If you were given a choice, would you choose braces over clear aligners? If you say, clear aligners are your answer, you can rest assured you will not find yourself lonely. In fact, the overwhelming majority of people all over the world prefer clear aligners over conventional braces. The UK is no exception. Clear aligners are steadily growing in popularity in the past couple of decades. It is one of the most trusted options to straighten teeth.
One of the oldest as well as the most popular aligner products is Invisalign. It made its first appearance in the late 1990s. since then numerous other clear aligner systems from different brands have entered into the market. In this particular article let us explore how effective and reliable Invisalign is along with the pros and cons it offers. But first, let us start with a brief introduction to Invisalign.
Invisalign – a brief introduction
Invisalign happens to be a brand name for a particular variety of thin clear aligners. This range of aligners is meant to be used in various orthodontic treatments. Unlike the conventional braces that are made from metal, this one is made from a flexible variety of thermoplastic material called SmartTrack. The name ‘Invisalign’ sounds pretty similar to invisible aligners, isn’t it? As such the product is meant to make orthodontic treatments more discreet compared to orthodontic metal braces.
These clear coverings are designed in such a way to fit tightly over the teeth. Although these orthodontic appliances may not be totally invisible they are obviously much less noticeable than the wires and brackets of the traditional braces system.
The variety of orthodontic issues it can handle
Invisalign can address a number of varying orthodontic problems. It proves effective in sorting out spacing and crowding issues. Additionally, it can also resolve bite issues that range from mild to moderate. Few teeth-related issues that it effectively handles include the following –
- Crowded teeth
- Gapped teeth
- Certain types of overbite, underbite and crossbite
- Open bite
Important facts about these braces
The first step to your Invisalign treatment starts with your visit to an orthodontist who has undergone specialised training on Invisalign technology. The expert – with help of hi-fi software and a range of digital apparatus – creates a complete 3D image of your overall mouth including the teeth and the jaws. Then he draws a comprehensive treatment plan consulting this image to move your teeth into proper alignment. Based on the digital image of your mouth and the unique treatment plan, a series of carefully customised plastic aligners is created at the Invisalign lab. These aligners are meant to fit perfectly only over your teeth. The aligners are meant to exert calculated pressure on the teeth to gradually shift those into correct alignment.
You have to switch over to one new set of aligners every week or two. This depends on the instruction of your Invisalign specialist. Typically, you have to keep wearing the aligners at least 20 to 22 hours a day to secure timely and desired results.
Are these aligners effective?
Some of your close friends or trusted acquaintances may have had a positive experience with this cutting-edge tooth straightening technology. But you should better not take those anecdotes as the ultimate evidence. Dig deeper and uncover the bigger truth about the treatment. Extensive research as well as hard-hitting evidence point in one direction – Invisalign is a reliable technology to straighten the teeth. It is equally effective for every age group of patients including teenagers, young adults as well as old and mature individuals. The technology is rapidly improving and in its current avatar Invisalign can provide satisfactory results to a number of orthodontic issues.
Is there a way to make Invisalign more effective?
Yes, there are certain actions that you can take to make your treatment more effective. Most importantly, you cannot skip the basic guideline of wearing the aligner trays at least 20 to 22 hours a day. If you think it is not possible to stick to this compliance, then you should better not go for this treatment. The only times when you can take the aligners out of your mouth include while you are –
- Brushing and flossing the teeth
- Having a meal or a drink
- Cleaning your aligners
Cleaning the aligners at regular intervals is important. But you must do it carefully. Do not use excessively hot water to clean your aligner trays. That may warp the SmartTrack thermoplastic. As a result, the perfect fitting of the aligner trays will get altered. This can affect your treatment progress.
The level of complexity involved in your orthodontic issue is also a factor that determines how the treatment works for you. If you have more complex issues related to your bite or teeth spacing, obviously the treatment will linger longer and the progress will be achieved slowly.
Other factors that do matter are a patient’s age and gender. According to a study, the pace of teeth movement speeds up between the age group of 35 and 50. In other words, chances are brighter Invisalign could be more effective for this age group of patients. The same study reveals another interesting fact. As far as women are concerned, teeth movement between the ages of 50 and 70 years does not decline unlike that in men.
Pros and cons of the treatment
Now let us explore the pros of the treatment. This will help determine whether the technology is suitable for you.
- Aesthetics – unlike the conventional braces system that relies on metal wires and brackets, the clear braces system remains virtually invisible in your mouth. And this is one of the biggest factors behind the overwhelming popularity of Invisalign treatment.
- Easily removable – you can easily take out the aligners from your mouth whenever required.
- Maintaining oral hygiene easier – removable aligner trays allow you to brush and floss the teeth easily. With conventional braces that remain fixed to your teeth throughout the treatment phase maintaining sound oral hygiene is indeed difficult.
- The clear aligner system is not very effective for complex cases of teeth misalignment. It is ideal for cases that require certain particular types of teeth movement.
- Most importantly, if you cannot keep wearing the aligners 20 to 22 hours a day, you may not achieve desired and timely results.