When Invisalign and clear teeth aligners were first introduced to the market approximately 20 years ago, my graduate class was one of the first to become accredited to use it. Since that time, Invisalign and other clear teeth aligner products have come a long way in improving the effectiveness of this type of corrective procedure. My experience in the use of clear teeth aligners over time has resulted in critical insights into their use. When patients ask my opinion about whether they are candidates for Invisalign or clear teeth aligner therapy, I can answer based on their existing condition, my extensive experience with the product, and the many pages research data I’ve read on this procedure.
Here are some things to consider:
How does the entire treatment sequence work?
At Team Orthodontics, a scan using a flashlight-like wand is taken of your bite. This creates an exceptionally accurate digital replication of your teeth.
We submit your scan to the Invisalign/clear teeth aligner software to develop a plan to sequentially move the teeth to the final desired positions. Those controlled movements result in a sequence of aligner positions, which when printed, can be worn to move your teeth in tandem with the software positions.
You are given a series of aligners which move your teeth over a 6-10 week period. We schedule times to see you in order to assess your progress and provide additional aligners to continue your care.
These aligners must be worn 24 hours a day, except when eating and brushing your teeth. This ensures the greatest degree of success for your treatment.
In most cases, each aligner in the series is worn for 4-7 days before progressing to the next aligner in the series.
What are the benefits of using Invisalign/clear teeth aligners for my treatment?
- Clear teeth aligner trays are esthetically very hard to detect, making it an excellent option for those patients wanting discretion during their orthodontic care.
- Having the ability to remove the aligners also makes it easier to keep your teeth clean.
- The smooth surface of the aligners typically results in less irritation to the soft tissue inside of your mouth.
When used in the right circumstances, Invisalign/clear teeth aligner treatment is an excellent option for our patients.
What are the disadvantages of using Invisalign/clear teeth aligners for my orthodontic treatment?
Invisalign/clear teeth aligners are a convenient and unobtrusive method of correction; therefore they can sometimes be less than perfect when it comes to the results they achieve. The CEO of Align Technologies (Invisalign) recently confirmed that about 50-60% of orthodontic cases can be successfully treated using only Invisalign. That means 40-50% of cases need auxiliary appliances (e.g. limited braces) or cannot be treated with clear teeth aligner treatments. Invisalign/clear teeth aligner therapy continues to progress in these areas but has yet to achieve the results that some patients need.
To put it simply, Invisalign/clear teeth aligners does not have the tooth control capability to accomplish certain tooth movements and/or bite corrections.
An additional fact to consider is whether the patient will be consistent with the wear time required for optimal results. If I have a patient/parent, who is or has a candidate for Invisalign/clear teeth aligners asks for my opinion, I typically ask them a simple question;
“Are you good at remembering to do things?”
If the answer is yes, then the Invisalign/clear teeth aligner option is still a good choice for you. If you are forgetful or have a tendency to snack often, then there is a high likelihood that the aligners won’t perform. This will lead to extended treatment times or possibly diminished treatment results.
Technological advances in orthodontic treatment have come a long way. When assessing treatment options it’s important to utilize an orthodontist that is transparent with all the possible pros and cons of your treatment choice. The treatment needs to be right for you and your circumstances, not for them.
Call or email us today to see this and other differences that we provide our patients at Team Orthodontics. Reach out to our Ahwatukee orthodontist office or our Gilbert orthodontist office and we’ll do our best to help you out with all your orthodontic needs.
Written by Dr. Ken Danyluk, Orthodontist at Team Orthodontics