Have you ever been curious about how orthodontic clear aligners like Invisalign work? Today our Burnaby dentists share some of the science behind clear aligner treatments, and how they work.
How do Invisalign clear aligners work?
Invisalign clear aligners are a series of custom-made, transparent and removable clear orthodontic aligner trays that work to help resolve a variety of orthodontic issues. They accomplish this by moving teeth in tiny increments into prescribed positions, as specified in a custom treatment plan developed by your dentist.
Over the last decade, this orthodontic treatment option has become a popular choice for adults and teens who want to straighten their teeth without the wires and brackets that come with traditional metal braces.
Suitable Candidates for Clear Aligners
The first step of the process is to find out whether you are a candidate for clear aligners. At your consultation appointment, your dentist will complete an exam, which includes taking digital x-rays, photos of your teeth, dental impressions, and a bite registration (to find out how your upper and lower teeth fit together).
This process is key to finding out whether your issue can successfully be treated with clear aligners.
Orthodontic Issues Often Treated with Clear Aligners
After your dentist examines your smile and takes impressions of your teeth, your aligners will be made to treat specific orthodontic issues. Dentists have used Invisalign to successfully treat patients with:
- Crooked teeth
- Teeth grinding
- Open bite
- Gapped teeth
- Sleep apnea
Just like each patient’s teeth are unique to them, each individual case is different. Your specific treatment time and other factors in your treatment plan may vary depending on which teeth must be moved, and by how much. It can take longer to move some teeth than others due to their position in your mouth.
Depending on your needs and preferences, removable custom clear aligners can offer an aesthetic and comfortable alternative to fixed appliances such as braces when it comes to orthodontic treatment.
Clear Aligners May Help Improve Oral Hygiene & Oral Health
With the brushing and flossing you’ll need to do to keep your teeth - and your aligners clean - during treatment, you’ll be diligently brushing away plaque and bacteria that can get stuck between your aligners and your teeth, leading to cavities, tooth decay and gum disease.
A large part of successful treatment with clear aligners is the commitment to excellent oral hygiene - and working with your dentist to follow the treatment plan and minimize the chance for plaque to take hold.
Not Braces Adjustment Appointments Required
Another feature of clear aligners is that you’ll likely spend less time in your dentist’s office than with traditional braces treatment - and more time enjoying your straighter smile.
Clear aligners shouldn’t require regular adjustments or tightening, and you should only need to visit your dentist every couple of months to check on your progress and ensure your treatment is on track.
Limitations of Treatment with Clear Aligners
While for many people there can be many advantages to treatment with clear aligners, not all orthodontic issues can be treated with this option. Large overbites, severe rotations, some molar issues and other problems may require another orthodontic treatment option.
If your case cannot be treated with clear aligners, your dentist will recommend treatment options more suitable for correcting your orthodontic issue, such as traditional metal braces.