide variety of orthodontic problems. Nonetheless, as it is the case with any modality of treatment, this system does present limitations. In more severe cases, where a great deal of tooth movement is required, or where one or more teeth need to be removed in order to correct the bite, Invisalign® may not be the right choice.

It is important to consult with an orthodontist for this type of treatment as he or she is most qualified to recognize the aforementioned circumstances in order to better educate patients regarding treatment expectations and outcome.