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What is Invisalign?

December 11, 2011 | News | The Office of The Palisades Dentists

Many dental patients have at least heard the word “Invisalign” at some point in recent years. This name is given to a popular removable tooth aligner that is clear and harder to detect than traditional braces. Patients interested in Invisalign must begin with a visit to their dentist for a consultation. This will lead to another appointment to take dental impressions, photos and x-rays of the patient’s teeth. These are sent to the company that creates Invisalign where they are CT scanned to build a 3D model tailored to the patient’s dental needs.

Many people have found the benefits of a clear aligner to be extremely appealing. The average Invisalign patient takes approximately one year to achieve desired results. This may take longer if the patient’s needs are more complex. Simpler treatments such as minor spacing issues may be corrected in around 20 weeks. Once the patient has completed the main treatment process, they are required to wear a plastic retainer at night to make sure teeth remain in the correct position in the long term. The patient has the option of ordering a new aligner if they would like to alter the position of their teeth further after treatment.

The most attractive benefit of using Invisalign treatment is the cosmetic aspect. Many patients, especially adults who are timid about wearing metal braces, can correct tooth spacing and positioning issues without making a significant visual change to their smile. Another lesser known benefit is the ability to remove the retainer when eating or cleaning teeth. Traditional braces cannot be removed by the patient. They must be careful about what they eat and take extra time when cleaning teeth daily. Invisalign patients can simply remove their aligner to take care of these common activities much like they did before beginning treatment.

Invisalign has been continually growing in popularity. By April of 2008, over 730,000 patients had started or completed the treatment. Patients interested in learning more should talk to their dentist to discuss the benefits and possible issues that they might encounter with this type of treatment. Some teeth, such as lower premolars that have a rounded shape, may be harder for the aligner to grasp and rotate.  A dental professional can make recommendations and help you begin the first step to straighter teeth without covering your smile in metal.