Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Is Invisalign® right for me? The Pros and Cons of Using the Invisalign System

Aside from the benefit of correcting your teeth with a virtually invisible system, there are other advantages to using the Invisalign system. At the same time, there are some potential drawbacks that should be taken into consideration when trying to determine if this method is right for you.

Each pair of Invisalign aligners needs to be worn 22 hours per day. The fact that the aligners can be removed when necessary is one benefit that you will not find with traditional metal-wire braces. Correcting your teeth with an ultra esthetic and virtually invisible system is a major benefit. Other advantages are comfort, convenience and making your teeth look and function better with an appliance that fits your lifestyle.

Since you can remove the Invisalign aligners, you can eat with more comfort and you can brush your teeth more thoroughly than you would with traditional braces. It’s key, however, to not abuse this benefit and to not turn it into a habit of removing the aligners several times a day.

Another benefit of the Invisalign system is that it is more comfortable than braces because the aligners do not apply a great deal of tightening force to your teeth. Metal braces can make the teeth sore from time to time and may lead to local inflammation of the gums (if oral hygiene is not proper) as well as general irritation of the soft tissues of the mouth. Also, there are virtually no emergency visits compared to those associated with traditional braces (poking wires, canker sores, loose appliances, etc.)

While the Invisalign system is effective when it comes to moving teeth, at the same time there are some potential drawbacks that the orthodontist must consider when determining if this treatment method is right for you.

In more severe misalignment situations, where a great deal of movement of the teeth is required or where one or more teeth need to be removed in order to correct the bite, Invisalign may not be the best treatment choice. Such situations are better addressed either with full treatment with braces OR an initial period of braces followed by Invisalign for completion of the treatment.

Compliance is key. I cannot stress enough that in order for the Invisalign aligners to realistically and efficiently move teeth, they need to be worn at least 22 hours per day. I tell all my Invisalign patients that the reason why Invisalign is cool is because it’s virtually invisible and not because it can be removed any time you want. If you need to remove the aligners several times a day, the final results may be below your expectations and a period of braces may be needed to rectify the situation.