Say goodbye to ugly braces thanks to the discreet Invisalign® system, which uses virtually invisible aligners to move and straighten your teeth without the need for wires or brackets. Dr Mark Hughes of the Harley Street Dental Studio explains how the intricate procedure works and the results that you can expect in comparison to the more traditional metal braces normally worn to straighten teeth.
What is Invisalign®?
Well for a start, the Invisalign® system uses removable plastic “aligners”, which are like very thin mouthguards and it is certainly not like “braces”. It is a virtually invisible way to straighten your teeth by moving teeth without the need for wires or brackets stuck to the teeth.
Using advanced 3D computer-imaging technology, Invisalign® shows you your complete treatment plan based on your dentist or orthodontist prescription, from the initial position of your teeth towards the final desired position. Then a series of patented clear plastic aligners are custom-made for your teeth to move them little by little.
How does it work?
Invisalign® aligners move teeth through a series of carefully controlled movements. Unlike traditional braces, Invisalign® treatment not only controls the amount of movement that each aligner delivers but also the timing of the movement. So, at each stage, only certain teeth can move, following the Invisalign® treatment plan for that particular stage. This tends to make the treatment more comfortable and more efficient than traditional braces.
Each aligner is worn for 22 hours per day ideally and for up to one to two weeks per aligner, depending on the complexity of your tooth movement requirements. It is then replaced by the next in the series, gradually moving towards the projected final position.
How long does the Invisalign® treatment take?
Every case is different, every patient is different. The time taken mostly depends on the complexity of the treatment and is generally comparable to that of traditional braces. However, in my experience, there are some types of movement and some treatment outcomes where Invisalign® is much faster and more predictable than traditional braces. In very complex cases, it can take longer than fixed braces.
The second is patient compliance. The aligners are removable (whereas braces are not!) so a major factor in the success and speed of Invisalign® is the patient, as their compliance is crucial to success. If the aligners are not worn as recommended (22 hours per day every day), then treatment can take longer than originally estimated.
The expected time frames and treatment duration is more accurately assessed once a detailed digital analysis of your individual needs and your digital treatment plan has been designed. The more experienced the dentist or orthodontist is, the more likely that the treatment planning will be very effective and will be efficiently completed.
What results can I expect from Invisalign® braces?
In suitable and well-planned cases and in compliant patients, the results from Invisalign® are excellent. The system works extremely well and is the most advanced of all the clear aligner therapy systems out there. It has extremely unique features that allow for more predictable results and more complex tooth and root positioning, compared to its competitors. That is why I have stuck with it for nearly two decades now.
What is also very important to get the best results are the training and experience of the dentist or orthodontist in the use of Invisalign®. The system can only deliver great results if the diagnosis and planning of the individual patients’ situation has been well executed and monitored carefully throughout the duration of the treatment.
If Invisalign® braces sound like something that you would like, book an appointment with Dr Hughes via his Top Doctor's profile here and you will receive his expert opinion in your specific case.