Invisalign® is an orthodontic system that relies on a series of clear, plastic aligners custom-fit for each patient and worn in a specific sequence to gently shift teeth into their proper positions. Invisalign® aligners look like whitening trays, but they fit much more snugly and they’re almost invisible while they’re being worn. The Invisalign® system can be used to treat teens and adults, providing a more discreet alternative to traditional orthodontics.
Invisalign® treatment starts with impressions of the teeth. These impressions are sent to a lab that specializes in Invisalign® aligners. The impressions are scanned into a computer that uses special software to create a series of 3D models of the teeth, showing how the teeth need to move over time. Next, the aligners are created based on those models using durable, lightweight, clear plastic. Most patients have from 18 to 30 aligners based on their specific needs and their unique mouth shape. During treatment, each aligner is worn for about two weeks, then exchanged for the next aligner to keep teeth moving in the right directions. Office visits occur about every six weeks. Most treatments can be completed in two years or less.
In addition to being virtually invisible while they’re being worn, Invisalign® aligners are completely smooth, so they won’t irritate gums and cheeks. Plus, they’re removable, which makes it a lot easier to brush and floss, and it also means patients can eat the foods they want without worrying about damaging their appliances. And finally, because they’re custom-made, treatment often can be completed much more quickly compared with traditional braces.