How Does Invisalign Work?
Invisalign is an alternative to traditional metal braces. It uses a series of clear, removable aligners to move teeth in small increments over the course of treatment. Your Invisalign aligners are custom-made for you, and fit snugly over your teeth. They’re virtually invisible, so you can smile confidently during treatment.
Invisalign uses a clear, plastic aligner made from a special material that exerts pressure on teeth in order to gradually shift them into better alignment. This is much less invasive and more attractive than the wires and brackets of braces, and it yields similar results to traditional braces.
During treatment, you’ll wear each set of clear aligners (usually around 20-22 hours per day) until they’re fully removed at your next appointment. Each new set of aligners is printed on a custom basis for each patient’s unique bite.
You’ll need to remove the aligners when eating, drinking, or cleaning your teeth. This will prevent food and liquid from getting into the aligners, which can lead to tooth decay or gum disease.
You should also remember to brush your teeth after each meal and make sure you rinse your trays with lukewarm water to remove food and plaque from them. If you don’t, it could cause your trays to become stained, which can hinder your progress.
Attachments are small tooth-colored pieces that are bonded to specific teeth as part of your treatment with Invisalign. They are designed to help your aligners grip and shift the teeth they’re guiding into their new positions more efficiently.
Attachment placements vary depending on the treatment plan and your orthodontist’s assessment. They can be placed on the front teeth for more effective results or the back teeth, as needed.
Often, attachments will be round or square in shape. They can also be shaped like an ellipse or triangle, so your orthodontist can tailor the shapes of the attachments to help you achieve the movement you need.
They’re made of a dental composite material and are bonded directly to the teeth. They’re very small and they blend in with the natural color of your teeth, so they don’t have much impact on your appearance.
They click into the aligners at designated spots, which helps increase their retention and makes putting them in and out of your mouth easier. However, it can take a bit of practice to get used to putting them in and out smoothly. Patients may also find that food builds up around the attachments when they eat or drink, so it’s important to be diligent about cleaning them and your teeth after each meal.
The length of time required for Invisalign to straighten your teeth depends on the type of spacing or crowding problem you have. Minor gaps can be corrected in as little as eight weeks, while more severe cases take longer.
Gaps between teeth can be caused by tissue overgrowth, or by small teeth that are larger than your jawbone. Fortunately, Invisalign is designed to correct these problems faster than traditional braces.
For many patients, crowded teeth can be treated in as little as six months. However, more extreme cases of dental crowding can take up to a year to resolve.
While treatment duration can vary based on a patient’s needs, there are several factors that contribute to the discrepancy. These include the number of trays needed, how complex the problem is, and how diligently the patient wears their aligners.