Invisalign is a popular teeth-aligning treatment that offers a range of benefits over traditional braces. In her latest online article, leading dental practitioner Dr Anne Gormley explains these benefits in detail.
What are the benefits of Invisalign?
Invisalign is a highly reputable, clear aligner system which integrates the expertise of the clinician with the most up-to-date artificial intelligence to produce a treatment plan to straighten teeth. The patients can visualise their treatment plan through the ClinCheck software and view the final result. The clinician can note any compromises in the treatment plan and explain these to the patient ahead of treatment so that expectations can be managed appropriately. This enables full informed consent at the outset and usually delighted patients at the end of treatment.
One of the benefits of Invisalign over traditional braces is that instead of removing 2-4 teeth and moving the other teeth by up to 7mm to close the spaces and realign the teeth, Invisalign takes thin slivers of tooth tissue off lots of teeth to enable realignment. The interproximal reduction (IPR) ranges from 0.2-0.5 mm of enamel removed. As the teeth only need to be retracted by this relatively small amount, the treatment is usually completed within 6 months as opposed to 18 months with conventional braces.
The second advantage of Invisalign is the convenience of wearing clear aligners instead of brackets. The aligners are virtually invisible and, in the event of a special occasion, they can be removed for a short period of time and hence are more accommodating for adults to wear. They are also removed for eating and patients are able to carry out normal brushing and flossing which can result in improved oral hygiene habits and ultimately lead to better gum health.
How often must patients wear their aligners? Why is this so important?
Patients need to wear their aligners for at least 22 hours per day. This is vital to ensure consistent pressure is exerted on the teeth to move them to the desired position before moving on to the next aligner. If the patient chooses to remove the aligner for long periods of time, it will result in them having to stay in the same aligner for longer elongating the entire treatment or in extreme cases not achieving the predicted result at all.
Can patients switch to Invisalign aligners from braces?
If a patient is currently wearing traditional braces, I would not see a reason to remove these brackets as perfectly good results are achieved using this type of braces. It would not seem sensible to start all over again with Invisalign.
In the event that the patient can no longer tolerate the brackets for functional or cosmetic reasons, it may be appropriate to discuss trying Invisalign as an alternative but it must be stressed to the patient that compliance with a clear aligner system is vital to produce the desired result.
What is the treatment time with Invisalign?
Most treatments using Invisalign require up to 6 months to complete the alignment phase although this will not include the additional tooth-whitening, composite bonding or permanent retention so it is advisable to assume that it will be around 9 months from the initial consultation. Obviously, as with all cosmetic treatments, there can be wide variations in the complexity of cases and consequently treatment times can range from several weeks to over a year.
Are Invisalign results permanent?
In cases where patients have permanent retention fitted in the anterior region of the mouth and where they wear their Vivera/Essix retainers consistently every night for the rest of their lives, they find that their results are permanent. In the event that the patient does not comply with these instructions, they risk a relapse in the alignment of the teeth, leading to regrets and disappointment. Patients must sign a form at the start of treatment to agree to this commitment from the outset.
It goes without saying, that the results are only permanent when the oral hygiene and diet are at an acceptable level and that patients do not lose their teeth through tooth decay or gum disease. Good oral hygiene and regular visits to the dentist and hygienist are paramount to a successful outcome.
Dr Anne Gormley is a renowned dental practitioner and facial aesthetics clinician with over 30 years of experience in dentistry. If you would like to book a consultation with Dr Gormley you can do so today via her Top Doctors profile.